Pepper Tree

Restaurants, Thai Clapham
Pepper Tree

In the autumn of 2012 Pepper Tree changed hands (to the owner of nearby Eco), and it reopened in early May 2014 with a smart new look.

Little has changed in the format though - the tightly packed rows of wooden canteen tables offer a spot of elbow tennis for the young and noisy clientele.The menu is Thai, the prices affordable.

On our visit in mid-May, only a week after the reopening, we were disappointed by the both the perfunctory service and lacklustre cooking. The greeter wandered off before showing us to our seats; the server plonked dishes down on our table without even making eye contact, let alone a smile. We had to go to the pass to attract the attention of staff to get the bill.

This might be forgiveable if the cooking was exemplary, but the dishes we tried were either average or below par. Both a som tam (green papaya salad) and pad Thai verged on the bland, partly a result of both being vegetarian versions; without fish sauce or dried shrimps, they lacked a depth of sour and salty pungent flavours. The pad Thai noodles were mushy and broken. The best dish was a yellow fish curry, which had a good balance of flavours.

Despite the good-looking refit and a revised menu, we can't help feeling that Pepper Tree really needs to up its game in other aspects of the operation, as what came across on our visit was complacency in both kitchen and front of house.

 

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Pepper Tree says
Just a few steps from Clapham Common tube, The Pepper Tree is a well-loved Thai restaurant in the neighbourhood. From its trendy interior (designed by artist Paul Davis), great staff and hip clientele to its beautifully presented and super tasty food, it will surely get you wanting more.

Welcome to The Pepper Tree. The home of Thai street-food style dining. Join us for a canteen style lunch, dinner, or weekend breakfast and enjoy our fantastic authentic food and cocktails bursting with traditional Thai flavours.

Voted Time Out’s Best Restaurant in Clapham, dining at The Pepper Tree is a relaxed and fun experience. Take a seat at our lively canteen style dining tables and soak up the unique atmosphere. We look forward to welcoming you.
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Posted:

Venue name: Pepper Tree
Contact:
Address: 19 Clapham Common Southside
London
SW4 7AB
Opening hours: Meals served noon-10.30pm daily.
Transport: Tube: Clapham Common
Price: Dinner for two around £35 including drinks and service.
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Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:29
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:13
LiveReviews|54
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1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

They tend to get very busy - part of the bustling charm with their long communal bench tables much like Wagamamas. Definitely expect quick, cheap and cheerful Thai food, great for a decent takeout or a quick dinner or lunch catch up.


What I had:

  • Grilled prawns marinated in Thai herbs, chilli and garlic
  • Duck Massaman with coconut milk, peanuts and potatoes
  • Red chicken curry with Thai herbs, red chilli, peppers and coconut
  • coconut rice
  • sticky rice
  • Homemade Thai Yellow Bean-cake served warm with coconut ice cream

The grilled prawn starter needed a bit more marination or flavour, even a fresh squeeze of lime would have kicked it up a few notches; they were however cooked well and retained its fresh texture. The red chicken curry had the right flavour; however the chicken was overcooked sadly which gave a rather dry and almost chalky texture to the chicken - a consequence of overcooking breast meat. The Duck Massaman was the best out of the lot, the curry had a really lovely flavour - you could taste a depth in the spices and the duck was not overcooked. Lastly the Thai yellow bean-cake was a lot softer in texture than I had imagined - almost like spooning into soft butter, but was lovely with the coconut ice cream which balanced the sweetness nicely. Although I wouldn't say the dishes overall weren't absolutely amazing, and by no means the authentic Thai level of hotness; I would go back and try the other dishes and give it another shot.


Tip: Get a portion of sticky rice and coconut rice (there are other options such as plain rice or even brown rice) as the portion of sticky rice may not be enough to soak up the sauce in your curry. They also do a meal and movie deal combo with Clapham Picture house across the road.


