Maybe it’s better to write a review some time after you’ve dined at the restaurant. If it is good, it is memorable. I eat out a lot and I can’t remember all the mediocre meals, especially since I cannot even remember where I’ve put my keys half the time. it’s the good ones and the abysmal ones that stick. Even months later, Sardine and the dishes we had linger in my memory – in a good way.
It is sort of oddly placed – on city road, between Angel and Shoreditch, at the bottom of an apartment block. My boyfriend used to live in that block and we passed by Sardine all the time, incredibly intrigued, as you could smell the Mediterranean flavours from outside and it was always buzzing with people. One evening we finally went in, greeted with friendly and charming French staff in a chic decor with pastel tiles and warm wood (the bathroom is just so lovely as well).
The food was marvelous. I loved it because it was uncomplicated and it was comfortable. So many chefs boast about simple dishes that make the ingredients shine, all the while serving roast beets in the form of a Pollock painting with gels and dehydrated powders. No, when a dish uses an encyclopedias-worth of ingredients you are no longer making the main ingredient shine.
Sardine’s not about that. It’s not clever cooking, it’s not wowing with presentation, it’s not theater — it’s sourcing incredible fish, grilling it to perfection and serving it with a dollop of fresh tapenade that is layered with flavors. It’s a rustic dish of lamb that has been cooked over open flames for hours beside a mass of white beans perfumed with herbs. It’s cooking from the South of France that is aromatic, colorful and filled with passion.
My favorite of the night was one of the snacks – baby octopus stewed in spicy tomato sauce served on top of piece of sweet potato. It was one of those dishes that made you all warm and fuzzy on the inside, and the only shame was that it came in the portion of a snack.
The only slight downside was the dessert – the damson ripple ice cream was tart and fresh, and while perhaps it was served at too cold a temperature, I still enjoyed it very much. But then it came with a fennel biscotti that was flat and chewy and lifeless.
That said, I can’t wait to go back. They also do breakfast and the menu features a comte toastie.
15 Micawber Street, London N1 7TB
Breakfast: 10:30 – 11:30
Lunch: 12 – 15
Dinner: 18 – 22
Closed Monday Lunch
+44 (0) 20 7490 0144