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Restaurants, British Clapham
5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(35user reviews)
Rookery, clapham

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Does she love a good Bear Hug ale? And can he not get enough of English bubbly from Kent? Please everyone in your group with the equally thoughtful beer and wine lists at this welcoming, well-heeled, up-tempo bar. Tables are likely to be booked up by diners (especially the cosy alcove spots), but there are plenty of seats for drop-ins at the unfussy wooden bar – plus a heated front porch with a view of the south side of the Common (albeit across a multi-lane road).

The bar-dining room has a warm atmosphere set by the benevolent presence of a smartly dressed manager, who flits about and chats with guests. Slightly tucked away from the hullabaloo that is Clapham at the weekend, this is a place to get merry with your well-behaved friends. And you can bring the dog.

By: Ananda Pellerin



Address: 69 Clapham Common Southside
Transport: Tube: Clapham Common or Clapham South
Price: Main courses £12-£16. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £60
Opening hours: Bar Open 5.30-11pm Mon-Thur; 12.30-midnight Fri, Sat; 12.30-11pm Sun. Restaurant Lunch served noon-4pm Fri, Sat. Dinner served 6.30-10pm Mon-Sat. Meals served 12.30-8pm Sun
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Users say (35)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:22
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:5
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As spring is round the corner, there is nothing better than spending a sunny Sunday strolling along Clapham Common. And what better way to finish a walk with a well earned roast? With its prime location on the edge of the common, it's cosy, welcoming atmosphere and it's delicious Sunday menu, The Rookery is perfect for your weekend fix of meat.

With a roaring fire, dogs scampering about and friendly staff, The Rookery has a chilled, warm atmosphere. The roast selection is conventional but the meat is cooked to perfection you almost feel like your Mum could be in the kitchen. The beef was pink and juicy, the roasties were salty and crispy and the veg was fresh and tasty. The Yorkshire pudding was light, fluffy and moreish; high praise from a Yorkshire lass. If you don't fancy the roast, the burger is a triumph which little pops of picked onions in between the greasy chips. The mac n cheese also looked suitably creamy and indulgent. To top it all off, the sticky toffee pudding is rich and hearty, with a silky sauce and gooey sponge.

The staff are friendly and relaxed, and this can sometimes slow up service. We popped up to the bar to get some more drinks but were told to sit back down as it was table service, but then were neglected for a while. However, this was a minor glitch in what was the perfect Sunday afternoon. I'll be going back to try the pork, lamb and chicken pretty soon.

Dogs are welcome and so are humans!  There is a great atmosphere where the locals are super friendly.  The wine and food are also fab! 

The food, the wine, the staff, the manager, the ambience; all 5 stars across the board. I was blown away by the quality at the Rookery. Thank you!

I had lunch at the rookery yesterday and had a really great meal. Chicken wings followed by the most delicious lamb. The wings were the right side of spicy and the lamb was served pink with a very delicate anchovy flavour. A really exceptional lunch served by knowledgable staff and in a really relaxing environment. I'll definitely go to The Rookery again next time I'm south of the river.

Fantastic. I can't recommend highly enough. Service was just the right balance of attentive and friendly - consistent across all of the staff. The food was superb - fresh, well presented and delicious. The fries come very highly recommended! The atmosphere was also great. Even with plenty of customers, the tables are arranged in such a way that there is plenty of space between each and it doesn't feel crowded, nor do you have to push past people to get to the bar. Will definitely be back.

