Cooking with real heart in a laid back space
Southern European| RR | £££
Sardine is patronised by Stevie Parle of The Dock Kitchen + Rotorino but the chef at the helm is Alex Jackson, who worked at both these restaurants and has now set up his own thing. The cuisine is inspired by S.Euro cooking, so think Provence, Italy and Spain. The beef onglet I had was flawless; the brown butter tart sublime.
BASIC OR BOUGIE? Basic
SERVICE IS Sleek, Casual, V. Friendly
TRY The Beef Onglet
GROUPS Up to 14 ppl
THE FULL SHEBANG
Sardine is a 10mins walk from Old Street, tucked away on an unassuming street (Micawmber Street) so definitely not somewhere you’re likely to stumble upon.
Not a huge space but not tiny either, there’s a bar to your right as you walk in, then a long communal zinc table that occupies the centre, facing the open plan kitchen. Individual tables occupy the back wall of the restaurant with spherical lights hanging from the ceiling. Colour is brought to the space via the retro tiled bar and kitchen island unit, wild flowers and an illustration on the back wall. All in all, It’s a casual contemporary space.
FOOD & SERVICE
So, Sardine is patronised by Stevie Parle of The Dock Kitchen and Rotorino but the chef at the helm is Alex Jackson, who worked at both aforementioned restaurants and has now set up his own thang here.
Cuisine is inspired by Southern European cooking, so think Provence, Italy and Spain.
We went here for Sunday lunch and there were only 3 mains to pick from which made my choice quite straightforward. I opted for the beef onglet with white beans. Flawless. I relished every bite – tender chunks of beef enriched with what I guess must have been a salsa verde sauce on a bed of excellent olive oil. I gave up red meat for 15 years and didn’t think I was missing out on much- how naive I was – no disrespect or nothing but I really do feel this dish would convert the most staunch of vegetarians.
I didn’t think it could get better. I was on a food high, doing a little ‘Carlton’ dance in my head. I enquired about the dessert menu and the waitress mentioned they had one portion of brown butter tart left. I of course ordered it and goodness me what an absolute triumph – the combination with the dollop of whipped sour cream was quite simply perfect, like a little slice of heaven on one’s tongue. Genuinely, one of the best things I’ve eaten all year – I’d make a trip to Sardine for this naughty little tart alone.
I wasn’t quite full, so I also ordered the chocolate pot which had a thin layer of cream at the top and dried fruits wedged in the bottom which rounded the meal off quite nicely.
Honest proper food cooked, fucking well in a cool casual setting – I wholly subscribe. Service was super chilled and friendly.
We got there pretty much as the kitchen was winding down, so it wasn’t busy which suited our party of 3 well, a perfect lazy Sunday lunch with top quality food. Having a clear view of the kitchen gives the space an energy as you can see the sweat going into making your belly happy. I imagine it’d be buzzing like mad on a Fri/Sat night. If it’s not, then Londoners are missing out big time.
For a main plate, x2 puddings and a glass of sparkly, it came in at like 35 quid.
THE TAKE OUT
I found my meal at Sardine thoroughly enjoyable – you could taste the passion the guys in the kitchen put in the food. I liked the rustic presentation of the dishes which fitted the casual space Sardine occupies. High up on my return to list.