A Clapham restaurant serving up some of the best dim sum and macarons in London
On Café is the kind of place you stumble upon and think, how the hell have I never heard about this restaurant before. The food, the atmosphere and everything about On Café is just great. If you took someone here on a date, they’re guaranteed to be really impressed. Not because the restaurant is fancy or does revolutionary things with food. They’ll be impressed because you know that this lovely little restaurant exists.
At On Café they do two things: Chinese dim sum and French patisserie. To have both in the same setting may seem a little odd, but it totally works. Think about it, both dim sum and patisserie chefs are highly trained and masters of their art. The two are hard to perfect and both take dexterity to make. The sensibility behind Chinese dim sum and French patisserie is ultimately the same and both are a joy to eat.
An Asian style cafe in the heart of Clapham Common serving Chinese dim sum and French patisserie. International award winning chef, Loretta Liu is chef proprietor of On Café. She has been schooled in classical French cooking by the likes of Pierre Gagnaire, Frederic Bau and Alain Ducasse. Pretty impressive!
This is a charming little restaurant. It’s warm and has a lovely homey family run feeling about it. The cafe may be is small, but it’s perfectly shaped.
‘On’ means balance, and the restaurant offers a balanced menu of light dim sum alongside incredible patisserie. Asian flavours are used in both the dim sum and patisserie, obviously linking the two sections of the menu together, resulting in exciting flavour fusions. However we have to stress that this is not a fusion restaurant. They don’t mindlessly mix ingredients in the name of novelty here, it’s all about the marriage of different flavours and skills to create food that screams good taste.
Here are some of our favourite dishes:
Fried salt and pepper squid
This fried, spicy dish is a staple favourite at most Chinese restaurant and we’ve had it so many times, but we’ve never had ones like these before. They not only have that crunchy element that makes salt and pepper squid an absolute pleasure to eat, they are seasoned to perfection. The chef uses Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, curry leave, Szechuan pepper, lemon grass, red and green fresh chilli and smoked sea salt, giving these little morsels of joy a depth of flavour which is phenomenal.
Prawn toast with Chinese parsley
How many times have you been to a Chinese restaurant, ordered some prawn toast and been presented with a greasy disappointment of fried bread covered with sesame seeds that may or may not have prawns in it? Not here. On Café’s prawn toast is exceptionally good and deliciously moreish. They’ve sexed their shrimp up mixing it with squid and seasoning with Chinese parsley and mustard.
Fried Beijing dumplings
These are just the tip. Golden brown and crisp on the bottom, with a skin that’s springy and chewy. These aromatic delights are filled with a mix of British pork, Chinese cabbage, spring onion and sesame. It works so well.
Salmon Thai green curry
We were really excited to eat these, but unfortunately a little dissapointed. They sound amazing and promise to be full of flavor, but in reality these are just lightly seasoned salmon dumplings, we could barely taste the Thai green curry. However On Café is about light balanced dim sum, we get it. But having something that is really punchy on the menu is a good thing in our eyes.
Prawn and leek Har Gow
These lovely little pockets absolutely explode with flavour. We ordered them twice, you should too.
For dim sum that will get you hooked and for some of the best macarons in town. Oh and because this place is BYOB, you’ll be pushed to spend more hat £20 a head.