Alex Jackson first worked with Stevie Parle at Dock Kitchen before heading up the kitchen at Rotorino. He has recently brought his culinary expertise East to open up his first solo venture, Sardine, with a concept inspired by the flavours and recipes from the South of France region.
It is a modest restaurant, tucked away on Micawber Street, nearby to Old Street Station. The dining room has a homely feel, with colourful bunches of flowers on each table and a mural on the back wall. We visited on a quiet Sunday morning to try the weekend brunch menu.
With so many London establishments offerings brunch now it is easy to get overwhelmed by where to dine on your precious weekends. Sardine has a regularly changing menu which certainly doesn’t follow the crowd. Extravagant dishes such as Artichoke, Egg, Tuna & Tomatoes Nicoise and Onglet Steak with Fried Egg and Trompette de la Mort feature.
After a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a much-needed French Press coffee we turned our attention to the menu of tempting treats. First we opted for a plate of the sweetest late summer figs with yoghurt and honey, which was topped with fragrant dried rose petals, a delicious combination. Struggling to choose, we ordered a few hot dishes to sample: 24 Month Comte Fried Sandwich, Potato Cakes with Herbs, Creme Fraiche and Pickles and a Breakfast Cassoulet.
The food was a triumph, high quality ingredients, cooked to perfection. The fried comte sandwich is must, oozing mature, nutty flavoured cheese, I could have happily had it for lunch every day this week. Potato cakes were lighter, and with the creamy sauce and pickles felt almost Scandinavian in style. Cassoulet was a bold and luxurious dish, packed with white beans, pork belly, duck, blood sausage and egg, balanced in taste and texture, but a bit too much for a morning meal for me.
With family from Provence I feel very fondly about the traditional cuisine from this special area of the world. Sardine encapsulates the vibrant colours and flavours of the cote d’azur, which will make you dream of warmer climes whilst sitting in a rather more grey corner of East London.
More information and book a table here.