Honky Tonk Clapham Review
Honky Tonk Clapham
The Clapham dining scene is an interesting one. Over the past 10 years, the typical age of the local resident has dramatically dropped; and with that, we have seen a change in the type of dining establishments opening up in the area. Bistros and delis are making way for burger joints, pizzerias and even a chicken shop that had its own Channel 4 show. The latest newcomer is Honky Tonk; an American music themed restaurant conveniently located right adjacent to Clapham Common station. This is Honky Tonk’s second venture after their hugely successful Chelsea venue. It speaks volumes that they’ve chosen Clapham to host their next offering, and with the site so close to the popular and very similar Bodean’s, I was intrigued to find out what Honky Tonk had to offer.
Walking along Clapham Common you can’t miss the entrance with the words ‘Honky Tonk’ adorned in neon lights. Inside is equally modest with heavily graffitti’d walls demanding that we follow their Instagram page, and a wheel of fortune where diners can win anything from a free spin to a bottle of wine. The venue is much more intimate than your typical American grill, shunning a booth style setup in favour of smaller tables, and I’m seated in a corner where I can soak up the atmosphere while enjoying the company I’m with.
The menu is as straightforward as the piece of paper it is written on; 7 starters and 7 meat mains with much of the dishes from the Southern states you’d expect including burgers, (not) fried chicken, and quesadillas. I’ve heard much about the piri piri chicken wings from social media, and all the likes they’ve received are well warranted. Crispy, not too spicy, and certainly amongst the best I’ve had- right up there with Sticky Wings for the crown of best in London. We also order nachos, or should I say, 3 giant nachos layered with cheese, guacamole, and sour cream like a Mexican lasagne. Although the edges were burnt, once past that, it was a messy delight, so make sure you have a wad of napkins at hand.
When mains arrived I had a feeling that I would be needing a lot more serviettes. Firstly, the pork ribs were so large they were presented in a military tin and despite numerous attempts at cutlery use, fingers proved much more frugal. The slow cooked beer marinated pork was a welcome change from the sticky barbeque variety, and although I’m not sure if I prefer these, they were so tender that it was a shame that we couldn’t finish them all. However the real star of the mains were the (not) fried chicken- so called because they are actually oven baked. Having been to Louisiana, one bite sent me right back to New Orleans and reminded me of some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten; and the best part is that it wasn’t even fried!
For dessert, there are a variety of options and I was tempted by the alcoholic milkshakes, but decided on the home-made apple pie. Like most of the dishes this evening, I wasn’t surprised to discover that it wasn’t your standard apple pie. Although dusted in sugar, the pastry was thick and almost savoury like- so those with a sweet tooth may be left wanting.
Thoroughly satisfied, I sit back and reflect upon the 3 courses I’ve just eaten. Although not everything was to my tastes, I appreciate that the chef has been adventurous with the menu, when it could have been so much easier to play it safe. With prices starting around £20 for two courses, prices may be more Soho than South London, but you can’t complain about the quality; an excellent addition to the blossoming Clapham scene.
Honky Tonk Clapham, 16a Clapham Common South Side, SW4 7AB. Nearest Station: Clapham Common