A landmark London restaurant that continues to champion a more affordable and sustainable style of fine dining
Robin and Sarah Gill’s Clapham restaurant exploded onto the London scene in 2013 and almost instantly became a favourite with chefs on their days off (Jason Atherton and Michel Roux Jnr were fans). It’s not difficult to see why. Back then, fine dining was only just starting to loosen its metaphorical tie and undo its figurative top button.
Robin’s affordable and to-the-point mini tasting menus served in very casual surroundings were a breath of fresh air, as was Sarah’s relaxed and hospitable approach to service. Following the success of their first place, the Dublin-born couple have opened a number of other restaurants, some in Clapham and some further afield.
But their first site remains the standard bearer for this mini group of low-key yet ambitious restaurants, and standards haven’t slipped one bit. Much of the restaurant’s produce is still grown on the roof (an idea that’s been copied by a number of other London establishments).
And the small team continues to cook exciting small plates that burst with freshness. Yours for less than £50, the current tasting menu includes the likes of bone marrow agnolotti and Jerusalem artichoke; Welsh lamb, wet garlic and purple sprouting broccoli; and blood orange sorbet with Campari and oats.
That’s not to say the restaurant hasn’t evolved, for one thing, there are far more vegetarian and vegan options, and The Dairy remains a highly influential London restaurant and has played a big role in democratising fine dining in the capital and beyond.