The new-look Yardarm restaurant is now open

The stylish Leyton destination has had a revamp and now plays host to a brand new chef and menu

Francis Road’s elegant wine bar and garden is probably our number one hang-out in the whole area – at least, for a sunny pint of Pressure Drop under a pendulous bunch of grapes or two. And let’s not even start on their sourdough, so addictive we can polish it off in a sitting.

For the last two years their charming next-door restaurant has played host to residencies like Kettle & Ryan and Henrietta Inman, who’s now bagged herself the head chef gig at the new 26 Grains in Bermondsey. Our last meal under Henrietta – smoked salmon with pear, and kale -crusted hake – was, incidentally, 100% delish.

Street regulars will know by now that Yardarm owners Dan and Eliza are taking on the space themselves. Dan’s youngest brother Joe is at the helm, a tattooed young chef who has been working everywhere from Edinburgh to Copenhagen and Melbourne in kitchens with – yay – “sustainability and seasonality at their heart”.

After most of the month under boarding, the refit means that the central island has disappeared, with an open kitchen creating a further sense of space.

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Cod’s roe, as served at Sunday’s pop-up. Photo: SE

Eagle-eyed readers will have spied a sample menu already up online and – my word – it reads well (recalling revered joints like Pigeon in Hackney). In short, expect the delicate likes of gurnard with fermented fennel and daikon, chickpea pancake with comte, and raw beef with sunflower and parsley.

If you were at Francis Road’s #WorldCarFreeDay event last Sunday (main pic, above), you may already have tried some items from the new menu, served through a makeshift hatch-in-the-wall.

In the strict name of research, we tore through all five – and were duly impressed:  a plate of fried chicken was crisp-coated tenderness itself, nicely offset by dips and pickled chunks of cucumber, while even better was an umami-packed cod’s roe with that crack-like sourdough. Full marks too for the meat-free dishes: leeks with sticky toasted hazelnuts, kale and soft cheese, plus a modern take on an endive, pear and walnut salad.

So far then, the signs are looking good. And Marmelo, if you’re listening, maybe it’s time to open for dinner again, too? Jus’ saying.

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Yardarm restaurant, 238 Francis Road E10 6NQ, opening hours from Wed 25th September – Wed 5-10pm, Thurs/Fri 12-3pm and 5-10pm, Saturday 9am-3pm and 5-10pm, Sunday 9-4pm. More info here
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