In between bites of garlicky cherry tomatoes and sips of Pimm’s, my companion and I try to decide whether the light fitting above us resembles an upside down bird’s nest or a nativity scene. We are in a cosy corner of the new dining room at The Windmill on Clapham Common sampling the culinary delights and the décor.
Set on the south side of the common, it’s a treat for Londoners by offering those rare commodities of surrounding greenery and space. The lack of traffic whizzing by, or neighbouring pubs or restaurants, also mean you might be able to hear what your friends are saying to you. Having said that, most folk flock to outdoor space, and enjoying the patio involved a little jostling for a two-person-with-drinks-sized area.
In the dining room itself, the airy feeling from outside continued. With half the ceiling made of glass, light pours in and it’s like sitting in a classy conservatory without many plants. The use of mirrors adds to the sense of space and there’s enough room between tables to avoid feeling on top of fellow diners. The walls are painted muted, inoffensive colours.
But enough about the colour scheme, said my companion, what is there to eat? Among the canapés to try, he, being a meat eater, enjoyed the ‘Bocconcini’ – a lovely combination of fig, Serrano ham and rocket. A miniature chicken caesar salad was also on offer but he said it was a little bland. I managed quite a few smoked salmon parcels stuffed with cream cheese, deliciously fatty and easy to eat.
The menu has all the pub classics, like burgers and fish and chips, but also has more than the standard choices for vegetarians. The usual veggie offering of spinach and ricotta pasta makes my heart sink but at The Windmill, you can have wild porcini ravioli, Malaysian curry or sautéed polenta. Carnivores can treat themselves to a steak aged 21 days (a good thing in the world of meat I am told). Mains are around the £10 mark although double that for a steak.
We ate lots of mini chocolate brownies and strawberry pavlovas to finish off. They were moreish and sugary giving me just enough energy to stroll back through the common to Clapham Junction.
If you’re feeling less energetic, The Windmill is a short distance from either Clapham Common or Clapham South tube stations.
However, if you don’t want to go home, The Windmill has a pub where the light fitting debate can continue, and if you still don’t want to go home, it also has a hotel.
Clapham Common South Side
T: 020 8673 4578