This is Robin Gill’s second restaurant in Clapham (he also owns The Dairy) and with the recent announcement that he’s opening another one, 254 Paradise in Bethnal Green (on the same stretch as Mission), along with a deli next door to the Dairy, it’s set to be quite a year for him.
I love the Dairy, but whereas that has a dark, romantic, perfect-for-dinner vibe, the Manor is quite the opposite. Bright and airy would be an understatement. The open dessert bar at one end adds a touch of drama to proceedings with frequent puffs of dry ice wafting about. The toilets are quite…unusual to say the least! You’ll see what I mean.
During our lunchtime visit, two options were available; the a la carte and a seven-course tasting menu priced at £42 which is what we went for.
To start; homemade sourdough with savoury chicken butter, salumi and a South African cured meat (which was like a posh pepperami) called droe wors. The meat, as expected from a place that cures it all themselves, was delish. The bread at the Dairy was some of the best I’ve ever had, but on this occasion it was slightly over done giving it a really crumbly and slightly burnt exterior.
It was difficult not to fall in love with the rest. Plump Cornish cod cheeks and sour cream, wakame and rice cracker was a lovely blend of flavours. The same could be said for the cauliflower, grue de cocao, medjool dates and kefir. The balance between sweet and savoury being so very spot on.
“Julie Girl” monkfish, roasted salsify and chanterelles saw perfectly cooked fish blend exquisitely with a sweet mushroom purée and thinly sliced raw mushrooms.
Hay smoked pigeon covered in fermented grains with parsnip and malt granola was a hearty plate of food. There was a thick, risotto-like concoction at the bottom which was insanely moreish. To run in from a rainy Winter’s day and eat a bowl of that would be pure heaven.
A slice of Tunworth, kombucha prunes and walnut toast (£4 extra) was a well considered blend of flavours – some serious thought had gone into what would compliment such a strong cheese best.
Both desserts were great – mandarin, gingerbread and goat’s curd and Jerusalem artichoke with frozen crème fraiche and poached quince – but we kind of wish we’d ordered from the a la carte so we could sit at the dessert counter and watch the ice cream sundaes being made. It looked serious fun.
I knew I was going to love The Manor before I even stepped through the door. There’s something about Gill’s food that is unlike anything you’ll find in restaurants right now. And then there’s the service; casual and friendly yet passionate and well informed. It all makes for such a great experience.