As the owner of The Rookery I'd like to respond to Charlotte P's review below. Apologies that I have had to award stars, the site wouldn't let me leave a response / review without doing so. We are a small business and have been operating for less than two years. As you can imagine, building a business in hospitality is not easy, especially in the current climate, so we listen closely to customer feedback. The vast amount of that feedback is very positive, and any quick trawl of the web will reveal that we have been roundly praised for both food and service by critics and customers alike. However, we all know that things can go wrong, and of course, we are not perfect. When things do go awry, we apologise fully and do all we can to put things right. On this occasion it is of huge regret that the evening ended it way it did. However, I feel strongly that the restaurant and the team do not deserve this kind of treatment. Having spoken to all of the highly-trusted members of the team involved, I'm afraid they find it hard to recognise much of your perspective on how the night unfolded. I'd therefore like to respond to some of your points: The lamb, as stated on the menu, was served with salsa verde, a integral component of which is anchovy. Whilst I fully understand that may not be widely known, it was explained to you when you returned the lamb. The lamb was a new dish that had gone on just two nights before, so on previous evenings, I had taken even more care in soliciting feedback, which was very positive indeed. Tellingly, other diners at nearby tables who witnessed the event, later asked our staff to please convey to the chef that they thought the lamb fantastic. Nonetheless, as always, we were more than happy to replace the dish, as we obviously want our guests to enjoy their meal. It is not possible to cook, rest, and serve a steak within a very short space of time, but we were trying our best. It is emphatically not the case, as you suggest, that the chef was not prepared to send it as an alternative. When you asked for a salad, we must apologise as it seems a misunderstanding did occur, and the waitress thought you wished to cancel the steak, in order to get some food as quickly as possible. Rather than simply serve a plain salad and without time to create a new dish during a busy service, our head chef served some of our popular Coronation chicken with toasted coconut with it in an effort to make the dish more substantial in a timely manner, as speed was obviously of the essence. Apologies that you weren't consulted on the chicken, but the gesture was meant in all good will. I'm afraid our chef, and the staff standing nearby have quite a different recollection of the exchange that took place when you entered the kitchen to personally return your food. All of the staff concerned vigorously deny many of the words you have attempted to place in their mouths, be that by supposedly quoting them or drawing inferences from the way they supposedly looked. I fully accept that mistakes were made, mainly concerning communication, and it is a failure for us that the situation was able to develop the way it did. Customers are, of course, our life-blood, and it is in our DNA to do anything we can to ensure that everyone leaves very happy indeed. Sadly, I'm just not sure that would have been possible on this occasion, no matter what we'd done.

We had a horrible time at The Rookery on Clapham Common last night. I ordered the lamb which, when it arrived, tasted and smelt of fish. I said that I didn’t like it and asked the waitress to replace it with the steak dish my husband had just started. The waitress came back conveying the chef’s message that the lamb was ‘deliberately’ flavoured with anchovy so did I want it back now I knew this? No, I would still prefer the steak thanks. No food came during the entire time my husband and our 2 friends were eating their dinner. I asked the waitress to at least bring me a salad quickly just so that I could have something to eat before they finished. As they all completed their dinners she arrived with a chicken dish. We asked what had happened to the steak and she said the chef had been too upset at me sending his lamb back and too busy with other tables to make me one! When I told her I never eat chicken she nearly cried in terror at the thought of having to take another dish back to the chef, so I said I would do it myself. When I went to the kitchen hatch open to the restaurant, the chef in question told me loudly and clearly before all his kitchen staff, several of the surrounding waiting staff and other diners, that I was “Ignorant” for not liking the lamb flavoured with anchovy. Now, while I may not be a trained chef, I have eaten at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, Chez Bruce and The Ivy amongst many other top restaurants so know the difference between good and bad dishes and I believe the purpose of using anchovy with lamb is to bring out the flavour of the lamb itself and not make the lamb taste and smell of fish! Unfortunately I was too taken aback by his insult at the time to tell the chef this, and just asked what had happened with the steak. He said he was too busy with other tables to make me one and then had been told to just get me something quickly so had sent the chicken. When I told him I didn’t eat chicken he aggressively pushed the chicken dish aside and stated “Well you wont be getting any more food here tonight!”. When I asked the nearby front of house man why he was letting the chef treat me like this, he merely said defensively and rudely, “Well there was nothing actually wrong with the lamb, you just didn’t like it.” Unfortunately the manager was off last night as he may well have been able to prevent such awful behaviour by his chef and certain other staff, which was so unbelievably bad it was quite possibly being filmed for an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares!

We decided to give The Rookery another go after having a dissapointing meal about a year ago. The restaurant itself is lovely, quite quirky with amazing views of the common. Unfortunately that's where it ends. We ordered a Charcuterie board and a rare beef salad for starters. It was clear that nothing on the board was homemade and the salad was a Sunday roast left over - and rather chewy at that. For our mains we had ordered pork belly with slaw and sweet potato. It was covered in BBQ sauce and completely lacked any balance or technical cooking skill. My boyfriend had the guest burger and only ate a couple of bites as it was overcooked (he ordered it rare). We were not asked until we actually paid the bill how the meal was, it was all a bit full overpriced student food in a really bland environment. £75 for a Monday night. Not impressed.

