I had given up on small plates, the joys of spending an evening, perched on uncomfortable, splintery wooden benches in the “hottest” new venue, dividing an egg yolk into five so everyone gets a taste, had palled. I visit Spain frequently and small plates, aka tapas , are something they do well there allowing for a raçion should a larger portion be needed. And while I had heard good, no wondrous , things about this new local place. “It’s in a garage, it serves low interventions wines, you can only book on twitter”, gentle reader my spirits were not lifted by such talk.
But I am nothing if not adventurous and greedy, Primeur is within walking distance from my home and folk I trusted insisted I would like it, so I duly booked a table using the @primeurbookings and invited two trusty friends to come along and try a supper of “small plates eaten in a garage with natural wines”
It was alright. In fact it was bloody marvellous. Everything about it was good, the greeting, the lovely staff, the room, the hum of contented diners. We had a table in the corner, many parties are seated at large comunenal tables which might be fun for a couple dining but not when you’re catching up with friends and want all the gossip.
The fact that I can’t remember the style of music must mean , that unusually, it was not loud. The menu changes daily, I would expect nothing else, and,as was explained to us, when a dish has gone, it’s gone.
I have always suffered from menu anxiety and seeing one of the wait staff with a wet rag removing the cuttle fish from the board just as we had decided to order it ramped my anxiety up a good couple of notches. We rapidly chose seven or eight dishes, fearful of missing out.
Ross helped us pick the wines, all of which are served by the glass, carafe and bottle. I like the fact that there was no difference in price between a glass and a bottle full of glasses, it seemed fair.
The food arrived in pretty quick order: Italian salami, the sweetest king crab legs I eaten, spicy aubergine, sweetbreads in green sauce and turbot with chard all making to the table in less than 20 minutes.
Another of my pet hates is to be told ” the food will arrive in no specific order just when it is ready” which I take to mean at the cooks convenience rather than the customers and for a moment I feared that all we had ordered would be ready for us to eat, no space on the table and growing cold. Before panic set in we asked the kitchen to hold our remaining dishes which they cheerfully did allowing us to enjoy the first wave, sip the excellent wine and catch up with ourselves before we signalled for the second round. Of these dishes the onglet with sauté potatoes was the star, meltingly tender with a proper beef flavour. Chicken, peas and lettuce was an elegant dish but a little underwhelming. For dessert we ate chocolate pot with peanut crunch, a buttery frangipane tart with great pastry and the well balanced cheese plate.
It was all good. I felt there was real talent in the kitchen, no one trying to show off just the desire to feed beautifully sourced, carefully cooked food with restraint and flare.
Primeur 116 Petherton Road London Walk ins welcome