Good For: relaxed date, small groups, catch up with friends, cheap and cheerful


I was quite excited to have a real Thai food; however, something was not right. Only one waiter on the floor. Obviously the service was slow and I feel too sorry to complain for it. I couldn't blame him for it. The food was average, Satay Chicken was a small portion (3 tiny pieces),Pad Thai Chicken was tasteless, curry with avocado was okay but nothing special.The deco is great but the food lacks of authenticity. Even though the kitchen has got a Thai Chefs, it doesn't mean they know how to cook Thai Food


We decided to go to this restaurant as we wanted to eat Thai cuisine. We have been reading good reviews from a local  Magazine and a food blogger.The place has bright colours and minimal design, looks clean and tidy. The first thing that you will notice which made us disappointed was the vary loud music, so loud we could not have a conversation. The music had nothing to do with this kind of place. We were quite happy with the sharing table. We felt like as kids at the canteen college. It didn't bother us; however the sharing table was overload of people, tiny space for dinner. Fortunately, we were sharing with other couples. I couldn't imagine share the table with weirdos or with people that have no manners.I think that none of the dishes we ordered was made in the real-time. The temperature of the food was not adequate: Pad Thai Chicken overcooked and Chicken Curry cold. I sent the curry back, then after 2 minutes they served me the same curry warmed up by microwave. Drunken noodles, rated 2* in spiciness level, it was not spicy at all, struggled to find any flat noodles in them, was mainly just veg and chicken.  Fish cakes were tasteless, pieces of rubber instead dim sum were fine. Despite food from microwave, the quality was average, nothing unusual, special or exciting. The funny thing was the avocado in the curry. Since when does the Thai cuisine use avocado??!! I feel that it lacks authenticity. The dishes has very little flavour and it's quite European style. We had as dessert yellow bean cake with vanilla ice cream... it was so depressing! The ice cream was melted.  Regardless of "Happy Hour", the cocktails were good: Ginger Martin was well made and Lychee Mai Thai was okay. I wanted to drink more, but the waiting staff was busy talking each others. I had to ask for a bottle of wine 3 times. The service was absolutely disappointing. The waiters had extremely bad attitude, they were yelling each other and they generally made fuss annoying us. In addition they could hardly notice us when we wanted something, no one cared of us. No asking for any feedback! We spent £59 (2 people included a bottle of house white wine) but the price is not comparable to the food and service-too much money-. The whole experience was terrible. Probably my expectations were too high for this place. Some reviews have misled me choosing this place. I would never go again to this place for any reason.

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We came across this restaurant and thought it would be nice to have a meal. It was busy so we hoped that was a good indication that it was popular. We were also delighted that so many people seemed to be finishing up their meals so we would be served quite quickly.
It was over an hour between entering and ordering the food to receiving it.

The food was stodgy and in my case the worst chicken Pad thai I have ever tasted in my life. It was more like a chicken soup. It was inedible! Probably the chef was no Thai. One waiter took it away without asking what was wrong with my dish.

Staff were unpleasant, unattentive and quite rude. I asked for dessert but it never arrived. The manager walked around the restaurant playing with his phone ignoring the customers

We certainly will never visit again


I was in Peppertree last Saturday (04.03.2017). My friend took me there for dinner. It was at 7pm, after waiting fifteen minutes,  we sat down close to window. There was no menu on table and the lady at door did not give to us anything. After 10 minutes looking outside the window, a teenage boy with greasy hair and a mark on the forehead finally arrived to take my order, unfortunately I had no idea what the restaurant would have offered  me. I asked politely for the menu, a waiter with a nasty-looking gave it to us. He did not give us enough time to look at the menu, he stood still in silence waiting for the order. We felt under pressure so I ordered quickly:2 ginger martini, Prawns Pad and Green curry chicken with egg rice.

The food arrived before the drinks. The egg fried rice was cold and is incredibly chewy. I asked the change it with any edible rice, our waiter took it away and never came back. Finished to eat I had to ask several time for a dessert menu. I ordered the sticky rice with mango sorbet. The most tasteless dessert I have ever had in my whole life.

