As neighbourhood joints go, they don’t get much better than Highbury’s Top Cuvée. We popped along last week (on a match day no less – it’s just around the corner from the Arsenal stadium for the foodie football fans amongst you!), to see what all the fuss was about.
Because they have caused quite the fuss. Hot Dinners have them as one of their ‘HOT’ restaurants right now, our pals at London on the Inside raved about them – yet they’ve only been open for two months and it’s fair to say that Blackstock Road isn’t quite the same go-to destination as say, Soho.
So what’s the deal? Well, this is a simply furnished wine bar and restaurant serving small plates designed to share. Think exposed brick, bare windows looking out onto the street outside and that sexy nude Venetian paint colour we’re obsessed with right now (Jolene we’re looking at you). If you like P.Franco in Clapton, we reckon you’d like this place. The team have a pretty fine pedigree (ex-Dinner by Heston, Naughty Piglets and Three Sheets cocktail bar between them), despite the overall vibe being super chilled.
The wine list is obviously, BANGING. You can expect very reasonably priced gems, including orange wines and exciting craft beers you might not have seen elsewhere. If you’ve got some cash to splash you’ll be guided to a very beautiful bottle of plonk – put your trust in their hands. Aside from that, there’s a small selection of cocktails.
You should start with a plate of the thinly sliced saucisson seche which is delivered with a couple of cornichons and olives for good measure. Sweet potato & sage croquettes are a must order and are priced individually so ensure you get enough for the table. You won’t want to miss the glorious golden orange innards.
Smaller plates include the fresh and crunchy breakfast radishes, which hit the spot with plenty of super smooth smoked cod’s roe to scoop up (we just ate something similar at Orasay, so maybe it’s on track to be the dish of the season?). We approve of their dip to crudité ratio. A really coarse plate of beef rump and smoked eel tartare was a delight. Served with slivers of crisp bread, a dollop of mayonnaise and a little sorrel, this is not a dish you’ll forget in a hurry.
Veggies might not feel hugely catered for, but as part of our feast, the fat stems of Wye Valley asparagus under a generous serving of golden buttery beurre noisette sauce and the shock of a vivid green garlic splodge was very much welcome. Cornish hake was paired with Jerusalem artichoke crisps and a tangy caper tapenade. There really wasn’t a duff note to be found here.
We did as we were told and ordered the wibbly wobbly crème caramel (one of two desserts, the other being a peanut butter parfait), which saw us on our way.
Oh, and it was 3-1 to Arsenal in case you’re interested.