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FRANKIE GOES TO LYONS  

As restaurants reopen, we revisit BURO. food critic Frankie McCoy's review of Crouch End restaurant, Lyons

03.12.2019

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“Go on holiday every month. Go to the cinema every week. Eat out every single night.” A friend with a ten-month-old child is explaining, crazed glint in his eye, what my husband of three months and I must - must, you fools! - do before we have children. And are then, presumably, shackled inside our house every evening forever more by sleep training schedules and smeared sweet potato, projectile body fluids and, I don’t know, what do the kids watch these days - Fireman Sam?

We’re in no rush. For now we are perfectly happy with my sister-in-law’s fifteen-month-old son, who we love and adore and cherish, and can hand back to his parents after two hours. And we are perfectly happy to visit them in the northern reaches of Crouch End, that bit of London where you go when you have children. Because in Crouch End, here be Lyon’s. And Lyon’s is wonderful.

Besides being close enough to my sister-in-law’s house that they can make it there between naps, Lyon’s has pedigree. Head chef Talia Prince has worked at The Fat Duck and Le Gavroche, owner Anthony Lyon was general manager at Roka and The Wolseley and has all the instinctive hospitality of those places, pouring us free glugs of lemony vermouth that go impeccably with thickly Kentucky fried cod cheeks.

"the room is beautiful, all brick and gorgeous tiles and flattering lighting."

Sonny is in mutinous mood. Anthony rushes for crayons and colouring book, pacifying cucumber slices. Sonny signals his thanks by scrawling indelibly on their nice new table. We order, quickly.

Lyon’s suppliers are the excellent Wright Brothers and Henderson Seafood; the room is beautiful, all brick and gorgeous tiles and flattering lighting; Sonny is now glued to an episode of Little Baby Bum on an iPhone. The mood is too perfect to be shattered by a bum note, so we skirt the potential danger of stone bass, cashew celeriac mash and coffee veloute. Instead, stone bass tartare: a chubby mound of jewel-like diced fish shot through with acidity and crowned with a topaz scattering of tobiko, those orange fish eggs that are the popping candy of the sea. Then three chic fingers of soused mackerel, a brilliant dish: the sweet and sour fatty fish lush with a layer of gossamer lardo, scattered with a crunch of rye crumbs, a scoop of salsa verde on the side, squeaking of lemon and garlic. We smear great sourdough with seaweed butter and dabble it in the citrussy juices. We stick another episode of baby crack in front of Sonny.

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"the sweet and sour fatty fish lush with a layer of gossamer lardo."

Crispy potatoes are now ubiquitous confits: skeins of potato layered and deep-fried. I’m into the cutesy chip shop curry sauce on the side. And even more into the idea of miso cod collars. Fin-to-gill eating brings even more eco-kudos than nose-to-tail: by eating every part to avoid waste, this ugly chunk of oft-chucked fish - the bony triangle of fatty meat between the gills and body - gets centre stage. Kudos to Lyon’s for offering them: they’re inconsistently cooked, but still delicious, prized nuggets of gloriously gelatinous meat sticky with ginger and garlic. Whole sea bass comes weirdly on a bed of bamboo leaves like we’re suddenly in Mahiki, and is as exemplary as it can be if, rather than ordering a third bottle of icy rose on a beach terrace in Greece, you are in Crouch End with a restless toddler.

Would Lyon’s be so raveworthy if it was in packed central London rather than N4, where an empty late Saturday lunch means no problems accommodating prams, and dishes brought leisurely, safe in the knowledge that we’re too distracted to timekeep? Maybe not. But as

it stands, Lyon’s is the platonic ideal of a neighbourhood restaurant that Crouch Enders should take smug ownership of. When they can get a babysitter.

Meal for 2: £100

Lyons

55 The Broadway

London N8 8DT

lyons-restaurant.com


Nightcap

BURO. says: Midis and maxis, step aside – the mini is enjoying a fashion renaissance. Volume is key to getting the look right: think dramatic ruffles and puff love. This party season we’re channelling Iris Law, in a polka-dot number by Richard Quinn, and Emma Roberts - who chose a sculpted LBD from Attico for fashion’s big night out.

2/5
FROTHY FROCKS

BURO. says: Ballerinas, Carrie Bradshaw, Villanelle. Tulle has had many fans over the years. And while the romantic fabric is often associated with being supremely girlish or bridal, it’s as powerful as it is ‘pretty’ (two words: Killing Eve). Cate Blanchett, Poppy Delevingne and Olivia Culpo were all on board the tulle takeover this year.

3/5
DARK ROMANCE

BURO. says: When in doubt, the LBD (Long Black Dress), will never let you down. Sequinned, backless, strapless: it’s all in the detail. Our favourites from the night include Naomi Watts’ black velvet Stella McCartney dress with peplum detail and Alexa Chung’s floor-sweeping style inspired by her forever muse Jane Birkin. For a dressy alternative to the dress – Julia Roberts’ Armani Privé jumpsuit is high up on the ever growing ‘if money were no object’ wish list.

4/5
COLOUR CODES

BURO. says: Bold, colourful gowns were big winners on the red carpet – from Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke opting for a canary yellow gown by Schiaparelli and Model of the Year Adut Akech repping the colour of the year (green) in bespoke Valentino to Nathalie Emmanuel pretty in Preen red. The perfect antidote to these dark, December days? Give your wardrobe a dopamine dose.

5/5
SEE ME SHINE

BURO. says: Sequins, all-over shine and sweetie wrapper accents: perhaps the most expected of sartorial appearances on the red carpet, but delightful, nonetheless. Naomi Campbell’s Alexander McQueen dress, for instance, was pure fantasy; contrasting sheer tulle fabrics with heavy crystals. And how we long to channel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley at our next Christmas ‘do.

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