Monday, 9 March 2015

Meeting Yelp at The Manor

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (9)

Blogging is a funny old business. You are effectively a one man band; writer, photographer, marketer, salesman, plus having to do all the bits like negotiate and pitch for business.

Now don't get me wrong, I love being a blogger, but there is more to just swanning around from restaurant to event, there is alot behind the scenes, including many meetings and pitches. 

Luckily, some are more fun than others, like the one I had with Alex from Yelp the other week. No boring sitting behind a desk, no this was a dinner meeting- the best kind of course.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (19)

Alex, the community director for Yelp London contacted me saying that Yelp would love to work with me and could we meet to discuss. 

Knowing that Yelp is one of the worlds largest review sites, I had to choose somewhere good for dinner to show off my local knowledge of London- a key theme of Yelp.

My friend Ella had recommended The Manor to me a while back when we were casually discussing food over lunch. A quick Yelp search showed that not a single member had reviewed The Manor (it is pretty new) so I thought this would be even better as I could show off a new 'undiscovered' place. 

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (10)

The Manor is a little unassuming from the outside. Down a side street, which houses a KFC on the corner, it very missable from the outside. Yet inside, it's cosy, stylish and relaxed all rolled into one, with equally friendly staff who genuinely look happy to see you stroll the the door.

The menu is a small plates menu, where you order various dishes to share with your guest. Yet the food on offer is one with imagination, culinary flare and style. Definitely not in La Tasca here.

To get out taste buds roaring we were offed a little taster before we looked at the menu, cod, cabbage wrapped in a soft rice cracker. I think we were in for a treat.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (11)

Whilst some shun the bread basket in restaurants, as it usually offers to unwanted space in your stomach, please do not here.

The sour dough rolls are literally straight out the oven, and pipping hot. They come with whipped chicken fat butter, that is studded with bits of chicken skin. Yes, maybe it sounds slightly odd, but it is absolutely divine. A real gem.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (12) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (13)

As we poured over the menu, we chatted about Yelp, what they do, and how it works. Yelp is a review site, made up of local experts, who write about their City, in this case London, and what businesses are good and what are worth dodging.

With Yelp averaging 135 million monthly unique visitors every quarter and more than 71 million local reviews wrote, its fair to say Yelp is doing rather well for itself.

They also give back to their community by hosting events every month with local businesses which reviewers can attend. 

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (14)

Whilst digesting that nugget of information, we also set about to digest something else.

The menu is split into 4 sections- nibbles, vegetables, meat and fish dishes. Order a couple of each between two to get a meal full of flavor and excitement.

The dishes are very inventive, so brace yourself for a culinary adventure, first Crispy chicken skins, kimchi and burnt kale.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (15)

Fermented potato flat bread, smoked aubergine and mint. 

Forget the potato cakes you had as a kid that you popped in the toaster, these are on another level.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (22)

Ox cheek with roasted vegetables, and burnt leaves.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (16)

Burnt kale, cavolo nero and toasted almonds

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (17)

Cauliflower, grue de cacao, medjool dates & kefir

Translation. Cauliflower with chocolate. I swear. 

Very odd, but strangely delicious and slightly addictive. It had that 'This shouldn't work, but it does' vibe going on, and I wanted more.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (18)
The Manor Calpham, Yelp (23)

The cocktails are pretty cute too. Tea cup cocktails, could this place get any sweeter.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (20)

From the meat section, we got a slight surprise with the first plate set on the table. The Hay smoked pigeon, fermented grains, parsnip & hemp granola actually came with the pigeons leg attached. 


The claws were a little freaky. If I wasn't in a meeting, I might have picked it up though. Sorry. 


The Manor Calpham, Yelp (21)

We also had Suckling pig belly, braised head, morcilla, carrots & bitter leaves which was fantastic and tender. 

As the dishes came and went we talked about business and generally about food and our shared love of London. 

By the end of the meal we also had a shared love of The Manor. The food really is fantastic. 

However, it wasn't the end of the meal entirely. If you have room for dessert, you are encouraged to vacate your table and move on over to the  dedicated dessert bar.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (24) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (28)

We perched at the open dessert kitchen, where the staff whip up a fresh ice cream sundae with what ever toppings you want. From meringues, honeycomb, cinder toffee, and a multitude of sauces, its a adults ice cream factory.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (25) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (26)

But beware, ice cream is not a delicate process. You might want to stand back.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (27) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (29) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (30) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (31) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (32) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (1) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (2) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (3)

We ordered everything on top- naturally. 

And what a sight the finished product was.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (4)

What a dessert! I don't think I have ever seen such a lust worthy ice cream. My eyes just jumped out on stalks and almost did a cartoon like heart beat.

One between two is quite enough, as it is very gluttonous.

The Manor Calpham, Yelp (5) The Manor Calpham, Yelp (7)

The Manor surpassed my expectations immensely. It really is fantastic, and if you are north of the river, it really is worth crossing for. Seriously Clapham isn't that far, stop acting like it's remote, and just get yourself down their ASAP.

However of course this wasn't just a dinner, this was a meeting with Yelp. So after discussing, we have decided to form a partnership for the coming months. I will be working with Yelp on a range of initiatives, including some very exciting events.

Yes, me and Yelp are going to be organizing some join events together very soon, which are very very cool, so watch this space as they will be open to all of you my lovely readers. We actually just had a discussion with a business in Chelsea on Friday, so the ball is rolling now.

I can't wait for when I can let you guys know what they are, as it's going to be a lot of fun.

In the meantime download the Yelp App (iPhone and Android) as it's a great in pocket guide to whats hot and whats not in London.

The Manor
148 Clapham Manor St
SW4 6BX

      
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10 comments

  1. The Manor looks amazing, it's definitely on my bucket list! I forward to hearing more about your collaborations, lovely.
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

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  2. The food looks fabulous - great photos! Have you tried out the Dairy from the same guys? That's pretty special too. Interesting reading about Yelp, they're popping up more & more I notice!

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  3. OMG! Yes please! Looks amazing :) xxx

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  4. The ice cream looks incredible! Excited to hear more about your events!
    x

    www.ellebloggs.com

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  5. Oooh it looks so delish! That sundae!!!

    And huge congrats on the Yelp partnership - brilliant news!

    C x | Lux Life

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  6. OH my gosh this looks amazing! I'm so hungry right now!

    Amazing news on your partnership - congrats!

    Lauren xx
    www.thelifestylediaries.com

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  7. Wow, I need a dedicated dessert bar in my house. Just checked out Yelp as I hadn't used it much before, and it looks great - seriously extensive! As someone that reads every review going before I try a new place, it'll be really helpful. Congrats on the collab!

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  8. This all sounds very exciting but I'm totally distracted by that damn sundae OMG it looks incredible! Good luck with the collab xx

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  9. Ohh this sounds lovely! The ice cream looks amazing! :D

    www.gingerbreadsmiles.co.uk
    xox

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  10. Mmmmmm YUM The Manor looks incredible & I'd be well up for DIY ice cream desserts!
    Congrats on the collaboration too! x
    Simone @ www.theaussieflashpacker.com

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