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of the best restaurants we’ve been to recently have been neighbourhood joints, those independent eateries at the heart of a community, serving up creative, inventive meals. One such place is The Rookery in Clapham, a small kitchen and grill on the outskirts of the Common. Here, they pride themselves on creating simple, seasonal dishes with personality, and providing interesting beers and wines from small and independent suppliers.

Our meal kicked off with a fairly light starter, a board of three types of cured meats, Montgomery Cheddar, tiny pickled cornichons and fresh bread. Perfect for sharing, it’s a classic well executed. We also sampled the arancini, five mini balls of deep fried risotto with pea, mint and Parmesan and a fantastic garlic dip.

The main course was a difficult choice – In the end, we opted for the giant house cheeseburger with coleslaw and a huge mound of fries, and the slow roasted pork belly with slaw and sweet potato mash. The burger was enormous, the bun barely able to contain the huge pile of toppings within it. The meat was pink in the middle, just on the rare side of medium, topped with tangy cheese, juicy tomato and sweet red onion relish. The fries were crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, a portion too big for one person really, but they were just too good to leave.

The pork belly was a monster too, a giant slab of meat topped with crispy crackling and smothered in sweet barbecue glaze. Our only grumble was that the overabundance of barbecue sauce meant that we couldn’t quite taste the mash or slaw, which was served beneath the pork. Rounding off the meal, we had just about enough room to share a dessert between us. We went for the white chocolate and rocky road mousse, topped with blueberries, a pretty sweet end to an ACE meal. The Rookery is a great neighbourhood restaurant, with a creative menu stuffed with tempting sounding treats. We can’t wait to go back and sample some more!

69 Clapham Common South Side, SW4 9DA