I had a lovely meal last night at the recently opened Sardine restaurant. Located at 15 Micawber Street N1, it’s just off City Road in the Old Street vicinity. Alex Jackson, protégé of Stevie Parle (Dock Kitchen, Rotorino and Craft London), opened this eatery only last week. They dish up good honest food inspired by the regions of Provence, Languedoc, parts of northern Spain and Italy. With simple ingredients and Southern French wood-fire cooking, it’s a winning combination. If you’re looking for restaurants near Old Street or places to eat near City Road book yourself a table at Sardine restaurant.
“Alex Jackson delivers rustic, hearty and good honest food from the farm houses of Provence and Languedoc to Londoners in Old Street,” Homegirl London
Sardine Restaurant Menu
This eatery is open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dishes are simple with few ingredients and rustic in presentation. The menu is limited but our party of four (two meat eaters, a fish eater and vegetarian) all found something to enjoy. You can order a few snacks to get you started. The broad bean toast was yummy, with garlic and mushed broad beans smothered over toast. It was very comforting and homely. However, if you order this you can do without the bread and butter because it’s similar but obviously without the broad beans!
Broad Bean Toast
The plate of saucisse seche, which is French dry cured sausage, was ordered by Robin who raved about it. Homeboy tried the radishes with crème fraiche and bottaga which is salted cure fish roe. This was a nice summery dish to start with. Otherwise you can order the onion and anchovy tart or olives.
Radishes with Crème Fraiche And Bottaga
For starters there are five options. I tried the Soupe au Pistou which is similar to pesto ingredients but without the pine nuts. It was very hearty with pieces of courgette and pasta included. Robin and Ness both had the roast quail with warm olive sauce which they thoroughly enjoyed. This small bird offers up a rich chicken come gamey taste if you haven’t eaten it before. Other dishes included a niscoise with artichoke, egg, tuna and tomatoes. There was a pork and veal stuffed tomato and clams with peas and French dry cured sausage.
Roast Quail with Warm Olive Sauce
There were five mains. I went for the only veggie option which thankfully wasn’t tofu! It was girolles with grilled polenta, crème fraiche and spinach. Girolles are golden chanterelles, a fungus (mushroom) with a funnel shape and meaty texture. The polenta was crispy on the outside which I love. The combination with the girolles and spinach was awesome. I thought this was a great vegetarian option, very satisfying indeed!
Girolles with Grilled Polenta, Crème Fraiche and Spinach
Ness and Homeboy went for the wild sea trout which was served on a bed of flat beans with a dash of aioli. The fish was cooked to perfection and super fresh. This got the thumbs up from both of them. The other fish option was red mullet, bream pastis, courgettes and mussels cooked in a parchment folded pouch. Meat wise it was lamb a la ficelle which is a south of France recipe where you cook a leg of lamb over an open fire. The leg usually hangs on a string and it slowly turns so it’s like a rotisserie. Or you can try the pork collar instead. There were three sides of domino potatoes which were very good, a green salad and ratatouille.
Wild Sea Trout, Flat Beans and Aioli
We shared a couple of desserts including the apricot and brown butter tart which had an amazing crust and was served warm. I just wish it was a bigger slice but then I do like desserts! The chocolate pot with brandy prunes and cream was brilliant. It was a very small pot with cream on top so at first I thought it was white chocolate which I am not a big fan of. Luckily I gave it a go and under the cream I found the milk chocolate and right at the bottom were the prunes. It was rich and decadent. The other options were a crepe with cherries, plums and apricot kernel ice cream or nougat ice cream with fennel biscuits.
Apricot and Brown Butter Tart
The boys all loved the cheese plate which had three varieties. Alex Jackson actually worked at Mons Cheesemongers where he learned about the craft of the affineur (a person who ages or matures cheese). So you are in good hands when you order the cheese board here!
You can order a cocktail which includes an Aix Dirty Martini or Midday in Paris. Wine included a selection of sparking (limited), white, red and rose. These were from Puglia, Sardinia, Languedoc and Sicily. There was no bottled water but you do get filtered tap water. The housemade sodas are worth a try which include a peppermint with lemon or rhubarb with lavender.
Sardine Restaurant Interiors
My friend Robin commented that this venue used to be a night club in a previous life and he should know because he’s been there! The restaurant is actually connected to the art gallery called Parasol. It is just off City Road and situated behind a McDonalds, so you might walk past without noticing. The ceiling to floor window features a neon sign bearing the restaurant’s name so keep your eyes open for that.
Inside through the door you find a small bar with a couple of stools. The restaurant space inside is small although it is the ideal size because it has a cozy feel. There are seats for just over forty people. One side has a leather banquet which is comfy. This is faced with wooden tables and bistro style dark wood chairs. In the centre is a long sharing table. The kitchen is open so you can see the chefs at work which I always find reassuring. Overall the interiors are contemporary yet homely and not in the least bit stuffy. I appreciated the nice cutlery and good quality serviettes. It’s a great place to enjoy a meal with foodie friends for dinner. The service was excellent, the staff were helpful and friendly.
Sardine Restaurant Information
Cuisine: Rustic food inspired by Provence, Languedoc, northern Spain and Italy
Price: Snacks £2.50-5, starters £7.50-9, mains £14-17, desserts £5.50-7 and cheese board £10
Website: Sardine Restaurant London
Address: 15 Micawber Street, London N1 7TB
Near: City Road and Old Street
Open: Breakfast 9-11, Weekend Breakfast 10-3, Lunch 12-3, Dinner 6-10, Closed Mondays
Seating: Around forty covers on one floor
Toilets: Towards the back
Service Charge: Yes
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London and Sardine. Thanks: Robin, Ness and Homeboy for the lovely evening. Hannah Norris for sending information and pictures requested.