New Orleans soul food purveyors Decatur (presumably named after the foodie street in the city) have done stints across town from Hackney to King’s Cross and Paddington – and now they’ve got a limited residency at the inimitable Leyton cafe (who also, this week, sadly closed their handy “To Go” shop just down the road).
What’s on the menu then? Everything from chargrilled oysters to vegan gumbo, all served to share, on granny-style crockery.
On our opening night visit (we weren’t messing around here) we tore into a chunky heirloom tomato salad, juxtaposed with slices of sweet grilled peach, a smooth whorl of cashew cream and punchy shallot thyme vinaigrette. Its plant-based healthiness meant that our other starter could happily be waffled hash browns with creme fraiche, chives and a topping of umami-laden lumpfish caviar.
This is super-tasty and extremely hearty fare, so our advice is don’t over-order. Having said that, we did, to be honest: the ‘fried chicken biscuit’ that followed proved a whopper of a home-made scone, crammed with juicy breaded thighs, with the fiery lick of jalapeno honey and crunch of pickled cucumber on the side.
Best of all was the other main – plump peeled shrimps with hominy grits (in which the in-house milled corn is treated with lime), studded with bacon and drenched in a savoury mushroom gravy. It was, however, so filling that you should only hog it yourself if you’re swerving starters.
Despite everything, we waddled out and still managed to sink a few post-prandial pints at our mate’s Bingo night at the Coach & Horses. Troopers till the very end.
Main image: Stephen Emms