Review – The Plough, St. John’s Hill

BY PALOMA LACY

Considering one of the capital’s busiest railway stations sits on St John’s Hill, this stretch of Clapham is fairly lacking when it comes to decent lunch spots

I’d hoped that a few new places had opened and escaped my notice but sadly this was not the case. Turning right out of the station, walking up the hill, I came across the old boozer I’d last frequented some 20 years earlier and then nothing until I hit the Plough.

Remembering it’s one of the Young’s chain and obviously given the group’s recent treatment of a good dusting down and a lick of paint, things were looking up.

This was until I saw the menu. I was meeting a friend for lunch and what we really wanted was a salad but the only one available was the ubiquitous and somewhat uninspiring Caesar salad.

Contrary to what we fancied eating, there were all manner of deep fried dishes on offer on this American-inspired menu. I may well be in the minority but I’m personally a little tired of the burger, fried chicken and rib trend so many pubs continue to pedal.

Given that this was Halloween, pumpkin soup with cornbread, pumpkin seeds and oil (£6.50) was very tasty, fresh and wonderfully seasonal.

My friend, who is currently setting her cap at the door of one of the country’s main weight loss companies, managed to find a dish to suit her needs. Steamed hake fillet, with roast fennel and garlic, and tenderstem broccoli (£12.50) fitted her needs, and she was relieved to find it hidden away among the largely calorie-laden treats.

Perhaps on a different day, I’d be in the mood for hearty dishes like barbecue-glazed ribs, marinated in bourbon, and served with spiced fries, sweetcorn husk, slaw and tobacco onions (£13.00) and buttermilk fried chicken, with homemade waffles, crispy corn and maple syrup.

Smoked Gamma Ray chicken for two – whole slow-roasted chicken, cooked using a can of the famous beer inserted into its posterior, steaming the meat from the inside as it roasts to create the juiciest flesh, certainly appealed. I’ll be back when the weather is cold enough to warrant such warming fodder.

Paloma was not a guest of the Plough. 89 St John’s Hill, London, SW11 1SY

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