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A hand cuts into a slice of patê en croute on a blue outdoor table, the kind seen at brasseries. A glass of pink wine and a plate of cut baguette sit alongside.
Cutting into the paté en croute at Cadet.

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A Charcutier, a Chef, and Two Wine Importers Walk Into a Bar

Why brand new Cadet’s alliance of paté en croute, country cooking, and wine feels like it’s been around forever

The tub of heads, skin, eyes, and ears is kept in the basement. The rest of the carcass hangs stiff and cold on a shiny metal hook, ready for slicing. Tongues, gizzards, and belly are in the freezer; once minced together, they graduate to the fridge. Upstairs, unsuspecting guests sit at Cadet’s long, elegant bar while soft music plays and wine is glugged into glasses and carafes, unaware of the gore below.

Making paté en croute is a messy business.

When diners cut into a slice of fragrant, thickly rich charcuterie, its subtleties rising from a whisper to a hubbub as it comes to temperature and a rum-steeped apricot winking out of the centre like a burning sun, they are cutting into George Jephson’s obsession. The charcutier, who makes architectural paté en croutes; verdant and wobbling jambon persille; and a mousse de canard that spreads like a face pack, is one third of Cadet — “Cad-ay”: the handsome wine bar that ebbs and flows above while the pigs, chickens, and ducks that go into his creations lay dormant below.

Open for a matter of weeks on Newington Green in north London, Cadet’s alliance of French charcuterie, cooking, and wine is not new. Chef Jamie Smart’s dishes, and Tom Beattie and Francis Roberts’s pours speak the language of not just the Parisian cave, but the mid-mountain hamlet of Chassignolles and its famous Auberge, which has become a kind of archangel for London chefs seeking to become fluent in this culinary vernacular of the French countryside, before translating it to the capital’s voice.

But it’s precisely this that means Cadet — and fellow new arrivals Veraison, in Camberwell; Hector’s, in De Beauvoir; as well as the reopened Provisions in Holloway and Furanxo in Dalston — do, actually, feel new. Not for opening a wine bar in London, not even a very French one: the dearly departed Terroirs and its siblings would take issue.

What feels different is how these wine bars and the people who work in them, all of whom have cut their teeth in leading, at times pioneering wine bars (P. Franco, Winemakers Club) and restaurants (St. John, Westerns Laundry, Bright, Flor) no longer feel the need to self-consciously differentiate from their inspirations, be they city or countryside.

As what were vanguards evolve into part of the furniture, and new openings like Cadet spring from them, it’s possible to witness the maturation of London’s wine scene in real time, as if cellared away like the bottles it lives and dies on.

There is no fear of accidentally pretending to be Paris nor the Auvergne, no attempting to be transportive in a way that pretends, for a few hours, its guests are not in the city they call home. There is no slippery slope into the shallow iconoclasm used as a cudgel by critics of natural wine; no need for lazy wedges to be driven between east London and the rest, nor P. Franco and St. John.

Maturing is realising that these places always had more in common than the years between them alluded. Cadet is a French wine bar on Newington Green. There is very good wine and charcuterie and simple food comprised of astutely sourced ingredients. London has room for this — wants this. People have room for this in their daily lives, rather than as an escape from reality or a special occasion. It is confident, it has no need for pyrotechnics, and it doesn’t need to claim to be more.

As the French may say, c’est bon.

Take a look around.


