My Favourite Restaurant

The best French chips

RICHARD HUNTINGFORD, chief executive of Chrysalis Radio, is so enamoured of his favourite restaurant, being nearer to it was a factor when looking for a new house four years ago.

Now he lives practically on the doorstep of Sonny's, in the media village of Barnes, South-west London. "It's such a good restaurant I'm amazed the estate agents in Barnes don't add it to their list of fine features of the area," he enthuses.

"It was one of the first restaurants producing dishes that were different. It was way ahead of the pack."

However, Mr Huntingford, 42, admits he's no restaurant critic. Pushed to sum up Sonny's fare, he opts for "modern cuisine".

It takes no pushing, though, for him to outline some of its dishes: a starter could be asparagus, dandelion leaves, quail eggs, parmesan, crackling and truffle oil; for the main course, grilled halibut and black pasta with pan-fried calamari and Nero sauce. The wine list is New World-weighted.

In the day cafe-style, cheaper meals are available and on Sundays a traditional- with-a-twist lunch. "So I can go and have a grown-up meal in the evening, either on business or with my wife, and on weekends we can take the kids," he says.

He swears by Sonny's French-style chips: "I defy anyone to better them."

Mr Huntingford, whose background is in accountancy, says managers Susi and Graeme are so passionate about the restaurant it is as if you are eating in their own home. Waiter Chris, with his "rat-tail dreadlocks and grunge-style romantic" attire, adds to the ambiance.

He took David Jenson there when "The Kid" signed to Chrysalis's Heart 106.2. "The media business is very much a people business," he explains. "If you can find a restaurant you feel comfortable with, it can be a good way to cement relationships and talk about issues.

"Having said that," he adds, "I don't spend all my time going out to lunch."

Sonny's, 94 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 (Telephone 0181-748 0393)

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