The Dairy 22

15 The Pavement , London, SW4 0HY

4 reviews

45 International Clapham

  • The Dairy restaurant Clapham London Robin Gill
  • The Dairy food
  • The Dairy food

SquareMeal Review of The Dairy

This unpretentious bar/bistro is already a busy squeeze, although a central Clapham location isn’t its only trump card. Open all day from breakfast onwards, it also has a 2am late licence at weekends, when cool brand lagers and cocktails such as wild fennel and apple Hendrick’s are what to drink. Wines include a distinguished Lebanese Château Musar as well as everyday Tempranillo from a selection called ‘sleek, charming and fleshy’ – a description that might equally apply to the well-scrubbed clientele. Chef/owner Robin Gill’s adventurous, intricately presented tapas-style plates deploy ingredients from The Dairy’s garden – so expect smoked cod with sorrel, slow-cooked beef rib with ‘burnt’ onions and bone marrow or plates of black radish, Pink Lady apple, curd and hemp seeds – plus nibbles such as chicken liver mousse with rhubarb at the bar. Don't forget to check out recent addition Counter Culture, replacing the deli next door.

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8.5

Food & Drink: 8.5

Service: 7.5

Atmosphere: 7.5

Value: 8.0

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

squaremale silver reviewer 05 November 2015

I see there's a review of The Dairy in August 2013 that praises it for being "so now". And I'm sure that was true. The problem is that any place that is described as "so now" inevitably becomes "so then" pretty rapidly. The food tastes pretty good, but is presented in portions that are smaller than your usual tapas, but more expensive, and frequently for some pretty basic ingredients. And just when I thought I might get better value, my pigeon leg, which would have been lovely had there actually been any meat left attached to it, turned out sadly to be just the bone and claws. For me, at the end of 2015, this is largely pretentious food in basic surroundings. And sadly the service was lacklustre, offhand, and simply downright uninterested. There were as many staff as customers, but they seemed more interested in checking their phones and chatting to their mates who had popped in for coffee than remembering to bring (and indeed make) drinks. So now, so then, so long.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Nevine H. silver reviewer 15 June 2014

This was only our second visit and it even exceeded our first experience which is quite exceptional. It may be neighbourhood but well worth going out of your way to come to the Dairy in Clapham. We shall be back again.. and again… and again… Memorable food, sublime flavours, good atmosphere and service… and the bonus is that it is affordable so we can and will return, regularly!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Caroline T. 22 August 2013

We had heard good things about The Dairy and in short we were not disappointed and cannot wait to go back. Faced with a choice of a delicious sounding tasting menu or going A La Carte, we opted for the latter as there were a couple of dishes that sounded too good to be overlooked. On the owner Sarah's recommendation, we chose 4 dishes each, each being a starter size, and in doing so got our way through most of the dishes on the menu. Clear winners for us were the Pea salad (epitomising the taste of summer), a stunning Mackerel dish (lip-smackingly good we could have had another) and the Salted Caramel pudding. The latter being a must and I would rate it as one of the best puddings I have ever eaten – so good my husband virtually licked the plate. The staff were beyond helpful – attentive without being over-bearing, knowledgeable and excited by the food they are serving you – the tone clearly being set by Sarah who is a charming and friendly front of house. On the night we were there, a special visit from Michel Roux Jr did nothing to undermine the service we got and is additional testament to the amazing team who are running this restaurant. The Chef, Robin, even serving us one of our courses. The Dairy deserves huge success and accolades in abundance. Locals go before everyone else hears about this amazing find!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Grumbling Gourmet platinum reviewer 08 August 2013

There's something about Dairy that's so now, so 2013 food trend, that it almost feels like a demonstration, a ‘look, this is how trendy London eats’. Unfreeze a hipster in 10,000 years time and this is what they'll be talking about. That being said, it also manages to stay just the right side of safe. There are enough neologisms and touches of painterly genius to convince the most discerning food fanboi, but (and this is certainly no criticism) you could bring your mum here and she'd be happy with most things landing in front of her. The venue is a generic Clapham wine bar; tall bar counter style tables at the front, bigger, rounded oak jobs at the back. Other than the ever-present design lover soothing concrete carried through into the heavy serving plates, there isn't a grand unified design. If anything it's rustic chic meets Lower East Side loft bar. There's not even a jokey cow reference to justify the name. You can either select small, but emphatically not sharing, plates from an intriguing list of ‘garden’, ‘sea’ and ‘land’ or you can throw yourself at the mercy of the kitchen who'll save you the agony of choice with a well priced set menu. Judging from what we had and comparing with what the table next to us ended up with on the set menu, there's little difference. Smoked bone marrow butter slathered on hot, fresh wholemeal bread was a delightfully rich hello from behind the pass and one that immediately ramped our expectation levels right up. I won't go through to describe the seven or so plates we shared after this, it's a changing seasonal menu so you'll just have to take your chances, something I heartily recommend you do at the earliest possible opportunity. We particularly loved the amuse of chickpea and cumin bitteballen, a masterful take on that most vile of Dutch pub snacks. Due to a mix up with the order, we ended up with two portions of heritage beets, delicately cooked and served with a filthily divine hazelnut purée though could quite happily have slipped back later to flirt with some cheese with dessert. Thankfully we didn't miss out on fresh from the pod peas, served with a light mint creme and delicate celery and a light chorizo and squid scotch egg was another happy highlight, and only one of the few that brought meat to the foreground. The other we tried being a polite and gentle lamb on a bed of squelchy and moreish aubergine puree. It was delightful, but the lamb didn't quite have the depth of flavour I was hoping for, the same true of a beautifully plated but relatively pedestrian sea bass dish from the ‘sea’ section. Overall, the small plates work well. There was enough to share, even if the heavy bowls didn't always make that easy. If I were being overly critical, I'd have to say that while it doesn't totally kill it yet, there's enough here for me to heartily recommend. There's a real sense of ambition and drive emanating from the kitchen (slightly at odds with a chilled, casual and at times an amiably almost amateur front of house). A couple of the dishes were just a little muted and the service needs to step up (as I'm sure it will once they've been open for a while), but with the ambition in the kitchen and for the price and location it will do very, very well indeed.

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