Thursday

The Manor - Another Clapham goldie

Pudding bar
So, Clapham is suddenly getting it's mark on the London map for seriously awesome places to eat within. Valentine's day was fast approaching and I was finding myself ever so slightly stuck for a place to seat 6 of us to have supper a 'mere' month or so ago.

We managed to get a cancellation for an 8:30pm seating at The Manor. AKA, the people behind The Dairy's newest venture. I was surprised, and yet extremely pleased with bagging such a spot for this rather popular evening for dining out and even more so because, once the evening was over I am desperate to go again as I am sure many other feel the same...
Interior
Unexpected evenings always turn out to be my most enjoyable. Tonight was one of those... Firstly, It was Valentine's night and I was spending it in a restaurant, something I have always sworn against doing. Secondly, we were therefore made to have a 'Lover's' (not their words, my own) tasting menu which is the main reason I choose not to go out on the 14th. Often, over-priced and somewhat thrown onto your table in attempt to get you out asap... thankfully, The Manor could not have been more of an exception if it tried.

The venue is off Clapham High Street on a really non de-script road that when arriving I thought I was in the wrong place. However, on walking through the door it's a completely different story. You are transported to an exceptionally vibrant room which only gets better as the evening draws in. The d├ęcor is much like it's sister restaurant, rustic and industrial however, a little more, stylised (and yes, the loo's are a little 'out there'!).
We were seated towards the back on a large farmhouse kitchen dining table already set with mismatched vintage crockery and cutlery. Being as it was Valentine's night we were pre-warned of the set menu and this was already at each place sitting. A flute of champers was brought to the table and we were briefly taken through ingredients for each course whilst nibbling on an amuse bouche of seaweed on top of a tapioka crisp and white miso, I loved this little mouthful of sea saltiness along with others. Mr D was not so fussed. 
Following that, we were then given a small sharing board of spicy beef droewors, pork and fennel salami (both delicious) and a hessian bag (with its own 'heat pack') of freshly baked bread. 
Now, this bread is like no other, each roll is meant for sharing...I managed to devour a whole loaf to myself in record speed without anyone round the table noticing, it is THAT good! 
Served with...wait for it... CHICKEN SKIN WHIPPED BUTTER...daintily placed on a cool rock. Just so, SO gooooood!
Our feast then came in thick and fast. Crispy chicken skins, kimchi and burnt kale. A wonderful mix of textures and flavours.
Cauliflower, grue de cacao, medjool dates and kefir (fermented milk). Was another win on unusual flavour combinations. The chocolate in particular was incredibly caramel-esque I was getting every last drop off the plate with my finger. 
The final of our starters was a rather huge applewood smoked eel, cultured cream, new potatoes and parsnip. I can't actually ever remember whether I had eaten eel before or not. Here, it was only lightly smoked therefore, letting the rest of the plates elements shine through. Again, another mix of textures with added 'crisps' and 'burnt' onions - de-lish. 
For mains it was a choice of two...

Hay smoked pigeon, fermented grains, malt granola and parsnip for three of the family and had an all round thumbs up.
And, suckling pig belly, braised head, carrots and caraway for me - simply put, it was heaven! Perfectly cooked belly with a crisp crackling (a certain GP would approve!), and an incredibly tender braised pork head cube - a seriously delicious plate of food made even better by a wonderful mix of colours. 
We then opted in for the £3 extra midi-cheese course of Tunworth with walnut toast and earl grey prunes. 
Puddings then swiftly followed starting with a refreshing palate cleanser of kombucha, gin, cucumber and sesame (ice cream and sorbet).
Rhubarb and tonka bean custard for the majority of the table...
and then my choice of dark chocolate mousse, blood orange and brown butter ice cream. Yet another, exceptionally put together plate of ingredients, thoroughly enjoyed and a great dish to finish off the evening.
And then finishing off with some delightful little cakes things however by the time these came out I was nicely tipsy from my father plying me with delicious booze (thank you!). 
The Manor surprised me, it was so hyped up I was expecting it to be good but, it exceed my expectations in so many ways from start to finish. A wonderful place for friends and family whom love food and enjoy a great buzzing atmosphere. It's a welcome and fantastic addition to Clapham's forever expanding restaurant scene. I predict this place to be getting a star very soon... 

A: 148 Clapham Manor Street, London
T: 0207 720 4662

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