Take a walk on the East side… and stop for dinner!

Recently there have been so many new openings, and in the East particularly, that is incredibly difficult to keep track of the London restaurant scene. September is shaping up to be even a busier month,  and I am at risk of an expanding waistline ;).

Here are my three favorite openings of the recent months in the Hackney and Shoreditch area.

The Clove Club

Rotating seasonal British menus with a hipster edge by Isaac McHale

The Clove Club has been open for a few months, and I was lucky enough to bag a table at the bar for 3, in the second week they were open (the restaurant was fully booked). It was myself, and my friends A and S. Having read a few reviews from fellow bloggers, I am quite happy we had the choice from the bar menu, rather than the fixed price restaurant menu. Note, it’s not the cheaper option, we paid the same, if not a little more. We ordered a selection of the sharing dishes.

Food Highlights:

Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pine Salt

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Rye Cracker, Fennel & Oak Smoked Cod’s Roe

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Salami selection (all cured in house using rare breed pork from England)

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Wood pigeon sausage with Ten Bells ketchup

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Lemon sole

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The question mark: Chocolate eclair. I suggest to skip dessert altogether.

FINAL VERDICT: I loved it, and I would love to go back… if only there were less new openings to check out.  Don’t miss it.

FOOD: 9/10

VALUE: 8/10

AMBIANCE: Edgy hipster yet relaxed

OCCASION: Date or intimate lunch or dinner with friends.

Bouchon Fourchette

A little corner of Paris in Hackney

On a slightly scruffy and unloved stretch of Mare street in London Fields, among Chinese  and Vietnamese restaurants, next door to a fried chicken shop, is this newly opened, unassuming french bistro, by Chef Jeremy Huguet (ex A. Ducasse).

I visited with Serena @intothefworld and her boyfriend. Unfortunately, in moving across the photos of the dinner from my iPhone to my laptop, I have somehow deleted them. Luckily, you can find a detailed review by Serena here.

Portions are generous, food is delicious, and value is exceptional, with mains priced under £10.

Food Highlights:

Steak tartare, my personal favourite (photo courtesy of Bouchon Fourchette website)

tartare

Coq au vin, Serena’s favourite

The question mark: Wanting to be really picky, not enough toasted bread with the terrine.

FINAL VERDICT: If you live in Hackney, go! Warning: not too many hipsters at sight.

FOOD: 9/10

VALUE: 10/10

AMBIANCE: Relaxed ad unpretentious french bistro with 70s vintage furniture.

OCCASION: Date or lunch/dinner with a small group of friends.

Beagle

A refreshing retreat from Hip Burgers and Fried wings

This restaurant, bar and coffee shop, owned by music promoters Danny and Kieran Clancy, is hidden away  under the railway arches, right next door to Hoxton Station. Head Chef James Ferguson (former Rochelle Canteen), who originally trained as a classical pianist, has created a seasonal, produce led, British menu with a continental influence, courtesy of his French and Italian Michelin starred training.  I visited within the first month of opening, with my friend K for a long due catch up.
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The night I was at Beagle, Angela Hartnett was having dinner at the table behind mine, and we saw her disappearing (not really it’s an open plan) in the kitchen for a while. Chef James worked for her at The Connaugh.
Food Highlights:
Pigeon Terrine and red cabbage
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Ricotta gnocchi with violet artichokes, broad beans and mint.
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The question mark: When I visited the menu was still quite limited.

FINAL VERDICT: It’s exactly the place that was needed in this side of Hoxton. Honest food, distinct flavours. I will be back.

FOOD: 8/10

VALUE: 7/10

AMBIANCE: Shoreditchesque brick walls meet NYC style darkness

OCCASION: Anytime with friends. They have recently launched a brunch menu.

DISCLAIMER: I have personally paid for  the three meals and the rating is based on my personal taste and opinions.

The Clove Club on Urbanspoon

Bouchon Fourchette on Urbanspoon

Beagle on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

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