The Rookery

69 Clapham Common South Side , London, SW4 9DA

7 reviews

36 British Clapham

SquareMeal Review of The Rookery

Bringing the gritty Lower East Side speakeasy to Clapham Common, the Rookery might seem desperately trendy, but behind its ceramic tiles, suspended light bulbs & exposed cabling lurks definite substance. Artisan draught & bottled beers put on a good show, & they are ably supported by a short, engaging wine list that’s very easy on the pocket. The chef may have cut his teeth in the rarefied world of Hibiscus & Pied à Terre, but the food suggests Simon Hopkinson’s back-to-basics style, voguish unloved cuts & all. Sublimely fresh Cornish coley with cauliflower purée & roasted onion is typical of the approach, likewise tender grilled ox tongue with sauce ravigote, juicy rare onglet on roasted beetroots, or a gooey chocolate pudding with espresso ice cream. Sourcing is beyond reproach, prices rarely pass £25 for three courses, & deliberately dishevelled staff operate with surprising efficiency.

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7.4

Food & Drink: 7.7

Service: 6.6

Atmosphere: 7.1

Value: 6.7

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Phil H. 23 October 2017

I visited The Rookery this Sunday gone (22 Oct 2017) as during the winter months my fiancé and me go out for a roast as often as we can. This Sunday we invited some friends out with us to visit Clapham and based off a quick google search and the fact that we could get a table, we chose The Rookery. Our guests arrived first and 20 minutes early to be met by a less than welcoming member of staff who apparently couldnt quite get his head around the fact that they were early. When we joined all seemed to be going well, we ordered drinks and a selection of the tapas style starters from the decent menu. However when the starters arrived and we asked if it would be possible to have side plates, we were told by the same member of staff (mentioned earlier) that there weren’t any clean side plates and to make do before he scurried off. Realising this wasn’t right, I got up and had to ask another member of staff if we could have four side plates to which he agreed. When our roasts came they were off decent quality, the roast potatoes were particularly good but if i were nitpicking the portion side of the roast beef was very small. We ordered deserts, a third member of staff to wait our table took the order (not using a pen & paper) and surprise suprise got the order slightly wrong. One of our guest ordered the 'sticky toffee pudding with warm toffee sauce’ as described on the menu. When it arrived the pudding itself was cold and dry as if it had been sat out for some time, but far more frustrating was the sheer lack of 'warm toffee sauce', it was as if the chef had dipped a small paintbrush into the sauce and tried to cover as much surface area of the bowl (again cold). Upon asking if it would be possible to have a small jug of extra toffee sauce were informed that it had run out hence why my guest's pudding looked as if it had just fallen out of a Victorian orphanage. To top it all off, when we asked for spoons to eat our respective deserts, there weren’t enough clean spoons so I was provided with a large dirty soup spoon that looked as if it had just been dug up from the back garden. All the above was annoying but the roast had made up for the lack of service quality - where and why I now vow to never go back to The Rookery is because of the rude and patronising way in which we were treated when paying the bill (£180 for 4 people, so not the cheapest). When asked the question “was everything okay with your meal?”, I calmly explained that the food was good but it was sadly let down by the lack of plates and cutlery and that the toffee pudding was well below par. A young chap stepped in at this stage from behind the bar, we assumed the manager, who didn’t offer any form of apology but instead thought it best to suggest I was being precious for not being happy with having to use a soup spoon to eat my dessert. In addition he then put their failings on us by saying “You don’t appreciate that we are in the middle of a busy service” (the irony of him saying this as he tore off our receipt from the credit card machine). As we left we overheard two other tables raising complaints, I just hope they didn’t get spoken to the way we were. All in all we left angry, disappointed and insulted. Therefore for anyone who is looking for Sunday lunch options in the Clapham area I would happily suggest The Windmill (opposite the Rookery), The Abbeville (5 mins walk from the Rookery), The Bobbin (in Clapham Old Town), PowderKeg or The Roundhouse (St John’s Hill) and The Avalon (Clapham South) - as far better options; I have been to all of them recently and all have been significantly better experiences than I and my friends had at The Rookery - we don’t intend to go back, ever!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Thomas N. 30 October 2014

The Rookery is a quality outfit. Observers shouldn't have any doubts about arranging a drink(s) or a meal there. The atmosphere is naturally welcoming and set far apart from that 'self-consciousness' that drags many "trendy" spots down. The menu is riddled with diversity, but not too much to prevent an impulsive selection. The food is as original as the selection of beer and wine and if you are short of inspiration, ask any of the staff or the owner who are extremely knowledgeable and clearly have good taste. Don't leave without having the Chips

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Amanda J. 08 September 2013

I popped by The Rookery for a quick lunch with a friend and ended up staying much longer than I'd planned because the food was great and the atmosphere was so relaxed and welcoming. I had the chicken wings to start with which were just the right side of spicy followed by the lamb which was served pink and was delicately flavoured with anchovy and really exceptional.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Charlotte P. 04 August 2013

We had a horrible time at The Rookery, Clapham Common, last night. I ordered the lamb which, when it arrived tasted and smelt of fish. I said that I didn’t like it and asked the waitress to replace it with the steak dish my husband had just started. The waitress came back conveying the chef’s message that the lamb was ‘deliberately’ flavoured with anchovy so did I want it back now I knew this? No I would still prefer the steak thanks. No food came during the entire time my husband and our 2 friends were eating their dinner. I asked the waitress to at least bring me a salad or anything quick just so that I could have something to eat before they finished. As they all completed their dinners she arrived with a chicken dish. When I told her I never eat chicken she nearly cried in terror at the thought of having to take another dish back to the chef, so I said I would do it myself. While I may not be a trained chef, I have eaten at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, Chez Bruce and The Ivy amongst many other top restaurants so know the difference between good and bad dishes and I believe the purpose of using anchovy with lamb is to bring out the flavour of the lamb itself and not make the lamb taste and smell of fish!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Chris W. 15 May 2012

The food here is as good as you will find anywhere for a good distance and at the price, it is some of the best value for money in London, no doubt. Cool room, nicely done up with a long bar and tables alongside. I've not had a bad course here, the fish is always of the highest quality, whilst puddings never fail to disappoint, and with them starting @ £2.50 for a semi-freddo, or £5 for an epic lemon posset, the pricing is remarkable.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Simon D. 05 November 2011

I really can't fault this place. It's brilliant. Everything you want a local restaurant to be. I only give them a 9 in individual ratings cos it's too sycophantic to give complete 10s. Genuinely, I can't imagine anyone not having a great time here. A wonderfully imagined and executed restuarant

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Emma H. 21 October 2011

We visited just three weeks after The Rookery opened its doors. Under new ownership, having previous been ‘Firefly’, the set up hasn't been massively changed: outside space at the front, bar when you walk in and a handful of dining tables towards the back of the room. The drinks and service were spot on. Plum fizz, well-priced, interesting cocktails, lagers and ale from the Meantime brewery and a rather nice wine list. You can tell the people running this place know their stuff. The service was knowledgeable, engaging and really helped notch the experience up another level. Dinner was good. Robust flavours, not trying too hard but interesting and well-executed. The menu may need just a little more polish but, after only three weeks, it's a pretty good place to be. It was quiet when we went in (a Thursday night) and apparently they haven't been rushed off their feet quite yet. But, if they get some support from the many people living around the Common and Abbeville Road, this could shape up to be a great little neighbourhood bar and eatery. If you're a local, please go and take a look.

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