La Mancha, Putney

Published in Scout London Magazine October 12-21 2012 Issue number 12:

La Mancha, Putney, Scout London

Running for some 20 years in Putney, this locals’ favourite has had a menu overhaul of late. There are now more than 50 tapas dishes on the menu, plus mains, sides and desserts. And if you thought tapas were small plates then think again. Here, the portions are generous enough to share happily – five dishes are recommended for two people. As a strangely large amount of the food is fried, things can get a little greasy, especially when it comes out faster than you can make room for it. But that’s nothing a cold sherry, icy Spanish beer or a frozen daiquiri can’t fix. A drip-feed of Jamon Serrano with pan al ajillo (that’s garlic bread for those of you whose grip on Spanish is less than basic) will keep you chatting for hours over those cool drinks, and you’ll probably feel like a siesta afterwards. Go on, take it easy – there’s always mañana.

The Rookery, Clapham

Published in Scout London Magazine June 19 – 25 2012 Issue number 6:

The Rookery, Clapham in Scout London

With a seriously busy bar and the feel of a converted pub, The Rookery doesn’t immediately seem like somewhere to eat. Packed to the nines until at least 9pm, there’s quite a commotion to contend with in order to get fed, but provided bumping elbows with your neighbours and talking over the hubbub is something you’re comfortable with, there’s some serious cooking to be found on the neatly condensed menu. Cornish smoked mackerel, Dexter beef and Gloucester Old Spot pork paired simply with asparagus, broad beans and fennel shout loudly about being British and seasonal but quietly get on with their job on the plate. A patriotic cheeseboard is about as showy as it gets and having devoured it you’ll be convinced of this modest venue’s potential. In light of this, the fact that by far the biggest menu is the drinks list is slightly disappointing.