So you’ve never been to…Arch Rivals E7

Interesting plates and some bold flavours at this uber popular eating house on Winchelsea Road

Age: One and a half.

Where exactly is it? On Winchelsea Mews, the rather buzzy little stretch that’s also home to Burgess & Hall and the Wanstead Tap.

OK. So what goes on there? Top quality dining, in a relaxed railway arch, from acclaimed local chef Michael Sanders. Geddit?

What should I eat? We swung by the other week and enjoyed a handful of colourful and unusual dishes. You’re advised to have a couple each, but portions are generous, so three between two will probably suffice. A herby mound of glistening tuna tartare sung with lime, peanuts adding crunch, wonton skins on hand to scoop it all up; while a huge portion of pork and fennel ragu with solid crispy rice cakes was a meal in itself, all umami-laden deliciousness and textural contrast.

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Tuna tartare. Photo: SE

The best item? Underlining the fusion nature of the cooking was an intensely attractive plate of chunky heritage tomatoes in a fiery tom yum gazpacho with sesame. We couldn’t, in fact, stop fighting over it.

The interior? Packed, minimal in its railway-arch simplicity: and get there after 7 on a Friday night and it’ll be full. As it was, we sat down just after 6pm and had our pick.

And what do I drink? We enjoyed a natural rose wine. Oh, and a pleasing white negroni to start, too.

What’s the service like? Smart, friendly and attentive.

Do say: ‘This is E7’s finest eating house.’

Don’t say: ‘Can we share just the one plate?’

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Arch Rivals is open Wed-Sat, 6pm-11pm 361 Winchelsea Rd, London E7
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