Friday

Jimmy's pop up - The Secret Garden Clapham

Above The Clapham North is a little space which is let out to a few pop ups every now and then. More recently the 'pop up king' has brought his experience to Clapham and a bunch of us South of the River folk went there last night...

The restaurant is a little... odd. But, pop-ups have to work with what they have...the central focus point is a huge fake tree which hangs (it needs more oomph!) above a canteen like dining space of around 12 or so tables mostly seating couples - of which, almost every couple had their mobile phones out, talk to each other, please!! 

The menu read well, four delicious sounding starters, and the same for mains. All focussing on the 'BEST of British produce' and the wine is extensive enough to have a couple of decent bottles of each and be happy...

Our menu choices were followed by some excellent warm bread and salted butter. It then went slightly pear shaped from here on in...

Sadly, our first complaint went in after waiting almost an hour after ordering our starter... Nothing was rectified. Instead we found ourselves somewhat ignored, no apology and just a passing of excuses. I appreciate that waitresses get the brunt of complaints which isn't easy as I worked at a Gastro pub, in Devon, for two summers.

Our waitress told us the reason being was due to other tables arriving an hour late. So, we were being penalised for arriving on time?! 

Eventually our starters did get 'plonked down' and every single one was sublime, all was forgotten and thoroughly enjoyed...

A couple of us had boudin blanc (my picture is embarrassingly bad!!) this was served with a BBQ corn puree, crisp black pudding cubes and cauliflower florets. Oddly, there seemed to be some white meat (possibly quail?!) on the plate which wasn't accounted for on the menu. But, it was all completely delicious. 



Crottin goats cheese, balsamic vinegar, candied walnuts and baby beetroot was chosen by Mrs SB and tuna tartare for a few others. Both got rather large thumbs up.




Sadly, our small table of 6 seemed to be pushed further down the line. At ten past ten (2.5hrs after being seated) when our mains still hadn't arrived we had to ask where it was... 'It's on the pass' - (a restaurant favourite reply of mine) and then saw said 'pass food' go to another table... So, we waited... 

The manager came over and finally apologised for the exceptionally slow service but said it was due to us having both a starter and a main. Is that not expected in a restaurant?!

Another reason followed...'the whole restaurants dishes were being cooked in batches. First the lamb, then the hake etc etc...' that just doesn't make sense to me. But hey ho, our dishes arrived and again, all totally delicious...

My hake in a tasty seaweed and sea vegetable broth was beautiful, light and warming. The fish cooked perfectly, with flaky iridescent flesh and a good crisp skin. 



LJ's Roasted wood pigeon, butternut squash, girolles, braised potato, Fat Hen (?!) and blackberry jus. The potato 'gratin' was sadly, undercooked. Yet, every other element was triumph.



The previous mentioned 'sitting on the pass' rang alarm bells when Mrs BL's English lamb rump, olive oil mash, artichokes, samphire, peas and aubergines arrived with a rather 'crusty' looking sauce on the side from sitting under the heat lamp. However, I was assured that is was another winner...

We had a final apology and the booze wiped off the bill due to it being too late (10:40pm) for us all to warrant a free pudding (thank you). And we left somewhat baffled and slightly deflated...

I honestly, hardly ever complain in restaurants as I appreciate how much effort and time is consumed into running one. I SO wanted to love this place in every possible way but, it simply didn't happen. It's an incredible shame as the kitchen shows a huge amount of talent if you love your food go, just be prepared for an exceptionally odd roller coaster of an evening.

Website: HERE 

Address: 409 Clapham Rd, London SW9 9BT
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2 comments:

  1. Oh, we're going tonight and your review both excites and scares me. I've heard a lot of other bad feedback on the service. Fingers crossed that we'll be spared!

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