RESTAURANT REVIEW: BISTRO UNION, CLAPHAM
40 Abbeville Road, Clapham SW4 9NG; 020 7042 6400
Abbeville Road’s Bistro Union certainly looks the part of a popular neighbourhood restaurant with rustic stripped floorboards combined with a contemporary grey, yellow and blue colour scheme — and it has a welcoming atmosphere to boot. Sipping a seasonal cocktail, my guest and I shared a selection of Bistro Union’s monthly changing snacks as starters. If you’re peckish but not in the market for a three-course meal, you can turn up and order a selection of snacks from the bar (no reservation needed). Snacks when we visited included perfectly pickled cockles, slow-cooked ham hock terrine and naughty-but-nice cured beef fat on toast with a parsley salad. At £3 and £5 each, the high-quality snacks are excellent value. If you prefer a traditional starter, modern British options include Norfolk Asparagus with Herb Vinaigrette (£7) and Cornish Mussels cooked in Perry (£8).
Bistro Union’s sommelier recommended two English wines for my guest and I to try with our meals. A glass of Hush Heath Estate rosé went wonderfully with the impressive-looking Day Boat Squid with Parsley Salad, Capers and Aioli (£16). With a delectably smoky taste, the grilled squid was complemented by the aioli and a side order of beautifully cooked chips. A glass of dry white went wonderfully with my tender and juicy leg of Swaledale lamb, served with a minty fresh courgette and saffron salad. Couples and families joined us for a mid-week snack or supper and we sat comfortably, chatting away and full of compliments to the chef. The affable Bistro Union team have the balance just right. So right, we stayed for dessert despite knowing it was entirely unnecessary. Lemon meringue pie was punchy and sweet and a selection of ice cream scoops sealed the deal.
Bistro Union is the second Clapham venture of local resident Adam Byatt (the first is Clapham Old Town’s fine dining restaurant Trinity). While offering two very different menus and price points, Adam’s contribution to Clapham’s food scene should be celebrated — ideally in his quintessentially British bistro or fine-dining French restaurant.