Clapham Junction refers to the area around the Clapham Junction railway station in the neighborhood of Battersea. This area is one of the trendiest up and coming neighborhoods in London and is home to a multicultural mix of college students, young professionals and middleclass families. It’s just a quick ten minute tube ride away from central London and its eclectic mix of gourmet restaurants, gastropubs, fusion cuisines and ethnic fare makes it the perfect choice if you’re looking for a fun night out and some great food. There are a lot of restaurants to choose from in Clapham Junction, but we came up with this list of our top five favorites based on popularity, affordability and, of course, taste.
1. The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club might be a chain restaurant, but you certainly wouldn’t know that from eating there. Featuring American style breakfast fare, the Breakfast Club bases most of its meals on those great American standards, the waffle and the pancake. Pick from a mouth-watering selection of quintessential American breakfasts like stacks of fluffy buttermilk pancakes or savory huevos rancheros. Breakfast is served all day and if you prefer, they have a delicious classic English breakfast, called the Cabbie’s breakfast. They even have vegan and vegetarian options like the Butternut Bubble or the Avocado on Rye which you can also get with crispy bacon, eggs or thinly sliced smoked salmon. They also serve lunch and dinner, with many dishes featuring their signature savory waffles. You can also get classics like a Philly cheese steak sandwich or a Reuben if your tastes run more to the traditional. A favorite with locals, The Breakfast Club is also a hotspot for Americans living in London.
2. The Banana Tree
Just a stone’s throw from the Clapham Junction station, on Battersea Rise, sits a small, unpretentious little restaurant called the Banana Tree. Its simple Southeast Asian décor, featuring long wooden tables and benches and bamboo place settings, belies the immense complexity of this restaurant’s menu. The Banana Tree prides itself on serving delicious, fresh, authentic food from the regional cuisines of Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Popular with students, families and especially the local office crowd, the Banana tree is the perfect place to go if you want that quintessential spicy, savory Southeast Asian flavor, but you’re not quite sure what exactly you want. Their menu features an enticing list of exotic dishes like rendang curry, bun bo salad bowls and Malaysian prawn kari. Most of their dishes can be tailored for vegetarians, but they do also have a separate vegetarian and vegan menu on hand.
3. The Goat
If you’re looking for traditional gastropub fare, cooked to exquisite perfection, then The Goat is the place to go. Situated just minutes from Clapham Common, the Goat has a vibrant, hipster edge to it which is reflected both in its décor and in the absolutely scrumptious food that comes out of its kitchen. The menu is a satisfying mix of modern gastropub fare and traditional comfort foods. If you’re looking for something with a newer twist to it, try their chicken pie, made with loads of juicy, tender chicken, portabella mushrooms, leeks and pancetta. Or you could stick with the tried and true like their down home sausage and mash or the ale-battered fish and chips, all washed down with one of their many craft ales and microbrews, all available on tap. The Goat also has a buffet menu to complement their à la carte offerings, with plenty of options available for vegans and vegetarians.
4. Franco Manca
Everyone loves a good, authentic Neapolitan pizza made with fresh, organic ingredients and baked at the perfect temperature in a classic wood fired pizza oven. Normally, you’d have to pay gourmet prices for that style of pizza, but with Franco Manca you don’t have to. Even though it’s a chain restaurant with multiple locations across the U.K., Franco Manca still has some of the best rustic Italian pizza around. Located on Northcote Street, not far from the Common, Franco Manca is always buzzing with activity and is a favorite of students, locals and tourists alike. The menu has a limited amount of pizzas with set toppings, but there’s something for everyone. For the traditionalists, there’s the classic tomato and basil with melty mounds of fresh mozzarella, while for the more adventurous there are a wealth of choices like the signature special, topped with sausage, sweet green peppers and organic mozzarella. All pizzas are available with a gluten-free crust and the staff is always happy to alter their toppings to suit any dietary restrictions or allergies.
The last restaurant on our list, Bill’s, is also a chain restaurant serving European cuisine with a modern twist. Charming and inviting, Bill’s Restaurant is the perfect place to go if you just want a simple, familiar meal that tastes like home. Although they’re open throughout the day, Bill’s works off separate menus for each of its meal services. Breakfast offerings include generous plates of fluffy pancakes, stacked with crisp strips of bacon and a full English that’s literally served on a platter and comes complete with fried eggs, tomatoes, bacon, sausage, black pudding and beans – who could ask for more? Lunch and dinner options include traditional fare like fish pie and steak as well as more modern dishes like a halloumi burger and an ancient grains salad bowl. If you are going to go to Bill’s though, try to time your visit for afternoon tea so that you can try Bill’s famous cream tea and get your fill of fresh, warm scones, luscious clotted cream and crisp, sweet strawberries.