63-67 Venn Street , London, SW4 0BD

6 reviews

41 French Clapham

SquareMeal Review of Gastro

A little patch of France on Clapham Common, Gastro might seem like a pastiche of a Monsieur Hulot film. Staff have wonderful Gallic accents (although some let this slip when they think you’re not listening), dim lighting disguises the shabby tables & worn paintwork, & Pastis sits on the bar. It’s all highly atmospheric – until you eat. Recent outings here have been enormously disappointing: unpleasant onion soup, stale chips, steak that had been charred rather than grilled. Without the dismal food, you might miss the fact that the house wine seems almost undrinkable, that the prices are pretty high & that the staff can on occasion be extraordinarily rude: in an essentially French way, naturellement.

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Gastro is recommended for

Buzzy | Cosy | Dark And Moody | Fun | Traditional

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Clapham Common Tube Station 205m

Clapham High Street Station 460m


Address: 63-67 Venn Street , London SW4 0BD

Area: Clapham

Opening times

Mon-Sun 8am-12M

Nearby Landmarks

Clapham Picture House 33m

Clapham Common 345m


Telephone: 020 7627 0222

Cuisine: French

Lunch: £9.95 (2 courses)

Private Dining: 14, 18


Food & Drink: 3.5

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 5.5

Value: 3.2

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

Simone H. 15 August 2013

We tried this restaurant after a matinée film during the week, so it wasn't busy. At first staff were fine, nothing exceptional – as to be expected in London – and we placed drinks and food orders. After 40 minutes I realised how hungry I was and enquired if our food was nearly ready (complex dishes of fries and a rare steak). The waiter with dreadlocks looked at me in disgust that I dared bother him, then spat the word “food” back at me as if I was crazy to think such a thing existed there. On insistence it emerged the order had never been placed. So I asked for the bill. There was no apology, no thank you for coming, no goodbye, no hint of wrongdoing on their part. So we went next door to Rapscallion and had wonderful service and a great meal.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Tanya B. bronze reviewer 27 November 2011

Love this restaurant – just so very very French! Reserved a table post cinema (it's right opposite the Clapham Picturehouse) last Saturday for dinner which was a good move as the place was packed. My friend and I got to sit at the back on the large country kictchen style table which we shared with a number of strangers – including some Frenchies. All good fun and wonderfully informal. It's all about just enjoying the food and atmosphere here. Ordered the bavette steak with frites and had a spinach side order, all of which I found to be delicious – some people might find the cut of beef (bavette is also known as flank steak) too tough but I really rather like it. The frites were superb. Couple of downsides unfortunately. Waiter, whilst very lovely and helpful on most fronts was totally ignorant of the wine list and couldn't offer any suggestions – he hadn't tried any on the list! Also, for some reason the restaurant was incredibly warm last Saturday. I was fortunately not dressed up too warmly but my friend was wilting visibly before my eyes. In the end we finished the last of our wine at the front of the restaurant near the exit so we could get some air. Despite really enjoying the food I've not rated it very highly, purely because this really isn't a fine dining restaurant – just good French fare in cozy relaxed surroundings. I shall be returning…naturellement.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

Sarah B. 05 September 2010

This restaurant was one of the worst restaurants I have ever been to. Please do not go to this restaurant. The food is absolutely horrendous. We ordered Moules Frites (something you would think you can't really get wrong…) the mussels were old, grainy and generally disgusting. The fries were soggy and undercooked. We had 2 glasses of wine, both were of a very poor quality and served in a water glass. The waitstaff were very rude to the point of just generally ignoring us, whilst they flirted among themselves. This place is a MUST miss. Don't waste your money.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

Dee M. 11 January 2010

The Gastro which I can only presume is popular because it is opposite the Clapham Picture House, and provides a ‘chinzy’ atmosphere, provided me on January 5th 2010 with one of the worst plates of food I've eaten. The red wine I received was very nice, if somewhat expensive, but the CrabCake and Salad was bad. Firstly, I found a long hair in the cake, but like an idiot did'nt keep it to show the staff. It is so dark in the restaurant that it was hard to see the hair except for the food attached to it. I then realised, after eating 2/3rds of the cake that it smelled ‘very high’ and informed the waitress/manager that I was concerned that I might get ill as I had eaten most of the dish before realising the smell was not good. I also told her about the hair and the dish of frites tasting like they had been cooked several times(blanched then fried and fried again?). She did apologise but suggested I had told her before eating most of the dish. She did not offer any other compensation, ie a drink on the house, or something. I have since asked friends who have eaten at Gastro, and their experience of the food was not good and one said she doesn't know how they get away with such bad food. I realise that this may be too scathing for you to consider a good review, but it is my honest opinion and experience. I shall be renaming Gastro: GastroEnteritis!

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

BigTram 22 May 2009

A restaurant that loves itself. And loves fleecing customers. This determinedly old-style French bistro believes it is far better than it is. Its attitude to customers seem to be that they should be grateful for being allowed to step through its doors to be treated like merde by the arrogant staff. The food is pretty run-of-the mill fare, pushed out at high prices. Plus, you should be prepared for a long wait to get it, particularly on busy nights, when the kitchen seems unable to cope. On our last visit (on a Saturday night with a group of six), we had wrong dishes, forgotten side orders, main courses arriving at wildly different times and under-cooked (to the point of being almost raw and hard) vegetables. And not a single apology. On a previous visit we ordered a bottle of £20 white wine. The waiter told us they had run out and recommended a replacement. We accepted his advice, enjoyed the wine and polished off a second bottle. Imagine our surprise (and anger) when the bill arrived, to discover the wine was £45 a bottle. The waiter's recommendation was more than twice what we expected to pay. No mention had been made of that at the time, so we had assumed his suggested alternative was the same price as our first choice. We felt we had been seriously cheated. If the food were better, and the prices more reasonable, this place might be worth putting up with. As it is, you can be sneered at, ignored and patronised far more cheaply in other establishments.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 1.0

Trevor M. 02 April 2009

Arrived at 8pm , got our second ( very mediocre course) at 10pm.5 people £220 not including service.I recently flew BA to Milan, stayed two nights in a good hotel and saw a game at the San Siro for only a bit more. Enough said.