Having known about The Dairy opening in March it has still taken me four months to finally pay it a visit. And with the head chef's impressive resume I am really not sure why it has taken so long, but I can tell you that the wait was worth it. In fact, The Dairy won me over as soon as the sourdough bread arrived on the table, after the Elderflower Collins.
The space is not massive, set in the leafy part of Clapham old town, but it is cosy and every bit the style icon of today’s expected stereotype of what a modern, cool restaurant décor should be; wooden tables, exposed bricks, neon signs adorning the bar wall. With that, a seasonally changing menu printed on brown paper with five headings of Snacks, Garden, Sea, Land and Sweet. Three dishes under each allow for a selection for the table, or go for the £40 seven-course tasting menu (which sounds like amazing value). With cocktail in hand our haphazard selections resulted in the perfect combination for a late light lunch.
|chicken liver mousse (£3), roast and pickled beets (£6.50), 24 hour beef short rib (£10)|
|Monkfish liver (£10)|
From the Snacks section came the potted and insanely smooth chicken liver mousse topped with gooseberry and apple purée Perfectly balanced by the fruit, it took all my strength not to wipe the glass clean with my finger. The roast and pickled beets with hazelnut and buffalo milk curd from the Garden section was not only delicious, exciting and creative but also art on a plate, while the Monkfish liver from the Sea was unsurprisingly strong in flavour but tender and effortlessly paired with the malt bacon, radishes and Ember oil buttermilk. From the Land section the 24-hour beef short rib with burnt onions and summer mushrooms was literally a melt-in-mouth type of dish and I can only imagine what the rest of the dishes we didn't try were going to be like. The only thing that let the experience slide off the richter scale of ‘amazing’ was the overly relaxed service; just because it is a Sunday afternoon doesn't mean we should ask for more water, prompt to try and order more food or not get a smile from the waiter.
Getting back to the food however, head chef Robin Gill really does know what he is doing. This is unsurprising considering he has worked at the likes of Noma and Raymond Blanc’s Le Menoir. Similarly, Ollie Dabbous, of now famous Dabbous restaurant, has also worked at Le Menoir, and the offering at The Dairy has been compared as being quite similar to the likes of Dabbous. It baffles me then how Dabbous is booked out a year in advance (I should know, still waiting for my booking) while The Dairy is JUST being discovered by bloggers and critics alike. Oh well, never mind, all the more opportunity for me to go back and enjoy more of the wonders Robin Gill and The Dairy have to offer.