Posts Tagged ‘Clapham restaurant’
Fortunately we no longer live in a world where most people believe their own culture to be better than or superior to those of others.
It is true we cheer on our football or rugby team, wave a flag, maybe even sing our National Anthem. Nothing wrong with that. But generally speaking we tend to respect other nationalities, take some interest in their ways and have a genuine desire to learn about them and to share in the things they do that make them stand out as different and, by our own standards, exotic.
But even in today’s cosmopolitan, metropolitan world there are two distinct cultures in evidence where the twain shall surely never meet. In our cities, in our eating houses and drinking establishments, two separate and quite contrasting behavioural norms compete for the cultural high ground.
I refer, of course, to those who like to eat whilst they are drinking, and those who prefer to drink whilst they are eating. Those who would accuse the writer of pedantry must invariably fail to appreciate the dynamic of the conflict. Indeed it is a veritable struggle for the soul of civilisation in our inner cities and suburbs.
The eating whilst drinking tendency have a clear sense of priorities. They drink in quantity, sometimes preferring to stand rather than sit, by so doing giving themselves cause to cling tenaciously to their glasses lest they be taken away before they are empty, knocked over or become otherwise estranged from their rightful owners. Between gulps the palate is placated with offerings of pork scratchings, pickled onions, salty nuts of various kinds and severally flavoured crisps. In Spain they call it tapas, in England bar snacks. But the real business of the evening remains in the glass.
The other tendency is focused primarily on the food and, having ordered a sumptuous meal from a menu so colourful and appealing that it could almost be enjoyed as a starter, then and only then does the imbiber move on to choose carefully from a wide range of fine wines and beers from all the four corners of the earth.
At Eco, the popular Clapham restaurant, we are not judgemental. We always remember and appreciate that there is a time for sitting eating, and a time for standing drinking. Variety is what makes the world such a wonderful place.
But culturally we are very much about food. Washed down of course by the most delicious and enjoyable wines, beers or coffees, of all of which we have choices in abundance.
And when it comes to quality of course, you are free to sing our praises and wave our banner because you know we will always be the winning team.
Round is an interesting shape.
There are so many everyday objects and items that are almost always circular that we tend to take their design rather for granted.
But just what is so special and important about circularity?
A clock is a thing that is usually round. Although clocks, watches and sundry other timepieces do sometimes come in non-circular designs, conventionally the clock is circular with the numbers spaced around the exterior (clockwise naturally) and equidistant from one another. Indeed we sometimes refer to “working round the clock”.
Dinner plates, bowls, glasses and cups likewise are likewise usually round. On the plate there is no corner in which a particular food item may hide.
A cup or a glass with corners would just be so impractical. The act of drinking carefully embraces every principle of gravity. A square cup just would not work.
If the importance of a smooth, rounded edge needs to be emphasised just try to imagine having to swallow a pill that was shaped like a sugar cube. It would hurt, possibly it would even cut. Certainly the experience would be unnecessarily unpleasant. Round, or at least rounded, is just so much better.
Even little green men from faraway planets concur with us on this truism. Note they visit us in flying saucers, round and uncornered.
So it is in the world of the pizza. Whilst there is such a thing as a square pizza (most noticeably in the US, where they also drive on the wrong side of the road) most pizzas are round, indicating continuity of flavour and no barriers to taste.
At the celebrated Clapham restaurant Eco all our pizzas are organic, nutritious, folded or unfolded and unconventionally tasty but unashamedly round, as you would expect a pizza to be.
When it comes to pizza design we are sticklers for tradition, no matter how square that may sound to some.
“Cakes is cakes” was once a saying in certain parts of London. The message was that no matter how ornate, extrovert and creative was the morsel in question it was, when all was said and done, still a cake. There was a place at the table for cakes, but they were always eaten in the same way, in similar quantities and on the same kinds of occasions.
It would be difficult to look at the range of cakes that are available for special occasions at Eco, the increasingly popular Clapham pizza restaurant, and dismiss them all as being in any way similar, or routine and mundane.
The fact is that for an establishment that specialises in producing some of the finest, tastiest and most nutritious pizzas in the whole of London Eco is surprisingly good at making cakes as the Celebration Cake Menu clearly reflects.
When you arrive at the Clapham restaurant having asked for a speciality celebration cake to be serve alongside your meal it will be here waiting for you. It can even be accompanied by a message of your own choice.
But it is the menu itself that fires the imagination and arouses interest. The various options could not be more diverse, and their content and composition is outlined in such scrumptious detail that anybody reading it whilst hungry would find themselves in serious jeopardy of wanting to devour it rather than waiting for the cake itself.
