Darby
Darby
Darby
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SquareMeal Review of Darby's

Silver Award

Touting itself as an oyster bar, bakery and grill, this multi-tasking venue comes courtesy of husband and wife Robin and Sarah Gill, the couple behind some of the best restaurants in Clapham, including Counter Culture, The Dairy and Sorella.

Here they’ve moved a little further towards central London while still staying south of the river by opening behind Vauxhall’s all-new American embassy, whose coffee-savvy staff are already regulars for a take-out cup of Joe.

But the fame of the Gills’ previous restaurants means that Darby’s is also attracting plenty of attention from visitors for whom the off-piste location might otherwise be off-putting. The double-height room, furnished with rattan furniture and soft green upholstered banquette-style seating, was packed with a chatter-filled crowd on our visit, all settling into their surroundings with the air of excitement reserved for people who know they’re in the hands of experts.

You're here for the food really, but you’ll need something to wash it down with. A peach-based Joan Collins cocktail tasted like real fruit – a novelty – and wasn’t sugary sweet, while the wine list globetrots with confidence around the world’s major regions; we’d recommend a very good, light-bodied 2017 Domaine de L’Enclos Chablis at £13.50 for a glass.

Coming to the main event, the food menu is split into three sections – the oyster bar, first courses and mains from the grill. As in the Gills’ other restaurants, ingredients are only mildly meddled with to allow their quality to become the focus of the plate – the cooking or handling just acting as a little nudge in the right direction of delicious.

A sesame-topped, buttery brioche roll was generously packed with crayfish slathered in a roe mayonnaise that was spicy and salty; while a bowl of stracciatella di bufala, stone fruits and olive oil was fragrant and fresh, with a whack of bitterness from the oil cutting through the creaminess of the cheese at the very last.

We couldn’t see past the turbot on the specials menu, which came in its full and magnificent form, all crisp skinned and brushed with seaweed butter. Unable to choose between potato side orders, we ordered two – crisped beef fat roasties and seriously buttery mash – and didn't regret it.

To finish, we went with our friendly waiter’s recommendation of burnt honey cake, which arrived chewy, with almost toffee-like edges and a custard-tart middle that rendered it addictive. These are available to buy each day from the bakery – needless to say, we left with a boxful.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
British
Ambience
Cool, Glamorous
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
All day dining, Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating, Terrace, Waterside
Special Features
Counter dining, Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Child friendly, Dates
Food Hygiene Rating

Location for Darby's

3 Viaduct Gardens, Vauxhall, London, SW11 7AY

020 7537 3111

Website

Opening Times

All day
Mon 08:00-16:00
Tue 08:00-23:30
Wed 08:00-23:30
Thu 08:00-23:30
Fri 08:00-23:30
Sat 09:00-23:30
Sun 09:00-18:00

Reviews of Darby's

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2 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mmf

Poor brunch service
22 July 2019  

The venue looks brilliant, the tables well spaced apart, good atmosphere.

We went there for Sunday brunch for 6 people. The menu has 3 main items only so you would expect brilliant food. 

The pastries were brilliant... 

Some ordered, waffles, bacon ( pork rashers), one egg ( only fried or poached - they could not do scrambled), beans and brown sauce. When it came the waffles were dry and they could not explain what the “brown sauce was” as tasted weird. The waiter said he had no clue as only there 3 days. The manager did not know, despite asking 3 times.

The other was sourdo bread with 2 poached eggs and peas and a very nice sauce. The food was tasty but why can’t they give 2 pieces of bread rather than giving each person one and a half pieces. It felt stingy. 

We did not have the fish main.

Alas, things got worse. They forgot to bring one persons main course. Can 25 minutes late so did not pay.

The service was way below standard. 

Disappointing brunch so doubt would return efforts a dinner or full lunch.

 

 

 

Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mmf

Poor brunch service
22 July 2019  

The venue looks brilliant, the tables well spaced apart, good atmosphere.

We went there for Sunday brunch for 6 people. The menu has 3 main items only so you would expect brilliant food. 

The pastries were brilliant... 

Some ordered, waffles, bacon ( pork rashers), one egg ( only fried or poached - they could not do scrambled), beans and brown sauce. When it came the waffles were dry and they could not explain what the “brown sauce was” as tasted weird. The waiter said he had no clue as only there 3 days. The manager did not know, despite asking 3 times.

The other was sourdo bread with 2 poached eggs and peas and a very nice sauce. The food was tasty but why can’t they give 2 pieces of bread rather than giving each person one and a half pieces. It felt stingy. 

We did not have the fish main.

Alas, things got worse. They forgot to bring one persons main course. Can 25 minutes late so did not pay.

The service was way below standard. 

Disappointing brunch so doubt would return efforts a dinner or full lunch.

 

 

 

Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

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