Bistro DeLICAT, 124 Northcote Road, SW11

How often do you come across an Austrian restaurant in London? I wasn’t sure that I had ever knowingly seen one, let alone eaten in one. But all this changed recently with the discovery of Bistro DéLICAT on Northcote Road in Clapham.

DéLICAT opened in July 2010 and sets out to combine “Viennese cuisine with the ambience of a European bistro”. We went at lunchtime on a Saturday and the menu catered for pretty much any mood. They had typical brunch options, snacks such as croque monsieur, apple strudel and freshly baked cakes if you are after something sweet with your coffee, and then the lunch menu in addition to all this.

The décor is simple but chic. The walls of the first half of the dining room have gleaming white tiles that make it look bright and modern. The back half has equally glistening black tiles that create a more formal, yet still trendy, affect. The other elements are equally stylish: wooden tables and chairs, dangling orb lights, a wooden floor and a black and mirrored bar/counter-top.

At 2pm on a Saturday it’s filled with a mix of local people. At least three tables were young families with cashmere-clad, very well-behaved babies, a couple of other tables had people enjoying a cup of coffee and the newspaper, then there were a few groups of friends getting stuck into a boozy Saturday lunch. The staff are accommodating to all sorts and made us feel instantly welcome.

To start things off we ordered a bottle of Austrian pinot blanc which was dry, slightly effervescent and very drinkable. There were a number of wines around the £20 mark, and then a few going upwards from there. Ours was £24 and we thought good value for its quality.

To eat we shared mild, soft goats cheese on a bed of warm lentils to begin with. The dressing was very good and walnuts added a great bit of crunch. They put radicchio, rocket and frisée underneath the lentils that added a peppery and nicely bitter accompaniment to the creamy cheese.

For our main courses, we couldn’t overlook the schnitzel. One review that I had read prior to our visit had really emphasised that this was a thing of beauty so we both opted for this, and they were totally right. The veal was tender and the breadcrumbs were perfectly crisp without even a hint of grease. It came with a sweet jam of some description, maybe cranberry, that worked really well with the lemon that we’d squeezed on top. The accompanying Austrian potato salad was a bit heavy on the wholegrain mustard, but was good in a mouthful with the schnitzel. When it first arrived, the portions looked huge, but in fact it was far lighter than it looked so we both made a pretty good impression on our plates.

I’d like to return to try this restaurant out in the evening as the dinner menu looks really appealing. There are more starter options that include soups, Austrian gnocchi and beef consommé. There is also a more extensive list of main courses, but I’d definitely find it hard not to order the schnitzel again.

bistro delicat food