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The old Hollybush was that sad, nay tragic thing, a dying pub.So when it was finally put out of its misery, local attention, ours included, was on the place. Crystal Palace is a demanding place for restaurants, I've always thought there's about three too many on the Triangle (CP's three main streets), so a new place has got to hit the ground running, and the Sparra so has; it's been open a few months now, and I have to say it's become a firm favourite. We've been in there quite a few times now, a couple of times for a pint or a glass of wine (great ales, served at the right temperature, NOT ice cold, a superb wine list, and great bar snacks, including the best pork scratchings EVER), and a couple of times for dinner. Our last visit was spot on, a lovely duck and fois gras terrine for my starter, while my wife had superb little fishcakes, then a really good beefburger and proper triple fried chips for her main, and I had a lovely pan fried sea bass on risotto with spinach. Coffees and liqueurs finished things nicely.
I do, though, have one negative criticism, and that is the noise level. It is a high ceilinged place, with very few soft surfaces and lots of big windows, and music, so the noise level is very high. It was OK in the corner we were in on our last visit, but I have noticed that, especially at the tables directly in front of the bar, waiters and waitresses have to lean right in to hear what the punters are ordering. Having said that, if you can get a seat at the back corner, you should be fine.
Comment on this reader review
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 9
Wednesday, June 13, 2012