Counter Culture first opened in April this year and it was dubbed ‘The Dairy’s naughty little brother’. It offers small tapas style plates of all the wonderful things they do to the ingredients from curing, pickling and fermenting. It’s a 15 seater and given their established suppliers I was sure that this BYOB little bar would be ingredient-led and really good if The Dairy is anything to go by.
It’s a pickling wonderland everywhere you look, including the view at the bar here.
Their salami is also made on the premises.
Our hostess with the mostess suggested that we go for everything as the plates are small and designed for sharing. Sometimes this is the best way to eat as you’ll taste a bit of everything. The craft beer selection is strong too.
Potato flatbread, nduja, cultured cream (£4). I love nduja, it’s one of my favourite ingredients. Somehow this plate didn’t work for me as the bread was dry and the cream clashed with the nduja. Perhaps if the nduja was heated up to allow all the flavours to be released with the bread straight out of the oven then it would be a different story.
Pork and fennel salami (£8). These were stellar little things, I can imagine these little things pimping-up any pizza or in an omelette or anything for that matter!
Pork scratchings with salsify ketchup (£4). The pork scratchings alone were ok but the toffee looking ketchup I found strange. Salsify is a flower isn’t it?
Fennel, ember yoghurt, confit yolk (£7). I can imagine this dish to be an accompaniment to a plate of fish but by itself it didn’t really work for me.
Paté en Croûte, nucal beet slaw (£7). I liked this, it was delicious. The pastry was crumbly, the filling seasoned well and it was all balanced by the pickled slaw.
Pink fir bravas, peas, pickled wild garlic (£7). Have you ever had supermarket shelf salsa for your Doritos?
Beef tartare, bone marrow, salad cream, caviar (£8.50). This was an interesting dish for sure. I loved how all the elements came together and it was a new combination for me too. The fresh and from what I make out pickled orange radishes added that extra fresh dimension.
One of my favourite things to eat in The Dairy next door is the bread, it is an absolute carbohydrate masterpiece. It comes fresh from the oven and in a hessian sack with ‘made by mum’ stamped on the bottom. I was cheeky and asked for some, a bit of me regretted it though as it was stone cold.
Galician octopus, borlotti beans, nduja (£8.50). When this plate arrived I had high expectations as octopus and nduja are some of my favourite ingredients. The borlotti beans would be the perfect vehicle to soak up all the flavour, however it was all a bit plain Jane, even the fried nduja didn’t make an impact.
Lamb kebab, pickled cabbage, steamed bun (£8.50). A little rendition of our late night favourite, somehow though it lacked the robust spice and saltiness you’d expect from a kebab. Perhaps this was the diet version?
Limonchello trifle (£6.5). Lemon snow, rhubarb juice, pickled strawberries, lemonchello soaked sponge – what’s there not to like? I’m intimating that this is the best thing I ate here, all the ingredients are clear, identifiable and a redeeming value to some of the average plates.
The damage: Expect to pay £30-£40 per head with drinks
The good: Despite the hit & miss dishes I couldn’t fault the charming, knowledgeable and down-right friendly host/waitress. She was brilliant. That limonchello, I could have eaten by the bucket load too.
The bad: Dubbed The Dairy’s naughty younger brother?’ It’s safe to say it’s The Dairy’s weak younger brother that needs a few more gym visits to be a true contender.
16 The Pavement, Clapham Old Town, SW4 0HY