Table Talk

Snacks for Thought with Freddie Janssen

Dutch chef Freddie Janssen's Dalston breakfast and lunch restaurant Snackbar is a tribute to her roots. For The Standard, London's March iteration of our Dinner with Friends series, Freddie brought those Dutch-fusion flavours to Isla Terrace. Guests delighted in prawn toast donuts, fried sea bass tacos and a table-side blood orange and rhubarb Bombe Alaska. She sat down with us post-dinner shenanigans to chat pickling, the best spots in Soho and the devastating loss of the wine bar, P. Franco.  

Honestly, all I think about is eating and drinking and being in the nicest places.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and what influences your cooking?

I moved to London about 14 years ago from The Netherlands where my favourite food was anything that came out of a ‘snack bar’, also called a “frituur” in the South of the Netherlands — a sort of hole-in-the-wall place where they deep fry everything: fries, frikandellen, croquettes, cheese, rice — all covered in a huge variety of condiments, served alongside neon yellow pickled onions. 

My ‘palate’ has somehow developed after travels to Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Sydney, L.A., Mexico and obviously the rest of Europe — and I think that combined with my upbringing this has evolved into what we now serve at Snackbar. A very eclectic mix of tasty things, lots of it fried, and always with lots of pickles. 

You are known as one of London’s best picklers, where did you love of pickling come from? 

Growing up eating deep-fried sausages and fries, you need something to cut through the fat — Amsterdam onions and a good old gherkins have got to be my faves, and I think you can't go wrong with a pickle in most things.  

Where does the name Snackbar come from? 

It's based off of a classic Netherlands sort of fast-food option, a Dutch equivalent to the English fish + chip or kebab shop. It's the kind of kick-in-the-face food you want when you’ve had a few drinks. 

Can you pick a London neighbourhood with the best culinary offering? 

I just love love love Soho. I lived on the border of Chinatown and Soho for a year or two and its the best place I’ve ever lived I think. You walk out the door and everything is on your doorstep: so many dumplings, the best ice cream (Gelupo!), the best bars (French House!) and just the best vibes — I like all the old school places like Quo Vadis (smoked eel sandwich!) and Andrew Edmunds (just the prettiest, most romantic restaurant) but I am beyond happy that Rita’s has just opened there. It kind of feels old school meets new school Soho. 

You must get asked about snacks ALL THE TIME, aside from food and beverage, what other industry inspires you and why? 

Honestly, all I think about is eating and drinking and being in the nicest places. 
Where is your favourite place for a late-night party spot?

I don’t party very much anymore since I have a cafe and start most days at 7am but Julian from Mao Chow (now Facing Heaven) has just opened a dive bar on Mare Street that looks very fun and very Trisha’s vibes :-) 

A long boozy afternoon in the sun?  

Rochelle Canteen for a girlfriend catchup over many bottles of wine. 40 Maltby Street on a rare Saturday afternoon off, sat outside in front of the restaurant catching the last rays of sun.

Snacks & wine?

P Franco RIP. Honestly don’t quite have a replacement and not sure if I will any time soon :-/

Snackbar, Dalston is a casual neighbourhood restaurant serving global-inspired breakfast and lunch fare founded by Freddie Janssen


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