I’ve been living in Clapham for nearly three years now and am still discovering the area. There are always surprises hidden here and there. Wandsworth in general is rather pleasent, tidy and nice. This can mean boring but it depends what you make of it. For me it is slightly too boring, too nice and lacking what I like most about London - bit of filth, bit of realism, bit of grittiness. It’s all too middle class here which makes the area less interactive, people are not very spontanious. It’s all too organised.
Having said that whenever I come across new things I get excited so here is my lowdown on Clapham and around.
Clapham High Street is generally full of bad bars and pound shops, not very large it managed to squeeze a big Superdrug and even bigger Boots, few charity shops and few useless gift shops. Do not go out there in the evening, it gets filled up with zombie-like drunk teenagers. There are few fantastic places though:
Patisserie Macaron – I wrote about it here. A true French patisserie with artisan breads, pastries, chocolates, cakes and superb ice cream and sorbets. Perfect for an afternoon with a paper and a nice pot of tea.
Gastro – French restaurant in Venn Street, great for dinner or lunch, good wine and moules with frites. Tables outside, on a sunny day you get all the sun.
Esca – great Italian deli and cafe, large table at the back where you can sample their salads, meats, and special 50p per item breakfast. They also have amazing selection of cakes and desserts in the front window, irresistable. Tables outside.
Pizzeria San Marco – good Italian restaurant on the high street, I tried their pizza with house wine and it was delicious, saw some of the other dishes – all looked very good.
Breads Etcetera – another good cafe/bakery in the high street. Tables are hard to get, there is always a queue outside but once you get one, it comes with a toaster and you help yourself to all kind of breads and spreads, all included in your breakfast and limitless. Breakfast itself is fantastic.
M Moen and Sons – an excellent deli on the Pavement, in the summer they grill chorizo outside and serve it on freshly baked bread with rocket.
Abbeville Road – I call it a little village as it could be anywhere in England, it has got a small town feel to it. It’s a pretty small high street, I can’t rave about the restaurants and cafes however it has got a great deli, McFarlane’s, excellent choice of cheese, pates, cold cuts and breads as well as chocolates and cakes. Another good thing about Abbeville Road is the farmers market nearby in a school yard, I must say it went down hill for a while but it’s picking up again, they have some new organic veggie stalls and buffalo dairy stall. Fingers crossed it keeps improving!
Going further to Clapham South, there is one place worth mentioning – Pizza on the Green. It looks pretty bad from the outside and always serves half price pizza – bad sign? I went there when I really craved pizza and Firezza raised their prices to £12.50 per regular sized one. It’s a really well run pizzeria, all Italian staff, food is delicious, wine is decent and service is very fast. All pizza and pasta dishes are always half price making the most expensive one probably around 6 quid, take away pizza is £7.40. A truely authentic Italian place, usually packed to its limits. Needless to say I am a regular.
Today’s discovery is Northcote Road, never been there, went there today to meet a friend, also a local, who discovered this little treasure this very afternoon. It’s just off Battersea Rise which in itself is full of places to eat. Northcote Road is very middle class, very baby orientated but it offers a great choice of restaurants, delis, shops and a Saturday street market. More about it next week as I’m planning to discover it properly. This rainy afternoon I spent in Italian restaurant, Osteria, enjoying prosecco and olives, my friend had a wonderful seafood salad – it was huge and really yummy looking. Stay tuned for more.
I am sure there are more places round here like Clapham Village and other secret high streets I am yet to discover.