Harden's survey result
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“You feel the money’s been well-spent” at Adam Byatt’s fine-dining “oasis” in Clapham – “a superb all-rounder”, where staff are “friendly without being overbearing”, the room is “lovely and airy”, the cuisine “consistently brilliant” and where “the Chef’s Cellar wines are particularly well chosen”. In October 2015 it is relaunching after a 3-month closure, with an open kitchen, new outside dining area, and a new ‘casual dining’ option on the first floor called ‘Upstairs’, with small plates and communal tables.
“Outstanding but unassuming”, Adam Byatt’s “superb” Clapham HQ remains “the best in the area by a mile”, thanks to its “seasonal ingredients prepared with great flair”, and “service that makes you feel like a VIP”.
“How lucky are we to have this in our ’hood!”; with its “wonderful” cuisine that’s “perfectly balanced, fresh and delicious at every turn” and its “polished” but “friendly” service, Adam Byatt’s “unassuming” foodie Mecca, in Clapham, goes “from strength to strength”.
Trinity Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Upstairs was quite fun but of the nine dishes we shared, only two were any good. Trying to do too much."
"Comfortably relaxed atmosphere which does not detract from the highest standards. Food was a tad on the rich side, which adds to the flavour and the waistline but we will be going again."
"Visited on a weekday lunch, so I would expect it to be busier now the renovation has taken place. Professional service and the best taste tatin I have tasted to date."
"From the amuse bouche to the salt caramel dessert, the food cries out 'quality'. Even when Adam Byatt isn't there his team produce tastes that never disappoint. A crab ravioli in a crab and ginger whizz is so imaginative a solution to drowning ravioli in brodo. Chicken legs turned into boudins blanc. It's exciting as well as being completely satisfying. There might be some places in South London as good: there are none better."
Adam Byatt is a foodie-world favourite. He first hit the headlines - in a modest way - back in 2002, when his Clapham restaurant Thyme was at the cutting edge of the 'tasting plate' revolution. Then - flushed with success - he moved Thyme to Covent Garden. It failed, however, and he subsequently re-launched on the same site as 'Origin'. Hidden-away on the first floor of a multimedia centre, Origin has still always had difficulty attracting the following its interesting cuisine deserves.
This new outlet takes Mr Byatt back to his 'roots', near Clapham Common (just a couple of hundred yards from the original Thyme). The obvious problem is that Clapham has never proved itself a 'natural' fine-dining destination, and you have to have real innovation or quality on your side to succeed.
Well, on our visit, there was no particular innovation, and nothing about this place was quite good enough. For a start, the setting is below the aspiration level: at £50 a head, you do not want to hear, as we could, a deep-fat fryer bubbling away during your lunch. (Nor to smell it, but that was probably just a ventilation teething problem.) But, in the last analysis, it was the food which let the place down. If customers go to the trouble of seeking out a place like this, they need to be rewarded with intense flavours. We weren't, with none of the half-dozen dishes we sampled really impressed. Even bread, hot from the oven, was a non-event.
Perhaps it was just early days. But we can't help thinking that a visit to Origin, with its handier West End location, would still be a better bet.
4 The Polygon, London, SW4 0JG
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lunch 12.30 pm - 2.30 pm, Sun 3 pm, dinner 6.30 pm - 10.30 pm
Last orders: 10 pm, Sun 9 pm