With regards to my review below - I did not put 5 stars as the rating and meant too...loved this place, and will be having all my parties here in the future if they will have us back! Thanks again for an amazing was top class.

Finally got back to the Rookery, enjoyed a nice table and a absolutely delicious food. Maybe as good as one these nice little Parisian fooddy bistrot we so miss here. Partridge pie, pork shoulder, hake (one of my favourite fish): the proof that Brits can enjoy food as much as Frogs! Definitely have a go

Food was quite good, but quite small portions and the service was poor. They had no bitters on tap at all, just a couple of largers! There was 7 of us who went for Sunday lunch and I between meals we had to keep going to the bar to ask for more drinks and ask someone to clear the plates as it was a good 20 mins before anybody came to the table each time. When we got dessert, the crumble contained nuts which was never acknowledged on the menu. When we sent the one dessert back the owner was rather short and snappy with us and claimed that although it was not pointed out on the menu, "crumble always has nuts in it". (Erm, not sure that's totally true, I thought) but anyway, after we complained about his manner he later apologised and offered an alternative dessert on the house. Good food but poor selection of beer, bad service, doubt we would ever return.

I really like this place. It has a very cool feel - good music and relaxed atmosphere. The food is really good too, definitely some of the best that I have had for the price. And I am with the review below on the service - friendly and attentive. Definitely worth giving a go if you've not been.

This place never disappoints. The food is lovely and is also reasonably priced. I am suprised to see the comments below re service as every time that I have been have found the staff to be friendly and attentive. It's a good option for just a drink too with a good wine list and range of cocktails. It's also lovely when the sun is shining as there is outside space at the front with great views over the common.

I went there two weeks ago. It took 40mins for someone to bring us a menu. Another table of three men complained about the quality of the wine at which point the owners basically went nuts. He was arrogant and rude to them and threw them out....even though they wanted to pay for the food and drink they had had so far. Not sure when all the 'good reviewers' went, but I will never return.

Absolutely LOVE this restaurant. Sat just off the Common the food is always lovely, staff friendly and beer crisp and refreshing. Easily the best place for a nice meal in Clapha Common. Highly recommend to anyone.

Excellent bar, since it opened I've been many times and always enjoyed myself. The drinks are excellent, especially the cocktails and exceptionally well priced. And the one time we had a main meal it was delicious and again, very well priced. Also, gotta give credit to the music selections. Previously heard Beach House, Portico Quartet and great soul tunes, really adds to the location. A few months ago there was the problem of loads of tables being reserved for drinkers, which threatened to spoil the fun and turn it into somewhere you wouldn't want to risk for fear of nowhere to sit, but it looks like they've turned away from doing that. Great looking place, friendly staff, definitely somewhere to try out (but please don't all go, I want to make sure I've got somewhere to sit!)

My girlfriend and I went here on Saturday night and after reading some of the more recent reviews decided to give it a go anyway. So pleased we did, the menu was brilliant, for a hot day, it was fresh and light whilst still be wholesome! I could not fault a thing and the price was very reasonable. We will definitely be going again.

Bad surprise when we arrived 8 of us @ The Rookery last Friday. The booking, made 2 months in advance, has been made for the following day! Their mistake... How to meet kind and concerned people. The manager (or whoever he was) really tried to find us a table despite a 20 people party (which extended to 25 in last minute, not good for our issue...) He was very concerned and trying hard to find a solution. We finally has a good diner in the outside, a lot too late and a lot chilly. But they offered the meal! And 2 days after, I received a long and concerned email to explain me how the thing happened. I can only recommend this very nice restaurant despite my unlucky experience. The Rookery @ Clapham South

Been a few times now, food has been faultless on each occasion. Menu is always different, though there is a similar feel to it. Great ingredients, there's always something exciting or unusual on there in addition to some great classical cooking. Service always attentive and well humoured, and if the sun is setting outside across the common, the views can be terrific. And the puddings are sensational.

