Ciaran Goes To The Secret Garden

Art & Culture

If you're going to have a concept to your restaurant, the best thing you can do is commit yourself whole-heartedly to the theme. From the moment you arrive outside the door of The Secret Garden, you know that you're in for a special adventure indeed.

Many of us have read, or at least encountered, the book of the same name and the same level of childish excitement that ran through your veins as you rapidly turned each page is renewed as you step into the gorgeously decorated restaurant, as wide-eyed and innocent as you were in your younger years. Plants fill the room and, for one night only, you're taken straight out of Clapham and into a fairytale.

Stumbling over the exceptional selection of feasting, we eventually opted to treat ourselves to the indoor barbecue – an option that so strongly lured us in that we were never really going to pick anything else, despite the potential fire hazard. As we awaited our burning feast we began making our way through their exquisite cocktail menu, it's safe to say that the high quality of the drinks comfortably lived up to the venue's intricate design and as the fruity flavours bounced upon my tastebuds I could feel myself getting excited by the potential feast of delights that lay ahead.

But before we could get to the BBQ there was the small matter of a chopping board covered in beef jerky to work our way through, giving our jaws a lengthy workout before we could most onto softer meats. For anyone that is a fan of beef jerky this was an absolutely prime cut of meat that is not worth missing, though it may take you a while to chew you way through it – the accompanying sauce added a little spice and moisture that perfectly complimented these teeth-testers.

Finally, we waited anxiously in anticipation of a main course that seemed like a rather daunting prospect – not many places let you cook your own meat but the way in which the meal is delivered and presented ensures that you get so caught up in the festivities that you might not mind as much if you cook the meat for slightly longer than you would usually desire. As we glanced upon the smouldering grill presented in between us I rapidly grasped for tongs to begin cooking the meat. The triple-meat selection means that you can split your portions however you like, though I would personally have liked to devour the whole thing myself. These are top quality cuts of meat indeed and, when combined with the trio of sauces that accompany them in delicate pots, make for an eating experience that you're unlikely to find a match for no matter how long and hard you try. The supporting potato salad and co. play a part in making the meal an all-round success but in truth the experience itself is well worth paying for, even if you're unable to heed the simple cooking instructions.

Onto dessert, because I simply couldn't help myself, and I can't recommend taking the plunge into the Edible Garden strongly enough. I won't say too much about it as I wouldn't want to ruin the rather complex sweet treat that lays ahead of you but the attention to detail in presentation is matched expertly by a combination of flavours that'll give anyone with a sweet tooth the perfect end to what just might be the finest meal you'll ever eat.

It has everything from top quality food, a wide-ranging drinks selection, pleasant appraochable staff and an atmosphere that transports you out of Clapham and into your very own secret garden. Find any excuse you can and go here as soon as possible.

FInd out more about The Secret Garden here.