Pride of place on the menu goes to Eco’s gorgeous Victoria Sponge, with three layers of delicious sponge each interspersed with vanilla butter cream and preserve. Unlike many restaurants and cake shops Eco offers the option of raspberry or mixed berry fillings as well as the more conventional strawberry.
Then there is the glorious Banoffe, again with three layers of sponge and between them two levels of delicious toffee and banana.
Eco also offers a Carrot Cake with a walnut sponge and tasty cheese frosting, or a mouthwatering Black Forest Gateau with cherry liqueur, whipped cream, chocolate mousse and maraschino cherries, as well as an alluring Profiterole Pyramid.
All of these succulent offerings come in various sizes, from six servings per cake to an incredible seventy.
If this sounds unusual fare for a pizza restaurant to be offering, please remember that Eco is no usual pizza restaurant. The staff here go out of their way to make your visit a special and memorable one, whether you are just passing by and feeling peckish or whether you are celebrating and important birthday with friends and the ones you love.
Where do you go to get a bandstand? The Clapham Common bandstand looks an awful lot like a pair of bandstands that once stood in South Kensington Gardens… and there’s a good reason for that.
When South Kensington Gardens closed in the 1870s, its two bandstands were sold to Peckham Rye and Southwark Park – which already had a bandstand, so that one was uprooted and sent to Plumstead. And in the 1890s, when Clapham Common wanted a bandstand of its own, they decided to copy the South Kensington design.
Then came World War II, and the two originals were destroyed, leaving only the replica in place… until Southwark Park rebuilt their version, basing it on the Clapham Common replica that had been copied from them in the first place!
Our bandstand withstood the test of time, right up until the 1960s when it began to succumb to the inevitability of old age and the prospect of a long, slow drawn-own demise. Other than for the odd lick of paint it was abandoned to the mercy of the elements, and by the turn of the new millennium it was rusting and crumbling, strewn with graffiti and used only by pigeons.
Fortunately in 2003 the Clapham Society combined with the Friends of Clapham Common to persuade the London Borough of Lambeth to embark upon a rescue campaign and, supported by a hefty grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as a not inconsequential contribution from the local community itself it was restored to something like its former glory.
Happily the bandstand is now in use again and when it is in use it boasts an excellent café, which is a wonderful place to be when the sun is shining, the music is playing and you are in the mood for an enjoyable cup of coffee and a cake.
When you are in the mood for a pizza however you need not travel very far. For just along the road is the famed Eco Restaurant, recognised as one of the very best of the Clapham Old Town restaurants.
Our pizzas, of course, don’t look like anything you might find in Kensington or Peckham Rye. Whatever appeals to you when perusing our menu, at our Clapham restaurant you will find only the original versions every time.
Who is the Clapham Cook?
Let us begin with a clue. And you’ll see when you start to follow this story that clues are an essential part of what it is all about.
The clue is that today we know where the Clapham Cook is to be found – in a restaurant in Clapham Common. Whenever a pizza is ordered by a hungry patron, the Clapham Cook is there, just waiting to leap into action and showcase his not inconsiderable culinary talents. But it wasn’t always that way.
An earlier Clapham Cook was called Eliza Dunn, and she walked out of her job at the Todd residence in Clapham without having worked her notice and hadn’t communicated with her employer since except to send for a trunk, which had been packed some time before.
Wondering whether was any connection between her wilful disappearance and that of a clerk at a local bank, Hercule Poirot set about his investigations and discovered that Ms. Dunn had been sent away by a lodger at the Todd residence, one Mr. Simpson, who as it happened worked at the same bank as the missing clerk.
When Ms. Dunn’s belongings arrived at her new abode without her trunk a train of events was set in place, at the end of which Poirot’s investigations resulted in the arrest of Simpson who had boarded an ocean liner bound for America, and the recovery of the missing bank clerk’s body in Ms. Dunn’s missing trunk.
There is nothing quite so mysterious about today’s Clapham Cook. He and his team can be tracked down at a top Clapham pizza restaurant called Eco, where every last one of them can be banked on not to disappear until the work is done.
The expert team at Eco are all fine upstanding citizens whose only crime is to produce pizzas and pastas that put all others in the neighbourhood to shame. But don’t take my word for it, please come along to Eco yourself and investigate.
Did you know that Italy currently produces more wine than any other country in the world?
According to the most recently available figures around 21% of the world’s wine exports originate in Italy, against 19% each for France and Spain, 8% for Australia and 6% each for Chile and the United States of America.
By a pleasant coincidence Italy also happens to be the home of the pizza. Despite the tenuous claims of various Mediterranean and Middle Eastern nations and the admittedly impressive volumes now consumed across the pond, pizza is as naturally associated with Italy as sauerkraut is with Germany or paella with Spain.
