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Darby's

Restaurants, British Nine Elms
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
 (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
1/10
Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
 (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
2/10
Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
 (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
3/10
Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
 (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
4/10
Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
 (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
5/10
Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
 (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
6/10
Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
 (Photograph: Paul Winch-Furness)
7/10
Photograph: Paul Winch-Furness
 (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
8/10
Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
 (Photograph: Paul Winch-Furness)
9/10
Photograph: Paul Winch-Furness
 (Photograph: Paul Winch-Furness)
10/10
Photograph: Paul Winch-Furness

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

An all-day Manhattan-style brasserie with a menu from The Dairy’s Robin Gill.

You can take the Americans out of Manhattan but you can’t take Manhattan out of the Americans. To fully understand Darby’s, you need to fully understand its location: right in the shadow of the US embassy. It’s the culinary centrepiece of a stylish mixed-use development recently built to service the area’s newest – and biggest – employer.

So it’s no surprise that while the menu, courtesy of Irish chef Robin Gill (The Dairy, Counter Culture) is part modern Euro small plates, part oysters and grills, the look is unmistakably ‘Manhattan lifestyle space’. A large, double-height affair, it has a glam bar in the middle, complete with glassware-polishing bartender and counter seats. By the windows, there are booths to sink into and chest-height tables for laptop-perching. At the entrance, they’re baking bread and pastries, or rolling out fresh pasta.

It’s gorgeous: all parquet floors, caramel-toned lighting and plush upholstery in shades of soft teal. In one corner, there’s a mid-century break-out zone, with antique books and a trumpet (it’s okay, it works). There’s laidback jazz in the air.

And the food? Mostly excellent. We were dazzled by a duo of meaty beef nuggets with tarragon mustard, a couple of killer arancini, and a gooey slick of truffley Baron Bigod brie spread over homebaked sourdough. Also great: ‘little perverts’ (smoked eel cocktail-stick-skewered with olive and pickled chilli), and a simple radish, chicory and fennel salad lifted by a daringly sharp vinaigrette. But there was a misfire, too: a bowl of floury, undercooked agnolotti (a type of pasta parcel). Get the pappardelle instead. Still, staff were a joy, and the space – even when it’s not busy – is hugely inviting. I renounced my US citizenship last year. At least now I have a reason to go back to the embassy.

Details

Address: 5 Nine Elms Lane
London
SW8 5DA
Transport: Vauxhall rail
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £115.
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