This time it I have gone a little bit local, a little bit South-West. Apologies to those of you who live north of the river but this time the sleepy, green south is in the spotlight. Despite having the delightful Northcote Road literally on my doorstep in Battersea, I don't always use it and prefer to go into Central London for a modern and non-chain restaurant. So it was exciting to hear that new independent French-fusion restaurant would be opening on Battersea Rise over the summer. And that excitement was justified.
Perched towards the top of Battersea Rise towards Clapham Common is Sinabro. An unassuming and quiet restaurant from outside, without so much as a sign board, but with hints of a clean, modern restaurant and its' feature bar through the glass facade.
Sinabro was opened in June by husband and wife team; French Chef Yoann Chevet and his wife Sujin Lee from South Korea ('Sinabro' translates from Korean as 'slowly but surely without noticing').
Chevet worked for 20 years in Michelin-starred restaurants in London and Paris and travelled the world with Lee. As a result, Sinabro very much celebrates fine French food with a variety of influences and creative flair for Chevet's first solo project.
We decided to try it for lunch one Saturday and were so impressed we went back a few weeks later.
The restaurant is extremely intimate, with only 28 covers, 16 of which are at the beautiful wavy wooden bar that sits at the centre of the narrow restaurant over-looking the open kitchen – echoing an Asian street food restaurant and representing the coming together of the couples’ influences. A take on fine French food served in an intimate and sharing environment.
Chevet works away in full view of diners as Lee greets and serves in a flawless manner - she is extremely warm, welcoming and attentive.
The restaurant is beautiful. Simple but warm, modern and with trendy features - the blown glass light bulbs over the bar, the white brick tiles, stainless steel kitchen, silver walls and quirky modern art created by steel discs from mechanical kitchen equipment. It is small, intimate, relaxed and definitely a new cool addition to this part of London.
The best thing, however, is the food. On both of the Saturdays we visited, lunch turned into a delicious brunch.
As soon as we sat down at the end of the long bar we were given tasty homemade bread, which was shortly followed by an amuse bouche of a delicate olive crispy wafer. We watched eagerly as Chevet and his young sous chef worked methodically in front of us.
I love brunch; it is my favourite meal but just occasionally the options on offer can get ever so slightly boring and samey. The menu at Sinabro, however, is creative and varied. Everything on the menu sounds appealing and delicious and the pairing of ingredients is carefully considered.
On our first visit I chose the scrambled egg with asparagus, bacon and parmesan. It was delicious and was cleanly presented. Perfectly buttery scrambled egg with salty bacon, fresh asparagus and creamy parmesan definitely hit the spot for a refreshing take on a lazy Saturday brunch. My other half had a good old French classic - the Croque Monsieur and as he is quite a fan of this humble favourite I take it on good authority that it is one of the best he has had.
Being more of a sophisticated brunch than the average fry-up, it seemed right to order dessert. Choux pastry, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce....what is not to like? It tasted as good as it sounds and again it was beautifully presented. At the end of the meal we were each given a little homemade shortbread which was another lovely touch and then another biscuit with coffee. We left feeling extremely welcomed, looked-after and definitely wanting to return.
We did about a month later, when the restaurant had been open for about 3 months. It was still as quiet as it was the previous Saturday lunch time we visited, which is in stark contrast to the restaurant, so full it is bursting at its' small seams come the evening.
Again, the service was faultless and very welcoming by Lee. Chevet was once more working away in the kitchen, although this time alone.
This time I went for my new ultimate in comfort food - Egg 'Cocotte' which came with celeriac purée and delicious Chanterelle mushrooms. It really was fantastic. A modern take on baked eggs, a warm gooey egg yolk was served beautifully presented on a spoon resting on the light celeriac foam with wild mushrooms and Chanterelles encased in a rich, buttery sauce. The combination of ingredients and flavours was perfection and every mouthful a treat.
Sinabro is a low-key gem waiting to be discovered in this part of London. A Michelin trained chef; a perfect host; a very dedicated couple of owners and an exciting menu. It is the coolest and one of the smartest restaurants in the area and I would thoroughly recommend it for brunch, lunch or dinner. Several local friends have visited for dinner and the only criticism I have heard is that the portions are not big enough!
I would happily travel across London for that Egg 'Cocotte' any day.