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Hidden down a side road in a rather unassuming part of Islington, Sardine’s classic, rustic Southern French cuisine jars with the industrial interior – the uninitiated wouldn’t know what to expect when walking in. With an 18-seat sharing table taking up most of the space, expect an intimate meal, cooked over a wood fire in an open kitchen. The too-hard butter that came with our bread wasn’t a great start, but a very enjoyable starter of tomatoes stuffed with pork and veal made up for the lack of spreading. For mains, onglet steak with Swiss chard gratin was beautifully tender, but dessert was the highlight: gorgeously thick ice cream studded with nougat chunks, served with fennel biscuits. The wine list is concise but well-curated, while prices are reasonable. On our visit the staff were friendly and the restaurant was bustling; a solid testament to the great food being served. Sardine is worth a visit for the inspired French cuisine, it’s just a shame the setting doesn’t reflect the menu.
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