This deservedly popular Clapham local, a self-styled ‘quintessentially British bistro’, excels at savoury snacks and Anglo-American-French comfort food.
This self-styled ‘quintessentially British bistro’ succeeds on so many levels. The staff are chummy and welcoming; the room looks rustic and quirky, with stripped floorboards, an appealing grey, white and yellow colour scheme and cutlery kept in drawers under the tables; and there’s a very enticing selection of bar nibbles, own-made preserves and fruit gins on display that sets the tone for the slightly homespun approach of the kitchen. Snacks (available all day) include cheese and Marmite straws, anchovy toasts, pickled sardines, and smoked pig’s cheek with cornichons – slightly bitter and umami flavours are a recurring theme through these. The main courses lean more towards Anglo-American-French comfort food: salt beef hash with fried egg and pickles (part of the Sunday brunch offering), Middlewhite pork faggots with ‘bashed neeps’, and a mac ’n’ cheese that contained soft shards of leek and was crisply gratinated. The puds are more firmly on British soil: rhubarb trifle, say, or apple crumble. Note that the tall wooden stools at the bar can’t be booked – and these offer the best spectator seats. Deservedly popular locally, Bistro Union is the second Clapham venture from Adam Byatt, who runs smart French restaurant Trinity in Clapham Old Town.