Dalston’s landed an intimate, stripped back wine bar on the edge of Newington Green. Known as Cadet – because that’s its name – it’s located but a stone’s throw from Jolene, Lady Mildmay and Perilla, coming to us from two celebrated London wine lovers, Francis Roberts and Tom Beattie (who used to dish out the wine at Westerns Laundry, Bright and P Franco respectively, before setting up their own wine import business back in 2019) and cheesemonger-turned-fishmonger-turned butcher, George Jephson.
Together they dreamed of setting up a small, neighbourhood spot where they could combine their love of excellent wine with wonderful charcuterie. And lo and behold, that’s exactly what they’ve done.
The vibe here is very much “effortless cool”. It’s a simple, stripped-back space, where the food and drink do the talking. A large bar runs along one side, which you can sit up at if you’re keen to be close to the action. Otherwise there’s five or six high tables with stools for you to choose from. And at the back is a small, open kitchen where the other star of the show – Head Chef Jamie Smart – does his thing. And Jamie’s thing – a skill that he’s honed at several of London’s most revered restaurants (including Lyle’s, Brat, St John and Flor) is producing a deliciously small menu of Modern European dishes scribbled up in chalk behind the bar. Think chilled cucumber and hazelnut soup; boat-fresh sardines with a tomato vinaigrette; et un peu de mousse de canard (courtesy of George) with pickled cherries. The menu changes daily, based around the best local, seasonal produce the team can get their hands on, however the ethos remains the same: it’s feel-good food that’s good for you, and good for the planet. A lot like the wine, in fact…
… because wine guys Francis and Tom very much believe that what we eat and drink play a major part in how we feel. Which is why they set up their import business in the first place – to provide a platform for Europe’s leading natural wine producers (people who avoid chemicals and/or buy organically farmed fruit), and Cadet is essentially that business in physical form. They also want to make good wine more accessible which is why, alongside a longer wine list, they also have a regularly changing menu of wines by the glass which, like the food menu, is also scribbled up in chalk behind the bar. If you’re unsure of what to try, then you can either close your eyes, spin around and point at the blackboard – accepting whatever your finger ends up pointing at – or, perhaps more sensibly, ask Francis, Tom or whoever’s working that night to advise you.
Rest assured when it comes to wine…
…they’re very well drilled.
NOTE: Cadet is open Wed-Fri evenings, and all day on weekends. For more information, or to book, visit their website here.
Cadet | 57 Newington Green, London, N16 9PX
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