Sardine is a very cool restaurant. In fact, it’s so nosebleedingly trendy that we don’t even know what to call the part of East London in which it’s located. So we’ve decided to name it Old Angel Canal-ditch - we’re just waiting for Google to update maps with the name. It’s going to catch on. Just wait.
The restaurant itself is located on an industrial, art gallery-filled street, just across from the drive-through McDonalds right off City Road, and has all the elements you’d expect from the kind of place that would open in this kind of location. There’s a communal table, an artistic mural painted on the wall, and of course, an open kitchen. There’s even a semi-secret back door that puts you straight into two very famous galleries, without having to go outside.
If your reaction here is to say, “Sounds just like the sort of place I’d like,” then go on and get to Sardine. You’ll love it. But if your reaction to communal tables and secret doors to contemporary art galleries elicits an eye roll, we’re here to convince you that you’ll still really enjoy this restaurant.
First of all, once you actually enter Sardine, you’ll feel immediately transported from the concrete jungle into a warm, happy place. This restaurant seems to have a naturally sunny disposition, even when it’s cold, dark, and wet outside.
And the food is great. The short menu contains southern French-influenced cuisine that changes to match the seasons - which adds to the “we’re not in London anymore” feeling. Think fresh seafood grilled simply, a Marseilles-style bouillabaisse, or salads with cheese and figs. Order a glass of rose, and you might feel like you’re on the Cote d’Azur. But you’re not. You’re in the middle of nowhere London.
Sardine’s a great spot to bring anyone, but we particularly suggest bringing your mate who lives in Chelsea, is rarely impressed by anything, and might actually believe that a new neighborhood called Old Angel Canal-ditch exists.