Clapham high street is awash with trendy bars and stylish restaurants including cocktail lovers favourite: The Loft.
True to it`s name the restaurant occupies the top floor of a fairly un-remarkable building. However once inside you`ll be pleasantly surprised by some New York urban design, it could described as a sophisticated bachelors pad, all stainless steel, brick walls and dark muted tones- shabby chic this is not.
At the beginning of the week the atmosphere is fairly chilled with local 20-30 something`s enjoying a bite to eat or catching up over a couple of drinks. Towards the weekend the scene really picks up with an in house DJ pumping out some mean beats and the cocktails flowing freely. I visited the restaurant on a Tuesday evening and was really impressed by the whole experience. The dining area sits on one side of the bar which itself runs the length of the room and the windows with their great view of the high street. The relaxed lay out makes it a great date venue and probably explains why diners were largely comprised of young couples.
Getting into the Manhattan mood we started with a couple of cocktails. The menu is extensive but helpfully laid out listing ones to drink before and after a meal. Following their suggestion we chose the `entente cordiale`, a prosecco based long drink mixed with mint and elderflower. Very girly and very fabulous!
The food menu is also impressive. More sophisticated than the usual gastro pub cuisine if offers a mix of hearty regulars and more contemporary dishes. I chose the pan fried squid with chilli to start and followed it with the Halloumi cheese, aubergine and beefsteak tomatoes grilled stack on a sweet corn fritter. I was glad I chose a light option to start, all the portions are very generous here and also very reasonably priced. It`s easy to fill up to really good food without spending a fortune.
My companion opted for a more wintry combination, beginning with a mange tout and tallegio risotto ball salad followed by the pork belly on a bed of potato, celeriac gratin and accompanied by an apple chutney sauce. True to form we tried each other`s food and the over all verdict was `excellent!` – not a parsley leaf was left littering our dishes!
With deserts ranging from a warm chocolate brownie to a 3-cheese platter it would have been a crime not to have at least made a stab at pudding. In the end the waiter persuaded us to dig into a shortbread cheesecake with a caramel base that left me not choice but to put the diet off until after Christmas.
Finally we ended the evening with a glass of fizz and left thanking their brilliant and charming staff with promises of a re-visit. If in Clapham go see the Loft – you`re in for a treat.
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