Moxon’s has been a name in south London for as long as I can remember. It’s THE place to net yourself (if you’ll excuse the pun) the freshest of fish in Clapham and East Dulwich. And so where better to go to eat the freshest of fish? Next Door, of course.
Next Door opened on Lordship Lane last summer, taking over from Burro e Salvia, the artisan pastificio and restaurant that struggled in East Dulwich but is thriving in Shoreditch (in case you’re missing their orecchiette and pasta-making workshops).
The name, Next Door, is simple genius, what with it being located right next to Moxon’s Fishmongers – the restaurant’s parent company. And given you’re likely to ask your fishmonger for tips on how best to prep your day-boat fresh, whole sea bass, why not just leave them to it? Down those pots and pans and head Next Door.
There must be little more frustrating for a fishmonger than to hear a customer’s tale of overcooked-salmon woe, so setting up a restaurant where they can combine their knowledge of seafood with a little professional chef~ery to serve us all top-notch brunch, bar snacks and small sharing plates is clearly The Right Thing to Do. For, like, humanity.
And the food is seriously good. Marked upon the chalk board is the catch of the day – served roasted with a beurre blanc sauce to share. The day we visited there was a choice of seabass from Plymouth, John Dory and Brill. But while this dish is prepared simply to let the freshness of the fish shine through, the small plates have a little more swagger.
‘Just when you think it can’t get any better, along come the scallops – grilled Rye King scallops served piping hot in their shells with seaweed butter and chilli. It’s Last Supper stuff’
Sure, there are straight-up Whitstable Rock Oyster and Moxon’s Smoked Salmon served with pickled golden beetroot (these guys even smoke their own fish at their Wimbledon smokehouse), but there’s also a delicate-yet-decadent tuna tataki with bok choy, pickled radish, soy sauce and wasabi, as well as plump oily wonderful mackerel, served with equally divine grilled baby aubergine, perfectly caramelised round the edges and crumbled with feta, plus a dollop of hummus, pine nuts and cumin. More of that please.
And just when you think it can’t get any better, along come the scallops – grilled Rye King scallops served piping hot in their shells with seaweed butter and chilli. It’s Last Supper stuff. And because we thought we’d better try and get somewhere near our five a day, we also ordered the roasted cauliflower with fiery harissa, lentils and pickled beetroot, and were quite taken aback to see dainty little florets of green cauliflower on our plate – Romanesco Cauliflower – who knew?
This parade of small plates had us plenty full for lunchtime – and a couple of glasses of unfiltered natural wine (left ‘pure’ for enhanced flavors, aromas and texture) had us feeling pleasantly light headed. Better call it quits and return to our emails, we thought, but wait… what’s that, the lemon tart is a must? Well, it’d be rude not to then…
Super zingy with a light curd, dusting of icing sugar and a slightly caremelised surface similar to that of a crème brûlée, it truly was worth that oh-gosh-I-need-to-lay-down feeling.
With smart casual decor that looks like it’s had a lick of Farrow and Ball, a soundtrack that included gem such as Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Sit Down by James and a bit of George Michael, as well as an alfresco terrace and, of course, great food, this place is an absolute winner for lunch, dinner or a quiet moment with a book and a glass of wine.
151 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich SE22 8HX; moxonsnextdoor.com