The Dairy – London SW4

October 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

SW4 is coming up in the culinary world and this little bistro is leading the way. I honestly cannot wait to go back.

Two weeks ago the Michelin Stars of 2014 were announced. Scanning the list I realised that I have been lucky enough to visit a fair few of the newly starred restaurants, and yet this little bistro and bar, sitting on the edge of Clapham Common, impressed me far more than any of them. Perhaps it was because it was my boyfriend’s final evening in London before emigrating to Hong Kong, or maybe it had something to do with the faultless food we enjoyed throughout the evening, but in the undying words of One Direction, “It was the best meal ever“.
We had only just sat down on our vintage stools at one of the bar-counter tables,  when a peculiar looking amuse bouche was placed before each of us. Entitled ‘Potato, cheese and chives‘, it was unlike any potato, cheese or chive I’ve ever had. The soft, sticky ball of (presumably) potato was adorned with a cheesy, leek infused white sauce that tickled the tastebuds. It’s certainly one way to start an evening meal, and I liked it.
After ordering a couple of dishes from the Snacks, Garden & Sea sections of the menu, we toasted Harry’s imminent departure and got stuck into a miniature loaf of gorgeous freshly baked bread, served with a meaty ‘Bone Marrow Butter‘ and an additional ‘Seaweed Butter‘, which swiftly followed at Harry’s behest (he’s a ‘sort of vegetarian’).
Snacks of ‘Potted Salmon, Guinness Soda Bread‘ (£5) and ‘Cornish crab, sweet corn, fresh hazelnut‘ (£6) arrived soon after and the meal just got better and better. The tiny tin of salmon with pickled vegetables was a delight, whilst the white and brown crab meat, piled onto a fragment of crisp popadom was superb; both demolished within minutes.
Next to arrive, dishes of ‘Jerusalem artichoke, wild mushrooms, Clarence Court Bantam egg’ (£8) and ‘Courgette, basil, buffalo milk curd, toasted pumpkin seeds’ (£8). We slowly, savouringly shared the first, enjoying the combination of the soft silky egg, crisp artichoke chips and mesmerisingly good flavours. But the second dish was just as good: yellow and green courgette ribbons curled around the creamy milk curd, with a sweet and herby basil emulsion hidden beneath. It was one of the nicest, freshest and most lovely of dishes.

Dover Sole, caramel, cauliflower, malt’ (£10) arrived with our ‘Cornish Cod, welsh leeks, oyster emulsion, shellfish dressing’ (£8.5). The sole, unusually meaty, with a gravy like sauce and grilled cauliflower florettes, was the more delicious (for lack of a better word) of the two. However, the very unusual cod dish was superb; the translucent flakes of cod nestled beside deshelled mussles, atop the leekiest of lovely leeks. It was a beautiful dish, new to the menu that evening and an absolute success.

3 cheese and house chutney‘ (£7.5) ended our feast. The homemade crackers, biscuity and crumbly, went perfectly with the miniature, cheesey trio and between us we cleared the slate.

Without exception each plate (bowl and slate) was cleared of every little morsel (and would have been licked clean if I could have had my way). I could not possibly choose a favourite dish for I would have all of them again. And again. And in fact I am already planning my return. This was truly one of the best meals I have had in a very long time and I cannot wait to go back. For your sake, I hope I’ll see you there.

Dinner for two: £60
Drinks: Bottle of wine from £19.5, Cocktails from £8

Nearby bars: The Sun – London SW4
You might also like: The Clove Club – London EC1V  (Read Full Review), Toasted – London SE22 (Read Full Review)

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