When two unconnected people in the same week mentioned this place last summer I thought I should give it a try.
Despite living very close to Sydenham, I’ll admit it isn’t my first location of choice for eating out. Until I went to 161 Food & Drink.
It’s small – but as yet I haven’t had to wait. Rather than cramped it’s cosy and feels like a neighbourhood restaurant/bar in the truest sense.
Defining this place is tricky. Who needs labels anyway? The term wine bar generates images (in my mind) of 90’s bankers drinking chardonnay but wine it has. Really good wine. And biodynamic prosecco – which is cloudy. It sounds wrong but it’s fantastic. Now while we’re talking about wine you can buy a terrific selection – perched on a shelf to tempt you as you dine. All have a dine in and take away price on cute hand-written luggage tags. Lucky for those living up the road – an ‘offie’ of dreams.
So to the food. Again hard to define. Definitely Aussie influences particularly on the brunch front. On the last visit I had delicious fried eggs with Speck ham on sourdough. The homemade baked beans were calling me too that day. But there are middle eastern influences also. Banana bread with tahini butter anyone? On one of my visits they were offering Persian love cake. I’d not come across this before and not a sweet-toothed person but wow. Make this now. And bring me some please.
There’s a pile of cookbooks on the counter among the delicious cakes and I get the sense they browse recipes and cook things that float their boat. I like that, and it means you never know what will be on offer. The staff serving also do the cooking so it really feels like a place where everyone cares about what comes out of the kitchen. They’re open for dinner evenings (not every day) too plus hold wine tasting events which I’ve yet to try, so check out facebook for details.
I wish I lived down the road from here – lucky Sydenham I say.
***NEWSFLASH*** – Sister cafe opening 26 Store St from 4th Jan 2016 up near Russell Sq London