THE DAIRY, CLAPHAM

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I know this is late, very late. I did say my posts would be backtracking to begin with and this New Year’s Eve meal had to be discussed. It was course after course of rapturous delight at The Dairy in Clapham.

I say course after course because we were served up a grand total of eleven plates. This came with a glass of bubbly for £65 a head, which, considering the occasion and the outstanding array of dishes we were served up doesn’t seem in the slightest bit unreasonable. I would pay the same again in a heartbeat. The atmosphere in this new go-to destination on the London culinary scene is laidback and warm. Unlike the austere and posy ambiance in some other high-end London eateries which can make you feel a little like you’re paying to be judged fit to eat their food, The Dairy is cosy and welcoming. New Year’s Eve was a tasting menu whirlwind which showcased a few of their menu staples and more.

Try six starters on for size… each a scrummy mouthful and a journey between drink to dining staring with olives, crispy anchovies, cured Iberico presa with parsnip and hazelnut, hay smoked curd with Jerusalem artichoke, onions and chanterellles, then my personal favourite, sourdough with smoked bone marrow butter and chicken liver mousse so light and creamy it will make you go weak at the knees, not to mention their homemade cellar salumi, then finally chicken oyster, crispy skin, cellar kimchi and burnt kale. Ooooomph, long sentence sorry! Didn’t want to miss out a delicious detail.

Then to the main event. Applewood smoked eel, charred leeks, sorrel and fried bread. No big eel fan, I had my doubts but I hold my hands up, I’m converted. It was unbelievably soft and so good paired with the sweet and bitter leek.

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The Yorkshire venison, fermented grains and winter berries, if it’s possible, topped everything that came before. The jus especially, was sublime.Photo 31-12-2014 21 46 47

Then, oh then, we were presented with two desserts no less. One served as something of a wonderful palate cleanser, the clementine baked Alaska. The second, was decadent and scrumptious; ‘Salted caramel, cacao, malted barley ice cream’. The picture doesn’t really do it justice, though I’m convinced nothing would.

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And THEN… coffee came with a last box of goodies.

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The whole affair was a marvellous culinary crescendo that left me a little giddy and very happy. This was dining on another level and I honestly believe The Dairy have hit the nail on the head; top notch cooking, a bar selection to match and still a welcoming atmosphere at a reasonable price point for the quality.

Dinner was a privilege and has stolen a spot on my top three meals ever. One to remember.

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