60 Second Review: Lighthaus Cafe, Argall Avenue E10

It’s what the area does best: quality food and drink experiences firmly off the beaten track

Where exactly is it? Tucked away in the fascinatingly sprawling Argall Avenue Industrial Estate to the north of Lea Bridge Road (yep, Leyton’s outermost perimeter). Take time to have a snoop at the huge array of businesses, from ace local brewery Neckstamper (warning: only open Saturday afternoons) to popular nearby cafe Hanoi Ca Phe and various studios, galleries and other creative enterprises.

OK. So what goes on there? Midweek it’s all about coffee, brunch and simple lunch dishes – like a superior butternut squash soup crowned with toasted seeds we enjoyed recently. But on weekend evenings the slender venue transforms into a rather lovely, candlelit restaurant, with a short, considered list of sharing plates and extremely decent wine.

Lighthaus Cafe
Beetroot, croquettes. Photo: SE

What should I eat? The menu changes weekly – check their Insta for this week’s – but on our visit we scoffed the following: oozy swede rarebit croquettes with tangy Worcester mayo; a heap of al dente purple sprouting broccoli, crowned with exploding golden yolk; earthy hunks of sweet beetroot beautifully balanced with bitter radicchio, citrusy mandarin and the crunch of almonds; and a delicate smoked mussel and fennel tartlet that was gone in two mouthfuls.

The highlight? Just-opaque steamed pollock with robustly green cavolo nero, comforting lentils in red wine and umami-rich bagna cauda.

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Lighthaus Cafe
Mussel and fennel tart. Photo: SE

Phew. What’s the service like? Very friendly, but with an eye on the clock. Dishes, mostly petite, with a couple of main-sized ones at the bottom of the menu, arrived without delay. They do the time-slot thing, like all small venues – so, once kicked off the table, we carried on with a post-prandial glass at the counter in the window.

Lighthaus Cafe
Packed evening service. Photo: SE

We say: It’s a total find. If it’s your first time, be prepared for the Uber driver to get lost, as ours did, even though, if it hadn’t been cold, wet and dark, we would’ve simply walked there, as we’ve done in the daytime on previous visits.

See also: Yardarm’s flawless small plates on Francis Road; Filly Brook in Leytonstone; Arch Rivals and Pretty Decent Brewery in Forest Gate.

Rating: 4/5.

Dishes £3.50-17. Lighthaus, 11 Argall Avenue E10 7QE. Open Tues-Sunday, evening meals Fri-Sat only. Follow @lighthauscafe for each week’s new evening menu.

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