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A high-class Clapton local that punches way above its weight. Fabulous cured meats, cheese and wine can be purchased for consumption at home.

Few things please me more than a local restaurant that tries to achieve perfection in everything. It’s a bit like the saying that to bring about positive change, you should ‘think globally, act locally.’ In the context of restaurants, this means creating a place that can compete with any in London but placing it in a spot that you’d assume only locals will go to. If you make it good enough, non-locals get the word. And the casual local becomes a destination restaurant.

Verden is one of those places. Run by a partnership whose background includes Scott’s, the grand-luxe Mayfair seafood restaurant, it occupies a sharply angled corner site and makes the most of its quirky geometries with big windows, lots of matte grey, lots of wood, elegant light fittings.

We started Sunday lunch with two own-cured items from the charcuterie list, saucisson and pork loin served with excellent sourdough from the White Hat Bakery in Bow: a good shared starter.

Main dishes were even better. Smoked salmon royale (£8) featured a generous portion of superb fish from the Lambton & Jackson smokehouse, and a classy dotting of salmon roe. Better still was the club sandwich (£9): roast chicken, melted lardo, pancetta, lettuce, datterini tomatoes, Comté cheese, and celeriac remoulade on toasted sourdough. Complex, dense with flavour – this was a five-star sandwich.

Though plunged into food envy when a nearby table ordered salted caramel chocolate pot, we were too full to follow suit.

On a Tuesday we might go for ‘steak night’; other nights the prices rarely top £15 for mains. This is a great pricing policy for a local restaurant – and made exceptional by the quality of the cooking.

Wines are all sold by the glass – and, like the cheeses and charcuterie, for takeaway whenever the restaurant is open. Service is friendly, attentive, and almost embarrassingly scrupulous: when our mains arrived after a very slightly overlong wait, we got a profuse apology and the offer of a free drink to compensate.

After we’d left, my companion said she would kill to have Verden at the end of her road. So would I. Claptonites are lucky to have this place, and they know it: Verden was voted best Clapton restaurant in last year’s Time Out Love London Awards. Want to think global and act local? Go to Verden and see how it’s done. Richard Ehrlich



Venue name: Verden
Address: 181 Clarence Rd
E5 8EE
Opening hours: Tue-Thur 5pm-midnight; Fri noon-midnight; Sat 11am-midnight; Sun 11am-10.30pm
Transport: Rail: Clapton or Hackney Central

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
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Andrew W

As a Verden fan, I am delighted to see the Time Out review and it chimes very much with our regular-ish experience of eating there. Food is of a consistently high quality and - aside from steak night - it is a constantly changing menu which makes it a very satisfying place to return to. The attentive service also matches the food.  Moreover, if you enjoy wines, especially exploring those from both well known and lesser known parts of the world, you will enjoy the wine list at Verden. From sancerres to Slovenian sivi pinots, it's a dream.  Sure, it is not a particularly cheap place and it's not the kind of place where you go to feel up on big portions.  But it's really made eating out locally in Clapton a pleasure. 

Sharon S

Went there last evening for 'steak night'. They were out of rib-eye, leaving us with two options: a more modest cut or a T-Bone to share. We went for the T Bone. At £35 a pop we had hoped for a nice, BIG steak. What arrived at our table was more of an r -bone than a t-bone. Very nicely made- but way too small. We were too hungry to send it back, so we went for it. Wish we hadn't. Left the restaurant hungry, dissatisfied and with a bad taste in our mouths.  This is my third time at Verden: the first was magic - delicious food, nicely executed and charming service. The second was for lunch with a friend, which was disappointing: a huge cheese board accommodating a very small amount of very expensive cheese accompanied by three grapes. Roughly. Last night's debacle is likely to be my last visit. I am happy to pay well for good food but this was just silly. Very disappointing. In sum: Yes, the food is excellent. Yes, the service is good. Yes, it's a delightful surprise on a very unpromising street BUT- food portions are small and the food really is overpriced. Shame!

James M

It's got a great wine selection, but the food portions, for the prices asked, even with Clapton on the rise, are overpriced. The food is of good quality though.

Good date place for a partner that eats like a shrew, don't go if hungry and skint.

Raman S

Decided to go to Verden after it appeared top in the Time Out List for places to eat in Clapton. Thoroughly enjoyed the club sandwich. Thanks for recommending! 

ron m

Can't warm to this - it doesn't feel like part of Clapton at all, more like it's been picked up from Notting Hill and just dumped in E5. There are loads of well run little restaurants appearing in Clapton but this place doesn't feel like one of them, it's as if it's at odds with the community not part of it.

Heikki Y

A nice and stylish place with friendly service, good wine selection and absolutely delicious food.

Lamps Q
0 of 1 found helpful

A smug shrine to inequality so out of odds with the community and surroundings. It's a shame to see a bar more suited to Clapham in another wise diverse, interesting community.