Tucked away in St John’s Wood, The Clifton is practically indistinguishable from the imposing houses lining the leafy street. Inside, though, and the classic north London gastropub has been brought bang up-to-date with a ‘drinking house’ bar area that feels more lounge bar than pub, making The Clifton the coolest thing to happen in NW8 since The Beatles sauntered across Abbey Road. Here you can snack on gooey mac ’n’ cheese croquettes or well-spiced Korean chicken wings while sampling half a dozen spins on the G&T and draught beer from the Camden Town Brewery. More substantial food is served from the ‘eating house’ menu in a small conservatory at the back. A starter of beef carpaccio, blobbed with octopus ink mayo and scattered with chunks of pickled radish, was big enough for two to share. Dingly Dell pork chop was a touch over-salted and its fat a tad under-cooked, but we loved the hispi cabbage on the side to mop up the meat juice, and with nearly all mains below £15, glitches in the kitchen can be overlooked. The European wine list is similarly kindly priced (lots under £30) and staff, just like the two brothers who own the place, are keen and chatty. With twenty-somethings propping up the bar and parents taking their grown-up kids out for dinner, The Clifton has all the makings of a much-appreciated local.
The Clifton is recommended for