The legacy of Irish trumpeter and band leader Earl “Darby” Gill will be immortalised from this month when a new oyster bar, bakery and grill opens in Nine Elms, named Darby’s after the musician, chef-owner Robin Gill’s late father. Following the success of The Dairy, Counter Culture and Sorella, their trio of culinary classics in Clapham, Robin and his wife Sarah are venturing to Embassy Gardens in Battersea – close to the new US Embassy and high-end residential riverside developments.
“My dad certainly knew how to have a good time, and a lot of that time was spent frequenting the bars of Manhattan,” says Robin, who has worked under Raymond Blanc. As such, cocktails will include The Kentucky Darby, a take on a mint julep, as well as the Spud Sour – a nod to Robin’s upbringing in Ireland.
Darby’s, which opens on Monday May 27, will be open from 8am until late, with a menu of live music every evening Monday to Saturday. Breakfast means mushrooms on sourdough toast (£11.50), waffles, cultured cream and maple syrup (£8) and Darby’s full Irish (£12), while lunchtimes in the bakery will offer a selection of sandwiches such as Darby’s own mortadella and Jersey milk ricotta on ciabatta (£5) and smoked salmon and pickle cucumber on seeded sourdough (£6).
In the evening, starters will include Welsh farmer Tom Jones’ Dexter beef tartare, bone marrow and St George mushrooms (£12) and truffled Baron Bigod cheese with fig and walnut toast with honey.
But it’s the oyster bar that will take centre stage, with a selection of Ireland’s finest Dooncastle oysters (£4) and oysters cooked over embers with pickled seaweed (£4.50), alongside native seafood dishes such as mussels, with snacks of lobster brioche rolls and roe mayo (£13.50); Exmoor caviar with waffles and cultured cream (£27.50); and Angus veal bresaola (£7).
The grill will also be lit up for seafood mains such as Lady Hamilton cod on the bone (£15) and Brixham wild turbot (from £30). From the land, there will be Dexter rib on the bone with Worcester and mustard glaze (£70; 1kg for two people) and Oxford sandy black pig, caramelised apple glaze and coppa (£24). All of this can be rounded off with vodka-drowned lemon sorbet (£8), malted barley affogato and milk (£7.50) or cinnamon custard tart with Jersey milk gelato (£7). Music to the ears – and the tastebuds.