The Stonhouse in Clapham has for a long time been one of my favourite go-to Casual Dining Restaurants. Nestled away from the joggers and drinkers of Clapham High Street down one of the side roads can be found this diamond of a pub. Technically it is a pub based on the exterior and the layout however they are heavily food led with the majority of the interior taken up by tables laid out for diners. If you are just looking for a drink though there is still plenty of space to just sit and chill both inside, or out in their sizeable beer garden.
The atmosphere in The Stonhouse hits the nail on the head for casual dining – having the tables laid with wine glasses before being seated means that you feel like you are our for more than just a pub dinner whilst retaining that casual charm that goes with it. A carafe of water is brought out to the table to join the pre-set water glasses as soon as you are seated, no “still or sparkling?” here, unless of course you want it.
Service at The Stonhouse is superb without fail, whoever does the hiring seems to have a real knack for finding waiting staff that are friendly but not over familiar and just the right level of attentive without being overbearing. Our Aussie ex-flight attendant waitress on the latest visit was excellent and made the entire experience fun and was expertly efficient in the way that she looked after us.
The wine-list is varied and gives a wide selection of choice and even features house wines in each colour for £18, a rare find in London – the Malbec is my favourite on the list though. There’s also a choice of a few cocktails if you fancy them pre-dinner.
But the real find at The Stonhouse is the food. I’ve been here maybe 15 times for all sorts of occasions and have never had a bad meal. I’ve never even had an average meal, it’s always been excellent. On this occasion we had the mezze platter and courgette and halloumi croquettes to start. The selection of bread and hummus, grilled halloumi, falafel and olives is always a winner and a great sharing plate for two or three people to get you ready for the main.
My favourite main course is the Chateaubriand, cooked to perfection so that it simply melts in your mouth – the accompanying chips are perfectly chunky with a golden crisp and the green beans have just the right crunch and seasoning to compliment the whole thing. They do their beef as well as most steak restaurants that I’ve ever been to.
Then if there’s room, which there wasn’t but we had it anyway, the puddings are great – their sticky toffee pudding is always a winner (and comes as a huge portion, easily enough to share) and the blackberry & apple crumble with homemade custard falls into the category of “just like grandma used to make”.
This all sounds quite gushing but it really is difficult to fault The Stonhouse, and I haven’t even told you the best bit. The Stonhouse accepts tastecard which means that Mon – Thur if you book in advance you get 50% off your total food bill. As a result two starters, a chateaubriand for two, two desserts and a bottle of house wine came in at £64 including tip. Now you can’t say fairer than that.