Primeur translates as ‘freshness’, and while this Stokey restaurant has been open since 2014 (making it, therefore, ancient in London years), it’s still got plenty of that about it.
It was the first in what has since become a venerable lineage of restaurants – the sequel being Westerns Laundry in Drayton Park, followed by Jolene on Newington Green, and instant hit Fitzroy down in Cornwall – characterised by their focus on produce, excellent wines, and insouciant allure.
The allure at Primeur is derived primarily from the setting – a former garage, Barnes Motors, still in cracked painted lettering above the concertina doors (a real boon in summer). The place champions ‘low intervention’ wines, but this is really a philosophy that could be applied to the whole restaurant – the simple dining room is set with reclaimed 30s chairs from the Savoy Grill, tables are dressed with wildflowers and candlelight, and the daily changing menu is – as with all their restaurants – scrawled up on a blackboard.
That’s not to say it’s thrown together or done without love – the great magic at Primeur lies in the intricacy beneath the apparent simplicity. And while the menu – only numbering a dozen or so dishes – reads like a shopping list of ingredients without much clue to their preparation, the results are always good, and frequently stunning.
Primeur also denotes the first harvests of fruit and veg as they come into season, and it’s this dedication to seasonality and ability to improvise daily that has won the place a Michelin Bib Gourmand. You might find yourself tucking into roasted monkfish on a white bean stew drizzled with salsa verde; fresh agnolotti pasta stuffed with ricotta and sage and drenched in browned butter; or roasted partridge with Jerusalem artichoke and minestra nera (a sort of cavolo nero-broccoli hybrid). There’s well-sourced cheese and charcuterie to bookend the main sharing dishes, and always a pair of desserts like hazelnut torte or cherry clafoutis.
The larger part of the blackboard is given over to those low-intervention wines; carefully picked and changing far less regularly. Plucked from France, Italy, Germany and Slovenia, they’re a little punchy by the bottle but affordable by the glass.
Either way, you’ll leave feeling in your prime.
NOTE: Primeur is open Tues-Thurs 5-10.30pm, Fri & Sat 12-10.30pm, and Sun 12-5pm. You can check their daily menu here and make a booking here.
Primeur | 116 Petherton Road, N5 2RT
Like seasonal grub? Get yourself along to Rochelle Canteen