160a Clapham High Street
Clapham, London
Tel: 020 7622 2288 Clapham Common 0.1 miles

Combining specialist foods from across Europe, chic design, and a welcoming atmosphere, this Clapham delicatessen has rapidly become popular among locals. Designed by Anand Zenz, Esca boasts beeswax-finished walls, funky light fittings and communal seating influenced by continental tradition. As well as the irresistible array of foods to eat in or take away, bespoke hampers are available for picnics on the common.

Esca Delicatessen, London Esca, Clapham High Street « 1 of 2 photos »

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Esca reviews

Overrated. Despite the attractiveness of the deli and restaurant, the food is pretty poor and the service just plain bad. There is no indication anywhere that you're supposed to order at the counter (even for a la carte). We received absolutely no direction from the staff, who pretty much ignored us. Our food was served cold. Really not worth the hype. Just pop down the road to Venn Street Market.

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 by tgamoore, 09 Apr 2012
A bit of a mish mash of reviews here hey! I have been frequenting Esca now for a couple of months and have found everything to be fab. I am aware that the key people are working hard in the background to make changes, since I hear the early morning conversations! Seems to be paying off.

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 by simontrilby, 05 Feb 2011
We (a gay couple) had coffee and cakes at Esca today. Found everything fine: food, service, coffee. Also had salads and quiche to take away. That too was excellent. We didn't hold hands or sit overly close, so didn't test the homophobia issue, but we'll definitely go again.

Useful review? 1
 by bollard, 02 Feb 2011
Had our second bad experience in Esca on Thursday evening. The food around the till where you pay was uncovered and we had to lean across the food to pay. The potato salad was in yoghurt (!)... I mean, if it's not in mayo, at least label it. The salad was bland and resembled something you would pass on to a friend with a hungry rabbit. The salmon fillets were bland. To top the lot, when we asked for butter for the bread, we were served a small dsh of butter that had curdled and was off.

On complaining about the butter, we were told by less than bothered staff that, and I quote: "Oh, it's the heat". She couldn't seem to grasp the fact that I had probably just digested a food product that was carrying enough dairy bacteria to develop an antibiotic. And when I mentioned the labelling of the potato salad would be helpful as most customers would assume it was in mayo, a blank look was coming back at me like I had just asked the million dollar question and her future career depended on the reply.

On Friday I telephoned and complained. Guess what, I am still awaiting a response. Sam, the manager, is off today (Saturday) - guess I'll have to wait until Monday when Lambeth's Health and Safety are back at work!

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 by anita.agolini, 20 Mar 2010

This is the first review I've ever written, and am only doing so because I am so outraged and upset that this kind of behaviour can still happen... firstly in London, and secondly in a gay-friendly area such as Clapham Common.

My partner and I were enjoying a coffee, sitting close to each other and holding hands, when we were approached by a waitress who told us that she did not have a problem with us being gay, but that some of the clients might be offended and that it would be appreciated if we could be more discreet.

If we were behaving in the same manner but were a heterosexual couple no one would have blinked twice, but the fact that we are a same-sex couple seems to have bothered the waiting staff enough for them to confront us about it. If in fact a client had complained, then still the waiting staff should be mature enough to know how to handle the situation better. But the fact that they felt they were in the right to approach us, suggesting that we do not sit so close to each other and hold hands, must surely mean that to them we were in the wrong.

We were in no way breaking the law, we were in no way stepping out of any social etiquette in terms of public displays of affection. This is purely homophobia and lack of management skills.

The coffee was fine, but the staff’s behaviour killed the mood for us and we promptly made our way out, as we were obviously not welcome; only because two men who care for each other can’t be affectionate with each other in public in the most accepting city in the world.

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 by HClondon, 25 Nov 2009
Esca is a great place to go, especially for the cakes! The chefs make everything fresh on the day. The staff are great - busy sometimes, but I always find them helpful. I would recommend this place to anyone.

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 by anitafermo, 22 Sep 2009
We went there recently and the food looked delicious and the cakes we tried most certainly were. The staff I'm afraid were not terribly helpful and were in fact downright miserable!

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 by mickeyclapm, 17 May 2009
Yes, whatever you've read used to be true. Now, one needs to be lucky to get food fresh. Usually all salads are stale and so 'well-preserved' that veg go stale and oils rancid. I guess the credit crunch affected their sales and their pantrys. Pity though. Not cooked on the premises food and everything else is very good.

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 by 07957543817, 10 Dec 2008
Great place to meet your friends and have a nice and calm chat. The food is great and staff are sweet.

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 by basel_nagy, 15 Nov 2008
Super deli, super food, super place, great design - I love it!!

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 by Yrtsap (2 reviews), 11 Dec 2007
My favourite deli in London. Love the atmosphere. Check out those huge pats of butter on the table!

Useful review? 1
 by cathiz, 01 Jul 2007
Great fresh salads and hot specials, including really tasty jerk chicken and salmon dishes. The cakes which line the front window are also amazing.

Useful review? 1
 by bam (8 reviews), 24 Nov 2006

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