Posts for the 'E2' Category

The Laughing Heart


Probably one of the best meals I’ve had this year, The Laughing Heart in Hackney is a wonderfully smart venue that operates as a late night wine bar, dining room and wine shop. The space is intimate and cozy with a warm and comforting open kitchen and brickwork walls. The tables – all custom built – each hold individual cutlery drawers for every diner. We were really taken aback with this thoughtful, ingenious and quite simply, adorable touch, and it really set the tone for the wonderful meal that was to come.

The food, sharing plates of modern-European with Asian influences, were all inspired, starting with the Dungarvan oyster with shiso and apple (£2.50 each) which was incredibly fresh and refreshing. The oyster was meaty and rich, and both the sweetness and sharpness of the apple, and the aroma of the shiso served as a lovely contrast to the oyster.

The Laughing Heart - London Food Blog - Oyster w. shiso & apple

The Laughing Heart – Oyster w. shiso & apple

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Note: Viajante was awarded a Michelin star in January 2011, subsequent to this visit.

House sashimi

House sashimi

After closing his critically acclaimed Bacchus in Hoxton in 2008 and an-almost two year hiatus, Nuno Mendes finally opened his eagerly anticipated restaurant, Viajante, in March. Mendes’ career spans stints under Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Ferran Adria at El Bulli, and his travels throughout Asia and South America have helped to formulate the concept that is behind Viajante, a word that means travelling in Portuguese.

To get the full Viajante experience, a restaurant located in the Bethnal Green Town Hall, we felt nothing less than the 12 course menu would do. So when we arrived for our 8pm booking, JK wasn’t particularly pleased to be told that we couldn’t be seated. A table of 16 had just arrived, and even though our table was available, we were asked to wait at the bar so that the restaurant could even out the service. We were led to believe we had to book an 8pm table if we wanted to do the 12 course tasting, so it seemed a bit odd that we couldn’t be seated AT 8pm.

The table we got was great though – right in front of the open kitchen and in full view of all the cooking action. The décor is pseudo-Scandinavian and looks a bit like an expensive version of Ikea. Nevertheless, it’s very comfortable and quite informal. Six, nine and twelve course tasting menus are available at dinner for £60, £75 and £85 respectively. Menus are not handed out before the meal as they’re surprise tastings, but brief explanations are given by the server as each course is presented.

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Boundary Restaurant

The grey-leg partridge at Boundary

The grey-leg partridge at Boundary

The month of January is already over. Jeez how time flies… Christmas only felt like yesterday. But January has proved rather memorable. Some events of note took place, probably the most notable being the inauguration of President Obama (yes, Obama’s in the house!), and also the not-too-minor matter of a certain restaurant opening in Shoreditch.

Ok, on a relative scale, the latter, a restaurant opening, does not quite compare to the former, a presidential inauguration, but in the context of the London restaurant scene and my much-nurtured belly, it’s rather big news. See, it’s the new restaurant from Sir Terence Conran; the patriarch of fine design, architect, writer, and restaurateur; the man who in 2005 was named by CatererSearch, the website of the industry magazine, and Caterer and Hotelkeeper as the most influential restaurateur in the UK. The Sir Terence Conran who is much revered as the pioneer of redefining the way in which the British public dine out. Big news indeed for it’s the first restaurant he’s opened since he sold his restaurant group to D&D London in 2006.

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