Le Dîner Gastronomique Chez Vous
Remember ye anciente days of olde when we went to restaurants? Now restaurants come to us. Service? That’ll be a knock at the door. Carriages? That’ll be a walk down the bedroom corridor. A mere 45 years ago, James Sherwood’s Discriminating Guide to Fine Dining and Shopping in London didn’t list any restaurants on Battersea Rise. The nearest mentioned was Five Five Five once on that same number on Battersea Park Road. The Guide records, “The cuisine is described as Central European, although many of the starters are more familiar to Battersea than Romania.”
Mr Sherwood knew his onions (fried, pickled and sautéed): he founded Orient-Express Hotels. The hotelier wasn’t afraid to give the two finger salute either to establishments in his “Not For Us” section. Bentley’s on Swallow Street and diagonally opposite on Piccadilly, The Ritz Dining Room, both suffered this fate (they have since changed hands). What was so bad about Bentley’s? An “overcooked entrecôte” and “lukewarm broccoli”, apparently. And The Ritz? “Tough overcooked roasts”, allegedly. Oh, and rather bravely, he named and shamed a further 118 restaurants which failed to meet his exacting standards. Other lighter categories include “Where to Eat in Blue Jeans” (Alvaro, a King’s Road Italian, and Pimlico, another Italian in – you guessed it – Pimlico; both confined to the history of hospitality), and “Where to Eat If You Have Come Into an Inheritance” (Mayfair hotels Claridge’s and The Connaught – some things never change). James Sherwood died 11 days ago.
Fast forward four and a half decades and Battersea Rise is rammed with restaurants. Our perennial favourite – and we are fervent Francophiles – is the six year old Sinabro. One thing for sure: the late critic would award Sinabro Two Stars (his top accolade). A pop up food and wine shop for now, owners Yoann Chevert and Sujin Lee chime, “We are keeping our delivery menu simple but will change it very often. Enjoy upscale gourmet cuisine in the comfort of your own home. Bon appétite et très bientôt!” We stick to our pescatarian roots and order seatrout with toasted almonds and baby gem salad, complete with a personalised presentation note. Summer on a plate, so to speak. There’s plenty more to order tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow, from homemade pickles and potato terrine to chocolate babka and strawberry tart. This service has legs. C’est bon, c’est très bon.