Sunday, 23 October 2011

A review of Esca

160a Clapham High Street, Clapham, London, SW4 7UG

My sister and I ventured away from East London this weekend to sample the delights of Clapham. Despite the rumours, south London is not only the destination of choice for those seeking to settle down, procreate etc. but a haven of creativity. During our short visit, we ambled from Clapham South tube to Clapham Common, taking in innovative craft businesses (Papered Parlour, Sew over it), designers (Lisa Stickley) and a good few cafes.

Having exhausted our feet and purses at the Papered Parlour maker’s market and open studios, we found ourselves peckish so headed down the high street to deli/cafe/patisserie, Esca. On first entering I was transported back to a childhood fantasy, the ladder used to access the floor to ceiling shelving reminding me of a particular scene in a book shop in beauty and the beast... A good start if ever there was one.

I describe Esca as a deli/cafe/patisserie because it’s almost impossible to categorise. The wall shelving is piled high with jams, preserves, olive oil, teas and seasonal produce, the front window bursting with pastries, cakes, slices and bakes and the fridges inside laden with salads, sandwich fillings and more hearty options such as baked cod or lasagne.

A real feast for the senses – you’re almost paralysed by choice. 

Not wanting to miss out on what could prove to be their trump card, we mixed and matched a pesto chicken filled wholemeal baguette, with a beetroot and orange salad, then went for the croissant pudding (with cream). Washed down with a pink lemonade and Earl Grey tea, the bill came in at about £10 each.

The food was delicious and the staff impeccably attentive and friendly. It was reasonable priced and there was plenty of communal seating at the back. My only criticism would be that, compared to the visual feast at the front of the shop, the seating area had a distinct lack of chemistry or charm. It was functional, but not somewhere I’d be tempted to linger were it not for the fantastic food.

All in all, a lovely day out.


  1. We are based in Clapham too and think it's a fab place full of amazing creative businesses and crafts. We are big fans of Sew Over It and Lisa Stickley and also the many cafes and restaurants along the high street. It is never a boring place to live or work :)

  2. i used to live there and Esca is my favorite coffee shop. I would like to have the same shop in my country