You don’t really go to the Blackstock Road expecting bistros or wine bars, so Top Cuvée is a welcome addition to the area, and was already doing a lively trade on the cold autumn weeknight of our visit. Outside, lashing rain obscured the view of the Arsenal Tavern opposite (no bad thing), inside, the space was warm and cosy, with a friendly, easy-going vibe (a very good thing). And the short but well-planned menu was even better.
Choosing from charcuterie and an appealing range of small plates, we were treated to well-timed courses that worked well both as individual dishes and as a rounded menu. A creamy celeriac-and-apple remoulade with candied walnuts offered a delightful mix of sharp and sweet, ahead of a generous plate of smoky tenderstem broccoli with almonds and paprika. And the salsa verde accompanying a mackerel fillet was more than a match for the depth of flavour of the fish. There were, sadly, a few duff notes; a veggie cassoulet was bland and a bavette steak tough and underseasoned, but on a street where options aren’t limited, this one, capped off with a good (if pricy) wine selection, is still a winner.