The Pad Thai was good but overpriced. Curry was delicious but small portion.

Service or customer service I have to say nonexistent, no smiles. no one cared about my food.I don't think I will come back


This is a lovely place to go before the cinema. Also they have a deal with Picture house just in corner.


The best Thai in Clapham. Friendly staff, lovely atmosphere, good food. I will recommend it


It's an amazing place!!. People, food, atmosphere... You get all you need, just ask and within few minutes there will be plenty of love, drinks and food you wished for :) Strongly Recommended


I really enjoyed the food last night. The atmosphere was fantastic. Staff friendly. Service excellent.


I really do enjoy this place on a good day! In the past I've noticed it's pretty hit or miss with the quality of food, but I'm always up for the gamble!


I fell in love for this place.  The staff is  attentive and friendly. They gave me a warm welcome. I wish that all the places in Clapham were as kind as Peppertree.


It is a nice place. I love the food and the staff is really friendly. I will recommend it to everyone


Their pad thai is out of this world. It's so cheap but SO GOOD. The staff are incredibly helpful and friendly too.


Great little restaurant, friendly staff, modern interiors, fantastic and genuine canteen style Thai food. No where else like it south of the river!


Would highly recommend the Pad Thai and green curry. Wonderful infusion of flavours. The staff was really efficient. 


One of the busier restaurants in the area as the food seems to be better and more to choose from on the menu.

Staff really friendly. Good atmosphere


I went to Peppertree with some friends last night. We really enjoyed the food.The staff was attentive and friendly.The head waiter with glasses gave us the best customer service I have ever had. 


I was surprised by some of the negative reviews I've seen as I've always has great,  aromatic and tasty food from The Pepper Tree.  I've also only had friendly service, though have always visited on a Sunday evening, so maybe its a little quieter then.  My Beef Panaeng was beautiful and my friend swears by the Chicken Laksa.  It's not a place for fine dining but it doesn't pretend to be, it's more for catching up with a bunch of friends.  My only complaint is sitting on bences with no back gets uncomfortable.


Awful , please go 3 bus stops further to nearby PHO (Vietnamese kitchen) instead eating in Pepper Tree , we've been there about 6 months ago, the food really below the average ,but at least our portions were ok

Today we order take away from the Pepper Tree , we have spent £32 and we are still hungry. Just redicolous how small was the size of our portions!! Never ever going/ordering from there again


We made a big mistake when we ventured to eat at Peppertree. The waitress welcoming us in was very pleasant, but a big arrogant lady - presumably the head waitress - shouted at her to seat us in a different place. We were pushed into a tiny space in the window. Very uncomfortable, and very difficult for the waiter to serve us there.

The food was so disappointing. Sloppy, greasy, thick, oily sauces drowned everything. This was NOT contemporary Thai cuisine. My husband tried to eat some as he was hungry, but I just couldn't stomach it. We returned most of the food. 


Incredibly disappointing food. I am very disappointed with the quality of the food delivered from the Pepper Tree. The stir fry pork is awful. The egg fried rice arrived cold and in clumps and is incredibly chewy. The spring rolls are okay but the sweet and sour sauce which came with it was more like a dressing than a sauce and tasted far too much like vinegar. We also ordered green curry, which is terribly boring. I called the restaurant explaining the situation but they cut me off with no apologies. I am very polite for not going to the restaurant and give the food in the Manager's face.Great customer service! Overall the food from the Pepper Tree was very disappointing and I will not be ordering there ever again by Deliveroo


Came for a late night dinner, absolutely dreadful. Food was poor, service even worse and the restaurant had the most terrible ambience with music being pumped out full blast at almost eleven in the evening when we simply wanted a quiet meal. Won't return


Highly unimpressive food. Rude waiter was backed by even ruder manager. It's some creepy laundering business and service is the last thing on their mind. Pad was okay. Steer clear of beancake dessert, they give you a ridiculous portion! The atmosphere was dull. The waiting staff don 't care of you. Is it still the Peppertree or they changed the ownership?


