Primeur is yet another addition to London’s crowded dining scene. Fixed up in old car garage Barnes Motors, it’s a stone’s throw from Stoke Newington’s illustrious Church Street. The first gastronomic baby dropped by Jeremie Cometto-Linghenheim (Wright Brothers & The Boxer Brothers) and David Gingell (The Wolseley & Bistroteque) it’s a forthright, utilitarian affair.
Keeping things simple isn’t always as easy as it looks, but the chaps have created something quite lovely. The former car garage has retained its original wooden floor and sliding door, and this beast of an entrance can slide from left to right according to the summer sun that beats down onto its façade. The dining chairs are reclaimed 1930s/’40s The Savoy originals found in a Birmingham warehouse. Nicely carved wooden spoons by local wood worker/designer Tessa Silva hang on show behind the service bar, a large flat metallic chandelier was hand-spun in Tottenham by the last metal spinners in South East England – who once upon a time spun noses for WWII Spitfires. Jeremie worked with The Gourmand’s Dave Lane on both the interiors and brand identity, and not a single aspect has been left unconsidered. Also inspired by French grocers of yesteryear the colours of dark wood, mustard and white permeate the space with an injection of English flora, thanks to local growers and florists Cook and Carlsson.
If you’d like to see their daily menu you can find that on their Instagram page (@menuprimeur), a good old-fashioned chalkboard is knocking around for technophobes. We sampled the Spanish Jamón de Teruel and Jesus Sausage (yes, Jesus!) – a salami from Lyon. Wafer thin, melt-in-the-mouth, I liked that we were introduced to new charcuterie outside of its main staples. Larger dishes include local allotment runner beans with anchovies and rosemary breadcrumbs, and salt cod cakes with aioli – delectably crispy on the outside, white and airy on the in. The sea trout with peas and ham was a reflection of true flavour with freshness that sung of summer, each ingredient singing its own solo. This is David’s key direction for Primeur, simple cooking is paramount. As renowned chef Alistair Little once said: “Keeping it simple means being pure in effect – finding natural rhythms and balances, allowing food to taste of itself… For there is nothing new in food, only altered perceptions, shades of redefinition and rediscovery.”
Primeur is a tidy local dining space with good ethics and much conviction, but don’t expect table service, online or telephone booking… even coffee after your meal. This is an order-at-the-bar community restaurant, and if you must drink the hot stuff they’ll happily direct you to their pals’ coffee shop just down the tree-lined Edwardian road. Void of London-centric mayhem, humble and honest, I could really get used to this.