If you’re looking for a lively place to be, you won’t beat Clapham. Home to people from all over the world, it’s expanded over the years and now falls partly into both the Lambeth and Wandsworth boroughs. Neighbouring Brixton has really helped Clapham’s boom, so there’s no shortage of fantastic nights out in the area.
Featuring highly on a lot of “Places to go in Clapham” websites is a restaurant called The Dairy. Don’t worry, there’s no milking sheds here – just a highly recommended tasting menu and staff who are more than happy to accommodate your requirements. Vegan? Gluten free? Allergies? Not a problem. Described as “effortlessly cool”, its décor is a mix of recycled wood furniture and industrial accessories. Find it at 15 The Pavement.
In 2001, chef Adam Byatt set up his third restaurant, Trinity, on The Polygon in Clapham. Inspired by local master butchers, Trinity has won plenty of rosettes, and is the place to go for a celebration, or just a splurge. The menu changes often, and it walks the fine line between smart and casual very well, keeping it very much at the cutting edge. If you’ve just received a nice bonus, this is definitely somewhere worth spending it.
Fans of French food should take a trip to Soif, where the owners have gone all out to make you feel like you’ve hopped across the channel. Decorated in a traditional style, with French antiques and memorabilia, you’ll feel like you’re relaxing in a Parisian bistro. Unsurprisingly, it wins high praise for its traditional French wine list. You’ll find it on the west side of Clapham Common, at 27 Battersea Rise.
If you’re looking for something really informal, you won’t beat Breads Etcetera on Clapham High Street. Its speciality is exactly what you'd expect – bread! However you like your bread, you can source it at this hybrid bakery/café. This cosy café environment’s centrepiece is a huge basket of different breads, and you help yourself to whatever takes your fancy. Sourdough, rye, white and wholemeal, among others, are all available, depending on what the chef fancied making, so you can be sure of a different selection each time you visit. Slice as much as you like and take your bread back to your table, where your own personal toaster awaits, and order a topping like scrambled egg if you fancy one. Avoid the peak of weekend lunchtimes if you’re in a hurry – people can wait half an hour for a table.
We couldn’t finish without mentioning Madeleine, formerly known as Macaron. This little French style bakery is a popular spot for commuters heading down to the stations, looking for a breakfast treat. There are a few tables outside, and a viewing window so you can see the bakers at work, but why not grab your snacks and head down to the Common to enjoy the hubbub of London’s trendiest location?