The Reverend Eats … Eco in Clapham Common
We are in the hinterland between Christmas and the New Year. I fancied not cooking and wanted to head out to stretch my legs so a trip to Clapham Common where we would find a new restaurant to try – Eco.
Not far from Clapham Common tube station and a short walk from Clapham North tube or Clapham High Street station. You can see it on this google map.
Outside Eco Clapham Common
Eco has a good frontage on the High Street and includes outside seating. Not for me though as not only is it late December, so very cold, but also it is a busy road with all those fumes that I didn’t fancy.
Inside Eco Clapham Common
The restaurant is on two levels. As you enter you have the bar and a pizza oven on the left. There are some bench seats in the window if you want to watch the world go by, with a raised seating area at the back.
It was late lunchtime when we arrived and we were sat at the rear of the restaurant, with plenty of space. It was nice to have a bit of space as often restaurants cram in tables to cash in on the festive diners.
Italian! Italian! Italian. What can I say? There was nothing on the menu you didn’t expect to see there. I would say that the omission, for me, was they didn’t have Mozzarella En Carrozza – breaded, fried mozzarella. If they had have had that then I would have ordered it, 100%.
I was nearly tempted by the Arancini but decided against it at the last minute. Not for any particular reason, I just decided to against having a starter.
As they had a huge pizza oven you’d have thought I’d have gone for a pizza for a main course however we had pizza the previous evening so I fancied something different. There was a whole page of ‘other’ main courses that weren’t pizza so I knew I’d have plenty of choice.
The specials board was very tempting and it was good to see things which looked like actual specials and not just a slightly pimped up standard main course.
We went for a main course each with a side salad and a portion of chips. The chips were my suggestion, I just really fancied some chips. Completely off-course with the two pasta-based dishes we ordered but I did it anyway. #DisregardTheConstabulary
I didn’t fancy a big bowl of spaghetti but I did fancy a lovely lasagne so that is what I ordered. My dining partner asked the waitress for a recommendation and took her recommendation of the Venison Ragu with the optional Pappardelle pasta upgrade.
A Side of chips and an undressed green salad completed our meal for 2.
The Mains Event
I’ll start with mine – the lasagne. I’ve always been a bit hesitant ordering lasagne anywhere. When I used to head to a pub for lunch many years ago they microwaved the lasagne and didn’t check the temp which mean the middle was still cold even though the cheese topping was bubbling away. This lasagne didn’t suffer the same fate.
The layers were amazing. Some of the top had got a bit crispy but not in a burnt-taste way. It was a proper ‘slab’ of lasagne also – no scrimping here by the restaurant. I have never understood why some places serve tiny pasta portions?
The only other thing on the plate was an artistic flourish of balsamic reduction. Not only did it make the plate more interesting to look at but it also gave an additional flavour to each bite.
The venison ragu wasn’t what we were expecting. We both thought it would be something that looked more like a Bologna – rich and dark red. What we were presented with wasn’t this. Colour wise the plate wasn’t as appetising – it had a grey colour that didn’t complement the dish.
The other strange thing was that we both googled ‘Parradelle’ when we saw it on the menu as we didn’t know what it was. Google showed a wide long pasta, like a super-sized linguine. What was served wasn’t that.
Not that there was anything wrong with the pasta served, but again, this meal ended up being nothing like either of us imaged. Flavour wise it was ‘ok’ however we wouldn’t order it again as it wasn’t a big wallop of flavour that we wanted.
The side of chips were absolutely fine but the side green salad was quite a treat – olives, lettuce, cucumber, onion and avocado. With our pasta mains it was nice to enjoy the lighter salad and avocado went particularly well.
With neither of us having a starter we agreed to have a dessert and ended up sharing a brownie with ice cream. What a great end to the meal! The hot brownie went perfectly with the cold vanilla ice cream.
The brownie portion was bigger than expected so not a problem for two to share.
We had two main courses, two sides, two drinks and a shared dessert. The total bill, including a tip was just over £40. I don’t think this was too bad for what we had and, when I consider that recently I had a Chinese take-away that cost £45, and I had no washing up or clearing up to do, I was very happy.
Reasonably priced food at Eco and certainly feels a decent offering in Clapham.
The Reverend’s Final Thought
There isn’t a ‘generic’ Italian restaurant brand down Clapham High Street so if you want Italian food its nice to have this independent restaurant. The menu is large enough to offer plenty of choice and it has plenty of specials if you fancy something different.
A big ‘shout out’ should go to the waitress who looked after us. She did so quickly and always with a smile. Having been out to dinner recently where we felt more like a hindrance to the waiter’s evening, it really was a pleasant surprise to be well looked after.
I will continue to try out other restaurants in Clapham Common but I will go back to Eco Clapham Common, that is for sure.