Must admit I was a little Worried when my wife said she had booked this after I had read the reviews below. But too be honest I am fairly easy going and good quality food means more to me than service so thought we should give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised by three things, the food was really reasonable ( two courses each and a brilliant bottle of wine for two for 55 quid), the staff were attentive and the atmosphere was cosy and laid back but not pushy and the quality of food was brilliant, I thought for the price it might be a bit rubbish but was very impressed. I think the other people might have been unlucky or just have had such a good first time that the next let them down? Anyway I wouldn't dream in a million years of not recommending this bar, go to the weather spoons in balham, then you will see a sh@t pub!

To start with the usual disclaimers - I do not work at the Rookery, nor do I own it. I do not think either that I have ever written an on-line review, good or bad for a restaurant/bar, yet I spend a far greater amount of time and money in them than I should. I am moved to write this by just checking in on how the place has been reviewed since it opened last year and noting the couple of poor accounts amongst the otherwise very positive. I would say that over their first 6 months I have visited the Rookery at least a dozen times (and it is probably a lot more). I am huge fan of the place. Whilst I don’t doubt that during the course of these months there have been people that have been disappointed, I think these experiences must be almost infinitesimal in comparison to those who have been enthusiastic. Certainly those who I have recommended go back time and again. I have posted a 5 star review for the Rookery for what it is trying to be as much as for what it is. Exceptional food, good beer, excellent very reasonable wine in a friendly relaxed atmosphere, is hardly a new idea but it is one that very few places achieve to the extent the Rookery does. If it falls short of 5 stars on any occasion (as it inevitably will) I know, because I have become friendly with the owner and staff, that it will never be through any indifference of the management. This is a cracking place and a very refreshing break from the norm.

I've eaten at the Rookery on six or seven occasions since it's been open and it's always been brilliant. I've been in just for drinks and also with friends to eat and the owner's a very nice chap and really knows his onions when it comes to food and wine. The food's been top quality and the wine and service have also been great. I think some of the other commentators must have been really unlucky on the night's when they've gone as I've always found the service to be pretty quick and the waiting staff very decent and knowledgeable about their recomendations for wines and beers. Give it a go, it's defiitely worth a punt.

I have been to The Rookery several times and eaten there on a number of occasions. Off the back of mine and my husbands rave reviews of the food my friend recently booked it on a Tuesday night for her birthday. Though the food lived up to the standards we expected, the service really was very disappointing. We were one of the only large groups in there on what was a very quite Tuesday night and yet still the service was very slow. Our waiter was more like a petulant teenager than an enthusiastic owner of a popular new bar/restuarant. Getting the staffs attention was a struggle particularly when we required more drinks, when they wouldn't even wait for the rest of the table to give their drinks orders! When we first visited the Rookery the thing we liked most was the enthusiasm of the staff to tell you about the produce and beers etc. Bring that back and continue the high standard of food and this really would be a superb place to visit.

High expectations, low results. Service was the shambles. They couldn't tell if we were coming or going. Changed tables to sit in the sun (literally moving no more than four feet), and was told by a waitress they thought we had left so had cancelled the food order. Actually saw and heard a least two couples come and go without food as they decided it would be easier to eat down the road. Honestly should have refunded what was paid and followed suit. Waited it out and the roast was average, if not disappointing. There was a piece of pork that was nothing but gristle. No apologies for bad cut of meat or cancelling the order. First time I have gone out of my way to not recommend a pub in London. This venue was better when it was Firefly. Better options for eating and drinking are a stones throw away.

food was great, service pleasant and good beer and the winner that it is100 metres from my house unlike the windmill which is none of the above.... Well except from beign 100 metres from my house!! Summer will be brilliant with the garden and hopefully none of the ' gangstas' from the windmill!!

Terrible experience: Stuck in a dingy, drafty (several guests kept their coats on) room at the top. Took about an hour to even order the food. Then it turned out that they'd run our of half of our orders. Offered some "free" olives for the ridiculous wait (which they then realised they'd actually run out of and charged us for on the bill). When the food eventually arrived it was ok- but nothing special. Took another hour to then get the main course-which was also ok but just not really good enough to lift the mood. All in all, just a disappointing experience. Made me feel sorry for the waiting staff as they had to cope with such terrible staff management.

