What: A large restaurant, oyster bar and bakery in London’s Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms that sits opposite the new American Embassy.
Who: Darby’s is the creation of Irish chef Robin Gill and his wife Sarah, the power couple behind brilliant neighbourhood restaurants The Dairy, Counter Culture and Sorella in Clapham. The kitchen is headed up by chef Dean Parker, with whom Robin opened The Dairy in 2013, and Sorella in 2018, with Emma Underwood having joined the team from Mayfair restaurant Stem to leading front of house.
The food: Open from breakfast through dinner, Darby’s has an extensive menu. Early morning dishes include the Darby’s ‘full Irish’ breakfast; waffles, cultured cream, maple syrup; as well as croissants and pastries made in house, while the lunch and dinner menu kicks off with snacks such as lobster brioche roll; truffle arancini; and pork and fennel salumi with starters including an interesting and delicious beef fillet tartare mixed with bone marrow and chestnut mushrooms; pappardelle veal ragu; and Jersey milk ricotta, almond and flat white peach. Mains all come from the grill - although starters such as the pasta are available in mains sizes - with a short selection of turbot, monkfish, various cuts of Dexter beef and Blackface lamb. Specials on our visit included a whole 1kg turbot and a 1kg Highland beef steak, both to share. Darby’s piece de resistance is its central oyster bar, with two different oysters on at present - Black Water Wild and Dooncastle - the former also available cooked with seaweed butter.
The vibe: Darby’s takes its cues from the bars of Manhattan during the 1950s and is a big, bright impressive space. The central bar divides the room to create a bar area to the front of the restaurant that has an outside terrace while the dining room is light and spacious with banquette seating. The size of the space means that it will be reliant on begin busy in order to create the buzz the dining room cries out for and so far this has been achieved, with the place humming front and back on our visit.
And another thing: Darby’s takes its name from Robin’s jazz musician father, Earl ‘Darby’ Gill, with the restaurant celebrating his time spent touring the US and frequenting the bars of Manhattan in the 50s and early 60s. And yes, there will be live music at Darby’s.
No 3 Viaduct Gardens, London