So it is natural to enjoy a pizza with a good wine.
Eco Restaurant is a popular Clapham restaurant that boasts not only the tastiest and healthiest pizzas for miles around but also some of the finest wines commonly available.
Whether your taste is for sparkling or still, red or white, sweet or dry, Italian or non-Italian – this finest of Clapham Old Town restaurants has something for you to enjoy alongside some of the most wonderful food that you will find anywhere in South London.
One of the particular favourites is a classic Pinot Grigio Principato 2008, a fresh Italian dry white with gentle floral and citrus aromas. This fine wine is available by the glass as well as by the bottle.
Another star turn is the Prosecco di Valdobbiadene NV, for that special occasion or even just for the sheer fun of it. Orignating from the Veneto region of northern Italy, this wonderfully fruity sparkling wine combines ripe pear aromas with crisp green apple flavours to provide a refreshing and lasting experience.
For those who like something different there is the Doricum Cattaratto, Santa Eufamia 2008 from Sicily, light and crisp with a flavour of orange and almond.
A pizza seems almost made to be partaken of with a good bottle of wine, although the range of beers, spirits, coffees and soft drinks available at Eco Restaurant in itself leaves one spoilt for choice.
It is the combination that makes the experience particularly special, and a pleasant and nourishing evening meal at Eco one that you will remember for a very long time.
Someone asked me recently whether we’re a typical Clapham restaurant. What does that mean? Are we typical? We are, after all a restaurant, and no one can deny that we’re well and truly in Clapham. So if a typical Clapham restaurant is a restaurant in Clapham, I guess we’re it.
But often people seem to think that the location of a restaurant is often one which seems to generate several very similar restaurants. One Italian restaurant seems to result in a plethora of them sooner or later. In many ways this might be true, but we believe that we stand out because of several things that are far from typical.
To start with, we’re not just a restaurant. Yes, obviously there’s the takeaway aspect, and not everyone offers that. But there’s also our kids pizza school. We’re very proud of that, and in all honesty very few restaurants, whether in Clapham or anywhere else, take the trouble to help kids appreciate what goes in to their food, how food is made, and how to take more of an interest in what they out into their mouths.
I happen to think it’s important to teach kids about food. I’d go so far as to suggest it’s our duty, all of us, but all too often it’s very difficult to find the opportunities. When so much food is simply opened, slopped into a bowl and blasted with radiation before being slapped onto a plate and dumped in front of the television it’s no surprise that kids have little interest in knowing more about where their food comes from.
To be honest, I don’t think I’d want to know what goes in to most of the ready meals available at the supermarket. I might never eat again!
But our pizza school does make us unique, not just as a Clapham restaurant, but very nearly in general. Then of course there are our recipes, all of them unique and special to us. Are we a typical Clapham restaurant? I sincerely hope not – we’ve tried very hard to be as different as possible!
As a leading eco-minded Clapham restaurant we seem to sit within two rather contrasting worlds. On the one hand we can look out across a city which is home to some of the finest restaurants (included us, of course!) and purveyors of the highest quality food and ingredients.
But at the same time it’s very easy to see an abundance of fast food chains providing food on a plate to order, though without the plate. Or the knives and forks.
As a Clapham restaurant with a reputation for high quality we see it as both our passion and our mission to provide convenient options for people that are also of the highest quality. Fast doesn’t have to mean poor quality or unhealthy. After all, just how long does it take to boil an egg, peel a banana or pour a glass of water?
It is simple food that is now winning and casual dining which means less expense, less formal and quite often better. We’re fast in output of plates however, it is our emphasis on preparation that makes us efficient; and more importantly the slow fermentation process behind the scenes of the operation of eco pizza dough, that makes eco pizza among the best quality pizza in the country. Once the dough is happy we can turn out as many pizza’s as the three deck oven can take.
One of the problems we think that we have seen develop over the years we have been running our Clapham restaurant is that people are often confused. It’s understandable. Even a cursory glance over the top of your pizza box at the television is enough to reveal today’s list of do’s and don’ts as far as healthy eating is concerned.
It’s easy to simply give up and assume that these experts don’t know what they’re talking about and rush straight to the next heart attack wrapped in red and yellow cardboard.
We’ll keep doing our bit, providing convenience with innovative quality. Perhaps that’s an innovation in itself, but certainly the kids who take part in our pizza school each week are convinced that you can still have the best of both worlds. They’d tell you themselves if they weren’t so busy tucking in to their
Now there are two words you don’t often find together in many places, but then as we said – as a Clapham restaurant we seem to be surrounded by two conflicting worlds.