I am not a very picky person, but customer service must be improved!!!

We were walking around Clapham looking for a nice place to eat and stumbled upon in Peppertree, I wish we hadn't! As soon as I walked in the door I felt as I was intruding and when we asked if we could get a table for 5 we were given an ugly smirk from the young lady at the door. We eventually got to our table, ordered our meals......then waited........and waited........Service or customer service I have to say non existent...no smiles...or any care. Pad thai was good, the red curry was pink ans tasteless ( it should be red and spicy).Our head waitress ignored us all night, the waiter looked as if he came back from a rave and still in hangover: really a good team. I don't think I will come back

I am totally shocked, angered and upset after spending a dinner in this place.

It was a decent restaurant in Clapham for dinner. Something is changed, probably the owner.
Avoid this restaurant (If it deserves this term!?!) like the plague, The food is poor, the service dyer, the health and safety knowledge shocking and the customer service non existent. I think I could have got a better meal in a old peoples home.
What a shame! it used to be a nice and friendly place. Our waitress, presumably the Head waitress, she ignored us all the time as was busy smoking and talking over phone outside of the restaurant. No no no!


If you are looking for a secluded meal for 2 then this isn't the place for you, they tend to pack as many people as possible on to their benches. It is always busy - most likely because the food is tasty, reasonably priced and handily right next to Clapham Common station. 


Used to be amazing until was taken over by Italian bosses who own ECO (or Esca) on Clapham High Street. It is quite average food now. Not very authentic.l took my asian friend for a meal, being super excited by great flavors in Pepper Tree and we both left disappointed. It is a place to go if you don't know Thai food too well. 



This place serves tasty, fresh Thai food at an affordable price. And given that it's right next to Clapham Common tube station, what more could you really ask for? As per the comments below, the charcoal grilled meat is amazing!


Had and amazing charcoal grilled duck. The food was cooked to perfection. The staff is very friendly and the prices very affordable. Will definitely come back and recommend.


Great food and also do a great deal for dinner and a movie at the picturehouse just across the street.


The Staff: Fantastic, Very Welcoming, always Happy, GREAT Service and always look to go the extra mile even when you have not requested anything special.

The Food: My favourite cuisine is Chinese & Indian but this place has made me like Thai Food a whole lot more! The portions are very good and the taste is lovely.

The Ambience: The atmosphere is very nice and cosy in the simple but effective layout.

The Location: Very Close to Clapham Common Tube Station


The best restaurant in Clapham with its delicious Thai food and smiley atmosphere ! x


Deliscious traditional Thai hot curries and stir/fried dishes, one of the busiest restaurants in Clapham. Worth trying their amazing Ginger Martinis (they do happy hour). Check the Picturehouse cinema deal as well. Favourite place!


Good Thai food with good value prices. Fast and friendly service. Love chicken Lukas side of swimming pool. Comfort food that I love.


Best food in Clapham. Great busy atmosphere and staff that are always willing to help.


Great thai food, and great for the area as they have a special deal with the cinema too. Some gluten free options and even a few vegan items, though they are not advertised. Delicious and filling food, nice and spicey, and a great atmosphere!


Both my sister and I visited last Sunday for lunch. we were met with amazingly friendly staff and some of the best Pad Thai we've ever had! Cant recommend this place enough.


The service and food were second to none. It was nice to have a table by the kitchen and watch all team working together. I had Chicken Pad Thai and Dim Sum, whereas my partner got papaya salad and Tempura, everything was delicious.The atmosphere was relaxing and the head waiter was nice and very attentive. We will be back soon.



Visited with friends following countless recommendations. Excellent range of traditional Thai food all at very reasonable prices. On a par, and certainly more hygienic than the food I had in Thailand! Planning on returning again soon. The best Thai food I have had in London by far.


Great little venue, near the Clapham common tube; relaxed shared table atmosphere, speedy service and fresh food. Very nice authentic food and a good menu selection.

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