A man in a blue apron stands behind a bar
Co-founder Tom Beattie worked with Francis Roberts at the Noble Fine group, before the duo founded Beattie and Roberts, a wine importer. Here, he prepares for the evening, backed by the previous day’s menus.
Four men in white t-shirts and blue aprons stand outside a wine bar, standing together around blue tables.
Beattie and Roberts (left) are joined by charcutier George Jephson and chef Jamie Smart, lately of P. Franco, Flor, and French country cooking institution sans pareil Auberge de Chassignolles.
Three men stand behind a brown and blue bar preparing vegetables
Smart, Roberts, and Beattie before service on what will be a buzzy Friday night.
A white print with the words paté en croute in blue type, with a cut-through of the charcuterie in the centre.
More from Cadet’s bar during service. For now, pass under this print (and coincidental signpost) designed by musician and artist Laura Marling ...
A man in a white t-shirt with a red logo on the back, which has the word Cadet printed in white, vertical capital letters. He is carrying an uncooked patê en croute in a metal mould.
And follow Jephson down to his charcuterie lair.
A man cuts a piece of pastry with a ruler.
Construction begins with precisely cutting the pastry, rich with egg yolks in the pâté brisée style and fortified with French flour.
Moulding pastry into a rectangular metal tin.
Working in what is a fairly stuffy prep area, Jephson — who worked in French butchers for several years to learn and hone the craft — is in a constant dance with temperature, time, and pliability of the pastry.
A chef moulds pastry in a circular tin.
While the crust-in-waiting chills down after the first moulding, upstairs, chef Jamie Smart shapes pastry of his own. This for a honey custard tart to round off a meal, or just to sit alongside a glass.
A pastry brush dipped in very orange egg yolk, ready to brush raw pastry.
Back with Jephson: egg yolks, for burnishing and gluing.
The pastry brush doing its thing, brushing the pastry with golden yolk.
Glossy.
A man cradles a pig carcass.
Now for the filling. Having Jephson’s production, which serves his wholesale business as well as Cadet, alongside Smart in the kitchen, lets the bar buy whole pigs to butcher down.
Filling a pastry mould with layers of farce and brined meat.
This particular croute is laden with pork farce, heady with herbs and pepper — Marsala, Cognac, mace, quatre epices, and salt, as well as confit duck gizzards.
Left-to-right: Pistachios, dried apricots, chicken livers, and farce in plastic tubs.
First as butchery, then as farce.
Sprinkling pistachios on to the farce in the pastry mould.
A sprinkling of pistachios and brined Madagascan peppercorns for texture and contrast, which is also provided by apricots. Over time, Jephson steeps the apricots in rum, adding a candied booziness to the centre of the charcuterie and providing him with an infused spirit to use in caneles.
Folding pastry over the charcuterie filling.
Enveloping the precious cargo.
Brushing a pate en croute with egg yolk.
Lid added and parcel sealed, it’s time for one more coat of yolk, before the vital embellishments begin.
Inserting a metal cutter into an uncooked paté en croute in order to make a vent.
Venting correctly is vital: not just for steam to escape, but to prevent it condensing on the inside of the pastry, turning the interior into a soggy mess.
Placing a crinkle-cut ring of unglazed pastry on top of each vent hole.
But, it’s also an opportunity for some precision embellishment.
Adding a tall vent made of foil.
The foil directs the steam’s exit.
Putting the croute into the oven.
Into the oven to bake.
Unmoulding a finished croute from its tin with a blowtorch.
Unmoulding the finished, cooled, and set article, which has had stock poured in to form a jelly.
Cutting in to a paté en croute.
The moment of truth...
A cut-through of a paté en croute, with apricot running through the centre.
Salut to you
Plating a slice of cucumber next to a slice of paté en croute.
Upstairs, Smart serves the croute with a lacto-fermented cucumber.
A plated paté en croute on a table with a glass of wine.
For now, it’s a menu fixture, but Cadet aims to offer takeaway slices for hungry people to devour across the road on the green in due course.
A blackboard menu written in white capital letters.
But there’s more than charcuterie at Cadet. Jamie Smart’s cooking is most directly informed by his time at Auberge de Chassignolles, which translates into unaffected, simple plates primed for wine. Fans of Planque, in Haggerston, will see some pleasing parallels.
A man in a white t-shirt puts up a blackboard with wines by the glass written in white chalk.
Roberts chalks up the wines alongside. As at P. Franco under Beattie, there are often other bottles opened and lurking to be tried, adding a further sense of spontaneity to proceedings.
A man in an apron pods beans, backed by rows of wine glasses, bottles of French spirits, and speakers.
The wines come from Beattie and Roberts’s eponymous importer. Here, in mid-August, it is out of harvest season, but as the year develops, both Cadet and its supply line will be running at full throttle.
A group of people mills around outside Cadet on Newington Green.
At only a couple of weeks old, evenings are already buzzing.
Five wine bottles in a bucket of ice.
A bottle of rosé being plunged into ice.
A hand cuts into a slice of paté en croute with a knife.

The croute makes its reappearance in an evening guise, but there’s much more coming out of Jamie Smart’s kitchen.

Wooden crates of coco beans in their pods.
Take, for example, a plate of coco beans with girolles. It begins with all hands on deck, or rather, on podding.
A tray of girolle mushrooms on a cloth.
The girolles, soft and amber.
A small metal pan with finely diced onions, girolles, and butter.
Gently and subtly sweated down in butter, they are soon ready to anoint the beans and their broth.
A chef’s hands put girolle mushrooms on to a plate of beans.
Smart plating up.
A waiter carries two plates of coco beans with girolles.
On its way to the tables.
A row of jars of pickles, fig leaf vinegar, and other ferments.
A larder of vinegars, ferments, and pickles lets Smart put accents on whatever ingredients suppliers have to hand, a way of thinking about cooking and menu building that he primarily developed at Auberge de Chassignolles.
A diner cuts into a plate of turbot with green courgettes, two glasses of wine in the background.
There might be a plate of pearlescent turbot, served with courgettes and lemon leaf.
Dropping olive oil into a bowl of tomato soup from a squeeze bottle.
There might be a blood orange red tomato soup, served chilled with the delicate florality of tagettes, a member of the marigold family.
A plate with an angular slice of honey custard tart, with a spoon of cream alongside.
And there might be that honeyed custard tart.
Three plates of paté en croute being carried at once.
And, inevitably, there will be croute.

St. John

26 Saint John Street, , England EC1M 4AY 020 7251 0848 Visit Website

Westerns Laundry

34 Drayton Park, , England N5 1PB 020 7700 3700 Visit Website

Furanxo

85 Dalston Lane, , England E8 2NG 020 7686 8027 Visit Website

Flor

1 Bedale Street, , England SE1 9AL 020 3967 5418 Visit Website

Terroirs

5 William IV Street, , England WC2N 4DN 020 7036 0660 Visit Website

Bright

1 Westgate Street, , England E8 3RL 020 3095 9407 Visit Website

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