11 months ago

Brooke SW4 is going to be popular…

… So discover this new gastro-pub/ restaurant/ bar/ all-day-eatery fast. Because whatever you want to call it, it’s very, very good.

Brooke SW4 has opened up on Abbeville Road, taking over the location from No.33. They are a modern restaurant and bar that serves seasonal English food with some Asian twists, a relaxed all day kind of location that you’ll be welcomed into whether you just want a quick drink after work, or a full three course meal celebration dinner. Brooke has a sister; Brooke House in Fulham has just won the “Best front house team of the year award” in the Top 50 Gastro Pubs list and has just been awarded their first Rosette for culinary excellence. They’re clearly doing something very right and we have a suspicion that this will translate to Abbeville Road too.

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be very impressed when entering Brooke. It’s really beautiful in there; a striking wooden bar, green leather booths and even a stuffed chicken (Ruben, if you were wondering). The space is so open and airy and leads out seamlessly onto the front terrace. You can peak into the open kitchen too if you want to see the genius team at play. But despite the fancy interior, you don’t need to dine to come in and enjoy. The team create an atmosphere so relaxed that you could happily come along in casual wear to have a drink at the bar without feeling awkward about it. Under the same management, no wonder Brooke House has won the accolades it has…

Brooke runs with women at the helm, which is too rare but worth celebrating, and with a food-led management. Head Chef (who is classically French trained) is also co-owner of the site, and the GM is an ex-chef of 10 years. This comes across in how cleverly the daily changing menu is put together; it’s clearly thought through and the results are impressive. Everything, from the ice cream to the (extremely addictive) soda bread, is made on site with seasonal ingredients and looked as good on paper as they tasted… it was hard to narrow down just a couple of dishes from the menu.

We had a couple of their cocktails in the hope it might help making the decision process a little easier. The passionfruit cosmo was a winner for us. Fruity but not overly sweet because of the addition of zingy passionfruit. The frozen margarita is a summer classic and the espresso martini might just be one of the best we’ve tried in Clapham. And we’ve tried a few. But the Brooke summer cup was especially lovely. An ode to summer and totally bespoke to Brooke SW4, it’s full of fresh fruit, mint and a gin liqueur. It’s summer in a drink. If you happen to be there on a Friday or Saturday then make the most of their hangover cure- a list of 4 different Bloody Mary’s to scare away any lingering alcohol-related headaches. They’ve got a classic, the umami Mary (made with gin), the Bloody Maria and a Caesar (made with clamato juice). Options that manage make the initial hangover worth it? Perhaps.

To eat we started with the honeycomb tomato salad. Sweet and delicious with the perfect combination of creamy ricotta, crunchy nuts, bitterness from the olive tapenade and juicy tomatoes. Managing to pack such flavour in and around the delicate taste of tomatoes without overpowering them was a bit revolutionary. We then moved on to the burrata and morello cherries. Cherries are in season in the UK right now and boy do they go well with a burrata. With some candied pistachios scattered on top we didn’t know if we were eating a main or pudding but we didn’t mind one bit- it was spot on. The wild seabass came with shatteringly crisp skin and a luxurious, curry-scented lentil velouté. Such a warm and enjoyable dish. And then to finish it had to be more of those seasonal cherries, this time in the form of a clafoutis with a side of house-made honeycomb ice cream. They’ll warn you of an additional 15 minute wait time on this but trust us when we say it’s worth every second. Warm, gooey, hug-on-a-plate… It’s a customer favourite. And ours too.

Like any good English restaurant, they’ve got Sunday roasts sorted. Choose between two meaty options, the dry aged beef rump or the 55 day aged pork and enjoy with all the trimmings (Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, glazed carrots and buttered greens). But, also like any good English restaurant, they don’t forget about the rest of the menu on Sundays- there’s loads of small plates, snack and a couple of large plates to tempt you if you don’t feel like a roast.

Brooke SW4 really have got all the ingredients to become extremely popular on Abbeville Road. It’s welcoming, feels easy for any event and has a really, really amazing menu. But don’t take our word for it- try it out and see for yourself.

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