Review: Brooke Clapham

Review: Brooke Clapham

Fine dining on Abbeville Road…

By Tara Robinson

Newly-opened restaurant and bar Brooke is the product of the mind of Eamonn Manson, the experienced restaurateur behind Brooke House in Fulham and south west London pubs The Brown Cow and The Sands End.

Open from lunch through to late evening, the menu, created by Head Chef Martyn Young, pays homage to traditional English dishes using locally-sourced seasonal ingredients with a modern twist.

I headed there to see what it was all about.

Seated in a cosy spot by the window where we could look out over the elegantly-decorated restaurant, my dining companion and I started off the evening with a round of cocktails. It was recommended to us to try the spicy margaritas, so try them we did. Delicious and serving an excellently spicy kick (with fresh chillis in the drinks), they were the perfect way to prepare the palette for the meal to come.

The food courses began with a round of small plate starters. I opted for the wild mushroom risotto with Brie de Meaux, walnut and roast pear, while my companion chose the evening special of duck spring rolls. When our starters arrived, we were pleased to discover good, large portions. The risotto was absolutely divine – the deep, earthy taste of the wild mushroom mixing perfectly with the sweet tang of the roast pear. The texture was rich and creamy, marked by the occasional crunch of a yummy walnut.

Next came the large plate course. I had ordered the roast cod with porcini mushroom veloute, parmesan gnocchi and hispi cabbage, while my companion opted for the venison loin with crepinette, braised red cabbage, blackberries and bitter chocolate. We also partook in a couple of side plates: creamed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta, and hispi cabbage with miso butter, pickled walnut and black garlic. The miso flavour elevated the hispi cabbage into the best I’d ever tasted, and my roast cod was perfectly crispy on the outside, and wondrously soft and succulent within. Buttery and melt-in-your-mouth is the only way to describe the parmesan gnocchi. Altogether the entire meal was out-of-his-world. Every flavour seemed woven into a top-notch tapestry of taste – courtesy of a truly expertly-created menu.

We were full, satiated and happy after our feast fit for kings, but still managed to find that mythical second stomach for dessert. We shared a white chocolate crème brûlée, with a delightfully crystallised top layer and sweet, full-bodied crème. A perfect way to end the evening.

Brooke is a great addition to the ever-growing repertoire of Abbeville Road. With its own unique, creative twists on the classics of British dining, it’s definitely one to keep an eye out for.