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Our Recommendation: Restaurant in Clapham: Bistro Union on Abbeville road

Bistro Union in Clapham

Bistro Union in Clapham

Abbeville Road in Clapham is a quintessentially traditional corner of London which has long exuded a slightly nostalgic British charm from its tree lined pavements, sash windows and rustic eateries.  However, the street is certainly no little-visited rustic bolthole: in fact, as Clapham Common Estate Agents James Pendleton can attest, Clapham is a magnet for professionals and families looking for a vibrant, well connected neighbourhood with character.

It is this combination of modernity and appreciation of the classics that makes Bistro Union stand out.  The latest venture from Adam Byatt of Trinity Restaurant Clapham fame, this local eatery successfully combines the quality of Trinity dining with the neighbourhood ambiance of Abbeville Road.

Bistro Union, like its Clapham Old Town counterpart, comes highly recommended by James Pendleton Estate Agents’ Clapham Common team and is firmly established as the place to go for British food with a sophisticated twist.  Don’t hesitate to head to Abbeville Road for a superb weekend Brunch or relaxed evening meal!

We spoke to Assistant Restaurant Manager Craig Gordon about what makes Bistro Union tick.

  1. How long has Bistro Union been in Abbeville Road and do you feel you’ve settled in?

We’ve been open for just over a year,we opened in February 2012 and have settled in well.  I think that’s primarily because our ethos reflects that of Abbeville road as a whole: a respect for quality, local food and a dedication to community is what separates us from national chains and Abbeville road residents really appreciate the difference.

2. How far did Trinity Restaurant’s successes inform the ethos and design of Bistro Union?

Our sister restaurant, Trinity, has been locally established since 2006 and chef and co-owner  Adam Byatt’s food is nationally acclaimed.  Bistro Union was created to combine the quality of cooking established at Trinity with hearty, comforting British staples in a relaxed and friendly setting.  A lot of the retweets we get on Twitter come from well fed people happy to have tried one of our traditional-with-a-twist dishes, such as our shepherd’s pie which is served with a bone marrow and rosemary garnish which is set alight for serving.  Everything our team have learned at Trinity feeds into Bistro Union and vice versa.

3. Describe a typical day at Bistro Union

No two days are the same – that’s why I love this job, but it makes describing a typical day difficult as there isn’t one!  The most important parts of any day are the team meetings.  We set up as a team in the morning and before every service the entire team meets to discuss the day’s menu.  This not only ensures we provide a harmonious seasonal menu but also gives the chefs a chance to describe the menu in their own words to Front of House, who can then properly explain to our guests what goes into every dish.

4. What is your favourite meal of the day and which meal would you choose from your menu?

My favourite meal at Bistro Union is the staff dinner, which the entire team sits down to share at around 5pm.  It’s usually fairly quiet at this time of day (post lunch, pre evening meal) and if you visit us while the team are eating you may well see some of the team eating and talking together around one of our tables-there’s a real ‘family’ atmosphere at Bistro Union.

5. How often do you change your menu?

Our snack menu changes daily and our à la carte menu changes according to what’s in season.  We also make our own flavoured spirits and offer seasonal drinks such as our current rhubarb Bellini (fresh pureed rhubarb with rhubarb infused gin and Prosecco).  We’re currently offering both our seasonal drinks and our daily snacks free to new home buyers in conjunction with James Pendleton Estate Agents’ Clapham Common and Clapham South offices.

6. How would you describe the character of Abbeville Road?

Abbeville road has a particular reputation as a corner of South West London with a village character and an emphasis on quality food.  In fact, the area has become so synonymous with good places to eat that we get quite a few ‘food tourists’ at weekends looking to sample both the food and the atmosphere.  All the local businesses know each other and will happily pass on tips and recommendations to visitors, which adds to the ambiance.

Local residents are also out in their droves at lunchtimes, weekends and evenings, and we’ve just introduced a take away coffee service (all drinks £2) which is making our mornings busier!  At weekends we offer a full cooked breakfast, fresh orange juice and hot drink for £12, which proves popular with locals and visitors alike.

7. What advice would you give to people moving to the Clapham Common area?

My advice is: walk as much as possible!  Exploring the area on foot is by far the best way to discover what Clapham really has to offer and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can walk to Wandsworth, Battersea and Tooting from Abbeville Road.

Craig Gordon, Manager of Bistro Union Clapham

Craig Gordon, Manager of Bistro Union Clapham

Bistro Union are kindly offering free drinks and bar snacks to new home buyers alongside James Pendleton Estate Agent’s South West London based after sales care department.

Find out more about the James Pendleton Estate Agents Angel service.

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Best Local Businesses: Cake Boy

At the heart of Battersea and with a fantastic view over the Thames, Cake Boy has brought sophisticated baking to SW18 and combines delicious treats with practical advice.  Cake Boy is the place to go for wedding parties, group outings and one on one baking tuition, and our Wandsworth Town team have been known to pop in for lunchtime coffee and cake!  Eric Lanlard, master patissier and owner of Cake Boy Eric Lanlard has kindly agreed to answer our questions, and the interview below will also be appearing in September’s edition of Village magazine.

Eric Lanlard, owner of Cake Boy

1.       What two tips would you offer the aspiring patissier?

You must approach baking in a completely different way –  as we say in France “Pastry is like chemistry”.  Everything must be weighed precisely and you must follow the recipe for best results.  Start by learning the basics like sponges, pastries and creams before going straight in to making anything too elaborate –  such as wedding or birthday cakes.  A cake must taste as good as it looks!

2.       A difficult question but: which of your delicious desserts is your favourite?

My juniper tarte tatin – I adore everything about this recipe …the golden flaky pastry, the caramelised pears with the juniper.   I love the drama – I bring it straight form the oven and then tart it out of the pan at the table with the delicious steam and juices pouring out of the pan.  A spoonful of crème fraiche is the only thing that is needed and it’s the perfect accompaniment.  

3.       You’re bringing a fantastic range of baking ideas and events to South West London-what has South West London brought you?

I arrived from France and went straight to South London and  have never really left!  I like the village atmosphere and yet it is so close to the City.  The huge, green spaces.  I live between the commons and am spoilt for choice with a great selection of local restaurants, pubs, boutiques and food shops.  It’s a hub and is full of creative and inspiring people.

4.       What are your favourite Battersea hangouts?

For my French fix I go to “Gazette” bistro.   I enjoy their proper French cooking, quirky serving ideas and their wine list is great.  My favourite pub is The Ship – everything from the delicious food, beers, friendly and unpretentious staff – you never know which famous face  you are going to bump into. For the best fish and chips in London you cannot beat Brady’s – fresh fish that is  lightly battered and perfect chips.  Luke Brady, the owner is the perfect host

5.       If Battersea was a cake, what would it be like?

Battersea would be a Croquembouche – a traditional French wedding Cake.  As visually it is different and very attractive.  You have to break through to discover he amazing delicious creamy centre  …and it’s addictive!  Which very much sums up Battersea to me!

Cake Boy Lounge