Sonny’s should get some kind of medal for longevity of service; it’s been sating the appetites of Barnes’ residents since 1986. After a few years of slightly under-par performance, decor and menu (and name) had a revamp in 2012, courtesy of restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas and chef Philip Howard (of the Square); both live nearby.
The layout – café and bar at the front, restaurant in the sunken rear area – hasn’t changed, but the look is fresher and more modern; happily, the eclectic art collection remains. The succinct menu offers a half-dozen or so choices each for starters, mains and desserts plus a trio of grilled meat dishes (baby back ribs, burger, ribeye) and another of pizzas – we’re not convinced by the overall balance, but it’s still a popular spot for many occasions, from low-key suppers to family celebrations.
Succulent pan-fried calf’s liver worked well with rich creamed potatoes and balsamic-glazed red onions; roast pollack, with razor clams, barba di frate, leeks and lardo di colonnata was also cooked with care, but lacked excitement. Best was a pillowy passionfruit soufflé with sharp lime ice-cream, much better than a dull rice pudding with rhubarb compote. Staff are pleasant but not always engaged. Next door, Sonny’s deli deals in upmarket packaged (and some fresh) foodstuffs.