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148 Clapham Manor Street
Along with Adam Byatt of Trinity, Robin Gill has done more than anyone to turn Clapham into a serious dining destination. It’s a mark of the chef’s confidence that he has closed his much-praised The Manor and opened this new Italian on the same site. The menu is split traditionally into cicchetti, antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci, but the best bit arrives before any of that: warm semolina sourdough served with three fabulous dips – ricotta given a silky finish by Jersey milk, pressed black olives, and a delectable melted parmesan.
This alone makes Sorella worth a visit, but we’d also recommend trying the £45 chef’s menu to get a small taste of everything else that the kitchen has to offer. Delicate starting snacks include juicy little balls of truffle arancini, olives fried in breadcrumbs, and turbot smoothly sandwiched between potato crisps and bursts of lemon. Elsewhere, standout dishes include a velvety crab linguine, a comforting bowl of fiery nduja ragu paired with strips of smoky pork, and light chocolate mousse served with vibrant fennel gelato. Italian-accented drinks, meanwhile, include Bellinis, spritzes and a cherry-smoked Negroni.
Sorella is the Italian word for ‘sister’, and with Counter Culture and The Dairy nearby, it’s a very welcome addition to Gill’s restaurant family.
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here how Angela Hartnett made it to the top, launched her own group of restaurants and how she describes the secrets of her success.
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SquareMeal 2 Stars
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148 Clapham Manor Street
Clapham High Street Station 259m
Clapham North Tube Station 364m
Clapham Picture House 258m
Clapham Common 559m
Wed-Fri 12N-2.30pm Sat-Sun 10am-3pm Tues-Sat 6pm-10pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
I've been here about 5 times now, but only just decided to write the review after viewing the only other one.
I can only assume that they had an off day just after reopening because I keep coming back here because I love it!, and me and my friend seem to have adopted it as our go to catch up spot.
The space is great, an almost horseshoe shaped restaurant with exposed panneling and brickwork, exactly the sort of vibe I like from Robin Gill's places, the Dairy is one of my London favourites, kind of Manhattan warehouse studio.
The food is great, I usually go for the Pappardelle with pork & nduja ragù, along with a couple of plates of antipasti of course, but on my latest visit I had Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms & summer truffle.
The place has such a vibe about it, all chatter and laughter. I usually come early on, around 7:30 and it fills up quite quickly, so if you want more a more vibey atmosphere go later.
I really do love this place, I never got a chance to go to its previous incarnation, The Manor, but now I can't stop coming back here and there's a reason for that. It's truly excellent
Food + drink: 2
These premises recently re-opened as an Italian restaurant. However though a few pasta dishes have been added to the menu, much of the food doesn't seem terribly different to the things it served before the "repositioning". We enjoyed the snacks of arancini and cod. The pastas weren't good at all, with no attempt made to emulsify the sauces so they adhere to the pasta. So what were given were small piles of somewhat overcooked, soggy pasta resting in a bed of thin , watery "sauce" that didn't have much flavour. For those that like a main course there are only two on offer, one fish, one meat. The Coppa antipasto was very fatty, and its more often a very lean cut. We enjoyed our bottle of wine, noting that it was the only red priced at under £30 on the list. In itself that's surprising for the restaurant , by the way it looks, performs and behaves, is clearly making no pretensions to grandeur.
It is one of many restaurants that give a menu online that turns out not to be what's on offer when you get there. Its surprising since it is the work of moments to transfer the typing for the menu to the website daily. Yet a number of places don't seem to want to do this. And in our experience it is most often the case that the dishes visible online are more interesting than those you can actually get on the day. Here for example the online menu offered Turbot, the reality was cod. I do understand that menus may need to change at short notice. But my point is that if there's time to type it there's time to get it online & prevent the possibility that customers will arrive and feel misled.
The bill for our two courses each, snacks, coffee & wine came to £94. So not extortionate, though neither was it great value for what we actually had. All told we saw nothing here that will tempt us back. There are a lot of Italian restaurants in London and this from our observation is not close to being one of the best.
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