My star rating would have been 5 based on my first visit, which was exceptional. Quality wine in carafes (ideal as I drink red and the girlfriend white), great selection of beers , fantastic interior (not sure what the reviewer below was suggesting as "naff" - clearly does not understand New York style) and staff exceptional. Generous portions and great quality. However, based on that visit I went a second time and classic - I invited friends - and wouldn't you just know it would be diffrerent. Don't get me wrong the night was great and the atmosphere buzzing. However, besides the initial pint of Meantime Lager the rest was seriously downhill. It seems clear to me that this place has grown in popularity and the quality must be maintained with that growth. Whoever orders food needs to be shot for starters. And before you say it I fully appreciate that fresh produce runs out but this is much more than that. We sat down at 8pm and there where no starters avialable at all! So we all had to go with Humous and bread. Now the Humous was fantastic but it is not what you want to start with when there are other great options. The main course was also a huge, huge dissapointment - probably the worst Pork Belly I have ever had in both lack of taste and size. It was literally like eating 2 pieces of Asda budget streaky bacon on top of a tasteless barley mix. No consistency in the meat and no quality with no taste. My fellow diners mains where no better. We then opted for cheese, which was decent but the crumble at desert was clearly frozen and re heated as it had water residue in the bottomof the bowl. The cream was simply tasteless. I really wanted to love it here and I did on first try but unless the ordering of food is better (they ran out of all the starters, all the lamb for the main and all the Moules M as a main by 8pm on a Saturday evening!) and the quality is maintained you will loose people who want to remain. The staff and owner are simply fantastic and I would definitely try this place out as I am sure it will get it right but if nothing else I hope this is a push to get things better! I will unfortunately not return after spending £450 between 6 (we did have great wine) as I simply expect if you charge this price you better make the food right.

I've been there twice now and I have to admit I found it to be quite the NY inspired local neighbourhood joint, that Mr Dimond suggests. Where we differ is that I don't see this as something to sneer about. In my opinion the guys behind The Rookery have set out to be a stylish, laid back venue for Clapham hipsters and have achieved it with considerable heart and style. Coupled with genuine care and attention to both the food and drink I personally think they shoudl be applauded. My only criticism is that they don't do breakfast.

Just done Sunday lunch and don't normally add stuff to these websites but had a great experience so felt I should. Decor is new and not inherited... Glamour gal must have missed it as a claphamite I went 2 months ago and was naff and boring. Infact exactly the same as the first time I went in 2002! The food was ace but more than that, I have never been anywhere so designed for me! Forget Stella, teachers. They had black velvet for 5.50! Laguvlin (bad spelling), London lager ( meantime) and Havana 7...., an open fire, light airy space and pleasant staff. Bring it on! I see lots of Sunday's here enjoying the winter in a good atmosphere.

We needed somewhere like this in the area. Well done to Mark, he's the owner apparently - had a brief chat with him on my first visit last week (opposite of brusque); very open, seemingly clued-up and I thought motivated to do this best he can in his first venture - this shows well in The Rookery.

Very., very cool vibe to this place.. topped off with the excellent range of meantime beers and reasonably priced but unreasonably delicious food. I think I'll be coming here a lot more in future. The prospect of a sunday lunch is one I look forward to with relish. Only negative is the somewhat expensive spirits, but the beers and winelist more than make up for that.

Soon as I walked in I thought I was in a trendy New York bar!! Fantastic beers on tap and a great selection of reasonable wines. FOH are calm and friendly and help the buzzing atmosphere. The food was superb I started with the bath chaps which were slightly crisp with great flavour and my partner had the salmon which was delicate and presented lovely. For mains I had the crispy lamb shoulder which just melted in my mouth with a lamb and mint sauce to die for and my partner had the duck with the punchy salsa verde which was fantastic with the broth. We shared a rice pudding which was something else, hints of orange and cinnamon and a dark caramelisation on top served warm with a apple puree under the topping which was chilled and gave a fantastic hot and cold sensation. Couldn't recommend this place anymore. Will defo be going back soon!!

They've inherited the decor from the former bar and they're in an odd location, bang between Clapham Common and Clapham South and opposite the hugely popular Windmill Pub. But they make up for the location and slightly naff interior with charming staff and really good food. The Bath Chaps were beyond compare and the Mallard (though it could have done with 5 more minutes resting) was a delicous and a great change from the ubiquitous duck breast. Prices were fair, wine list not hugely imaginative but not greedy - a great local place, I hope they make it work for them.

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