Age: Ooh, six months or so. It’s the brainchild of local foodie duo Clare Geraghty and Lawrence Mash, who teamed up with pioneering E10 neighbours Yardarm to create a seasonal but global modern Brit menu. But what we now learn has been a “year-long pop-up” is sadly about to end.
Previous incarnation: Nothing commercial, as far as we know.
Where exactly is it? Right there at the top end of the fast-changing pedestrianized Francis Road. Although – and we understand why this is – it’s a tad disappointing how unfinished the whole stretch looked on our last visit, with the road closed signs, plastic cones and garish red barriers protecting the trees. We look forward to a bucolic stretch peopled by wild flowers.
So what goes on there? Eating. If you can get a table – after all, it’s a mini space, with just 20 covers and a cute pavement terrace.
What should I eat? Dinner, ideally (although they do weekend brunch and lunch too). The evening menu is short, with just a trio of starters and mains alike; daily specials are chalked up on a blackboard. There were four of us so we pretty much tried the lot: the weakest starter was tempura squid, its tentacles crisp but just a tad chewy, although the chunky tartar sauce helped. Better was a pleasing warm spring salad of sprouting broccoli, kale, tender castelfranco (a radicchio variant) and shallot-laced yoghurt with hazelnuts. And best was a creamy burrata perched on a pea mash with notes of lime for acidity.
And mains? A modest-sized medium-rare rib-eye came pillowy to the touch and crimson inside, with a bowl of bronzed, handcut chips (an additional £4); but stealing the show was a generous mound of seared mackerel fillets with horseradish creme fraiche, potatoes, heritage beetroot and tomato. Delish.
Dessert, please. Yep, we tore through both of them too, the black pepper and lime cheesecake with strawberries just pipping the lemon posset and its rather floral lavender shortbread to the post.
The interior: discuss. Stylish? Tick. There’s cosy banquette seating and matching green leather armchairs, with five tables either side of the room, and a central island where front of house whizz about mixing cocktails and pouring wine. What else? Cork and black detailing and a mirrored wall on one side.
And what do I drink? The chalked-up blood orange negroni special didn’t work for us, sadly, unnecessarily replacing that old mucker Campari – such an essential component – with bitters and juice. A requested gin and tonic came with a highly botanical Artemisia variety (from Hackney), yielding almost excessively aniseedy notes of tarragon. So we stuck to a decent, if rather full-bodied Domaine Mignaberry red for much of the meal.
What’s the service like? Very nice, smiley and friendly, with no glitches or especial waits between courses.
Do say: ‘It’s definitely in the best two restaurants on Francis Road.’
Don’t say: ‘Where’s Marmelo Kitchen?’
Main image: burrata and peas by Kettle & Ryan
Article updated 29th May