★★★★ Sparrow – Review
Better late than never, we finally checked-out Lewisham’s Sparrow…
Whether you’re up for sharing, or feeling rebellious, the Sparrow menu is stacked with dishes as easy on the tastebuds as they are on the eye.
On a rainy Wednesday evening (is there any other type of Wednesday evening?), we took refuge from the filthy weather to savour the mighty fine cooking at Lewisham’s Sparrow restaurant.
Husband-and-wife team Terry Blake and Yohini Nandakumar have been feeding the discerning foodies of Lewisham for a few years now, but to our shame this was our first time.
The ever-changing, seasonal menu is littered with delicious sounding dishes, though to be honest we’re a little tired of the sharing plates concept. The selection of small plates on offer do offer themselves well to sharing, but the larger plates read (and are priced) more like standard mains. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you choosing a dish just for one, but keep in mind that the food will arrive as and when it’s ready.
Once we’d decided to share small plates and hog big plates one each, we could relax and let the food roll in. The Paneer Croquettes were deep-fried balls of cheesy goodness, satisfyingly crunchy on the outside, while perfectly ripe grilled pears came hidden beneath a sticky, chewy pile of roasted parsnips and crumbled soft blue cheese. Even the simple things – dishes of broccoli with blackened beans & shavings of coconut, and crisp courgette tempura – were excellent. Plates were cleaned.
Away from the cheese, an alluringly dark puddle of Cuttlefish Risotto was top-notch (and went resoundingly unshared!), while a bitter salad of leaves and soft Jerusalem artichokes brought some lightness to proceedings (and arterial relief, though to be fair all the dishes wholesome whilst also packing in the flavours).
Our carnivorous dining companions devoured dishes of melt-in-the-mouth Massaman beef cheek curry and perfectly pink-in-the-middle lamb chops – we’ll take their word for it that the meat dishes were very much up to standard of everything else on offer.
To finish, a soporific (read perfect) sticky date pudding doused in cream and glistening in the candlelight for as long as it survived on the plate, and a gloriously chewy condensed milk ice cream similarly doused in an espresso shot to really get the blood flowing. The stuff that wet and windy night are really intended for.
There were a couple of service hiccups – a very long wait for the beef curry, which arrived after all the other dishes had been eaten, highlighted one of the pitfalls of the ‘it comes when it’s ready’ approach, while a simple ice cream was forgotten. In both cases, however, the waiting staff dealt with things quickly, efficiently, and with warmth.
Excellent, elegant food in a small but atmospheric restaurant – a little pricey for the area, but also the best food we’ve had in Lewisham in a long time.