Ask any Claphamnite, what’s the most desirable area they want to live in and plenty of responses will be for the Old Town in Clapham with its genteel, respectable charm. One of the most popular dining and drinking venues in that part of town is No32 The Old Town. Even when neighbouring restaurants are winding down, they are teeming with satisfied customers ready for another round of drinks. Part of their success is without a doubt their pavement terrace and even more so, their fine looking roof terrace.
There is a distinctly relaxed vibe in the venue which gives the feeling of a welcoming neighbourhood bar and restaurant. The venue deploys a minimalistic looking black and white motif with a welcoming open kitchen. Perhaps part of their success are the attentive model-looking waiters that make sure you have a superb evening.
The menu does have a gastropub influence but with firm nods on making the dishes healthier and using more exotic ingredients. Spicy crab cakes had a gentle heat to give the dish a flavour kick along with sweet chilli crème fraiche. Whilst, I would say it isn’t a regular sighting that you see quinoa and aubergine falafels on a restaurant menu. It was crunchy, tasty and had lemon and pepper tahini to cut through any greasiness in the dish. Both dishes were served in cute miniature frying pans.
I am not one to order a chicken salad for the main course normally, but their version here did draw my attention as it used coconut poached chicken which did make the meat more tender and had rather posh nashi pears and yuzu dressing. Only if other chefs gave their salads this much more thought and attention, there wouldn’t be any struggle in upselling more salads to the masses. It was also a relatively filling dish with a decent amount of watercress and avocado.
Less healthy was my guest’s order of halloumi and courgette burger. The halloumi was grilled to golden brown and the courgettes were mixed in with refreshing doses of mint and cucumber labneh. With a healthy portion of chips and a side order of chilli lemon guacamole salad, this meant we had no room left for desserts. The guacamole oddly had whole pieces of avocado rather than the mashed up variety you would expect.
Booking ahead of your visit is strongly recommended as No32 The Old Town does get very busy on most days.