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A converted 1930s garage in residential Stoke Newington provides the unlikely setting for this French-inspired neighbourhood favourite. Large concertina doors open on to the street in summer, encouraging punters to venture outside. Inside, all is dimly lit, cosy utilitarianism, with a large communal table and benches running alongside the open kitchen. Top-quality, seasonal ingredients are used to simple, stunning effect. A handful of daily dishes are written on the blackboard: perhaps a fresh, zesty plateful of squid, lemon, capers and parsley, or clams in a rich wine, garlic and parsley sauce – perfect for mopping up with sourdough. To follow, rare yet tender grouse with stuffing and a creamy bread sauce might provide a late-summer treat. All entries on the ever-changing wine list (also chalked up) are available by the glass. Bookings are only taken face-to-face, and nearby competition is sparse, so Primeur is frequently packed: it looks primed for success. Primeur welcomes reservations in person, but not by telephone.
The website for Primeur gives very little away – the only bit of helpful information is that they only take ‘face to face reservations’. Even the map is so vague you’d need a degree in orienteering to find the place. But I somehow managed to end up there (it’s somewhere between Highbury and Islington and Canonbury) for a weeknight dinner and found it rather charming.Based in an old garage called Barnes Motors on an eerily quiet residential street, it felt every bit a ‘neighbourhood restaurant’. The old garage shutter is still in use, meaning on a balmy evening the whole front opens up which is a really lovely...
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