The Nightingale

7 Nightingale Ln, Clapham South, London SW12 8NX

Food: 2
Service: n/a (order at the bar)

Price: £20 per person

It happened to be a stressful working day for both of us, so my partner and I decided that we didn’t want to finish the day in front of the TV but rather go out for a meal. Being close to Christmas, finding a table for fine dining, even on week days, resulted in a struggle. For this reason we ended up choosing a pub down the road which we had never given a try.

What can I say, pub food is pub food. Unless you chose a now-very-much-fashionable “gastropub”. (I wonder if anybody ever thinks about the fact that “gastropub” literally means stomach-public house, from the greek “gastro = stomach”. Hence not a realistic association to fine dining, right? but never mind…).

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I guess what I enjoyed about the place was the journey back in time. As soon as we entered, we managed to shun a happy, elderly gentleman who was experiencing the effects of his probable seventh drink. Suddenly though, the noises and lights of the city left the place to a cosy, warm charcoal fire and an overwhelmingly-distinguishable smell of English pub. Suddenly, our neighbouring Londoners were slowing down, adjusting to the after-work pace.

As starters we had a pretty average chicken liver pate’ with apple chutney and a really non-deserving fried squid which was well over-fried and oil-dripping. It got a bit better with the mains: a fair Butternut squash, goat’s cheese & spinach Wellington which provided a bit of relief after the heaviness of the squid; and a good, honest lamb burger.

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Given the chilly weather, we did choose seating close to the fire. But the pub also offers a spacious beer garden which looks promising for a fine spring or summer day. Bottom line is, do not visit the Nightingale for its food, but more so for its atmosphere and Englishness.
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