theEdit – Spring – East London Brunches, Walthamstow update & old favourites revisited

Brunswick East Coffee's poached eggs with whipped yoghurt, doused in butter, chilli and dill

It has been a tasty Spring. In the second edition of theEdit we take a seat-of-pants, mostly East, tour of what we’ve been eating. We hit up three east end brunch spots that are totes vegilicious, we trek to Walthamstow… twice… Finally we visit a few old favourites and find they’ve still got it.

A few #EastLondon Brunches @lAtelierDalston @GaiaPulsesCafe & @BrunswickCoffee

Always on the lookout for new places to brunch, the hidden gem that is Brunswick Coffee, caught our eye. The dressed down courtyard is just off Gillett Street and is total bliss on a sunny spring day, with tables strewn around and a handful of locals gathering to reflect on the week and sip lattes. We love the poached eggs with whipped yoghurt and doused in butter, chilli and dill. The bread is from the Dusty Knuckle social enterprise, and the baked goods and friendly Aussie service are a delight.

If you’re in this part then also wander a little further north along Kingsland Road to L’Atelier, Dalston. It’s a unique little café popular with freelancers, artists taking a break from their studio’s and 20 something’s on first dates. The coffee is great; the short order menu tasty (try the spring onion cheese toasty) – or if inclined, a vino and/or a bloody mary. But most of all we come for the exquisite ambiance: the effortless rustic interior decorated with reclaimed goods and the total “shazamable” spotify playlist. Go!

We can’t not mention Gaia Pulses  – simply because their authentic no fuss offering is profoundly in line with our eating ethic. Mostly pulses, augmented with meat, toasted sour dough and delicious homemade pickled veg condiments – served from the heart at this warehouse come studio block in Hackney Wick. Oh, and did we mention the home-made cakes?

Wait, Walthamstow?!

We were summoned to Walthsamstow twice during the spring, it made us wonder: has E17 come of age? If you’re in the hood, your first stop must be Bühler and Co. This tasty little number serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner alongside baked goods and decidedly antipodean (e.g. well crafted) coffee. It’s unashamedly vegetarian, not an ounce of bacon has drifted into their brunch menu – and the two non-vegetarians we had with us didn’t miss a thing: every dish from the spicy baked eggs to the spatzle with pea purée was rich, flavourful and wholesome. Go on a sunny day and enjoy the magnificent courtyard (feels like an Auckland back yard), although you can choose from two rather chic indoor spaces too.

We also tried Eat 17 Wathamstow, part of the group which has stores and restaurants in Hackney, in Walthamstow Village. Packed on a Friday night, we were impressed with the menu, including on-premise baked bread, ethically sourced produce and a kitchen that knows it’s stuff. We loved the special: pan roasted broccoli, carrot aioli, onion granola, halloumi, and red pepper.

Revisiting old favourites: @HonestBurgers & @CaravanKingsX @HoneyAndCo & @barrafinaFRst

Isn’t it lovely when you see an old friend and they’re still just as good as you remember?

  • I remember when Caravan Kings Cross was a wee rug rat, bringing decent coffee to Exmouth Market (finally). It still does great coffee and inspired small and mid sized plates. We loved the tofu crusted in chilli, drenched in thick soya sauce; and they’ve still got the blue cheese won-tons on the menu… Get in!
  • Just around the corner, Honest Burgers franchise is still living up to it’s name, serving tasty and well priced burgers, fries and other sides. The beers rotate fairly regularly though they’re still serving the cauliflower fritter as the veggie option. Not that we mind, it’s crispy, spicy and has lashings of a cooling yogurt sauce in a lightly toasted brioche.
  • I love love love Honey And Co. Except the lights. The lights are too white. But get past the lights and you’ll be enamoured with the deluxe mezze – you wont look at a Waitrose hummus selection the same way ever again. Oh and forget haloumi, now I’ve found manouri, a by-product of  feta-making. It’s a softer and saltier cheese than haloumi, but rest assured it’s still grilled and still delicious. And we all know so I probably don’t need to mention, the main reason to go to Honey And Co are the desserts, right?
  • I first met the acquaintance of Barra Fina when it was one, not three locations and when I used to eat (quite a lot more) meat. I was sceptical that on veg along it would cut muster. And while it by no means undelivered (the asparagus and truffle with egg was frankly, other worldly), I did feel the fish counter would give me a fuller experience. No two ways about it, veg focussed Spanish small plates: I’ve not yet seen it.

Veg Feasting Menu @RoyalChinaGroup #Queensway #NVW2016


There are few cuisines which – at least at face value, seem to offer less choice for vegetarians than Chinese. Indeed, the images that come to my mind when black bean sauce or Peking pancake are mentioned, tend to involve glistening duck carcasses hanging from silver hooks and steaming broths oozing pig fat. Yet, I am pleased to say, I recently had a vegetarian feasting menu at a Chinese restaurant and it was, by and large, quite good.

For National Vegetarian Week 2016, Royal China promoted their vegetarian set menu. I took along my bona fide veggie mate Dalston Chillies (Ben). As we settled into the shiny dining room amongst well-heeled banqueting families, we shared our expectations (they can make or break a meal, you know). We agreed our worst fear was that the glutinous gluggeyness of cornflour thickened sauces would adorn our dishes and we’d decide never to eat Chinese again. Luckilly, that wasn’t to be the case…

The Imperial Vegetarian Hors D’oeuvres (pictured above) was the first signal that we were going to be dazzled. A enormous platter of treats, and none of it felt like a meat-free compromise. Well seasoned tofu and topped with crispy fried chilli and shallots. A huge spring roll, bursting with veg and clearly hand made – so tasty we could have done with two. And a huge pile of crispy seaweed. The Aubergine a nice idea, but a little too much batter for me. For what was essentially a massive veg friendly fry up, the starter platter was light and not at all greasy. A great start.

The vegetarian crispy “duck” soon arrived. We hastily assembled little rice paper rolls stuffed with the familiar trimmings: cucumber, spring onion and hoi sin sauce. Ben was impressed with the sweet-meets-sour flavour of the sauce. For me, it was the remarkable familiarity of the tofu combined with the crispy rice noodles. With the oil seeping out of the noodles just that little bit, crispy tofu shards, and the fresh cool if cucumber gliding on through, there was a fabulous nod to the “real” thing.

Complete with dried rice noodles, vegetarian crispy "duck".

Complete with dried rice noodles, vegetarian crispy “duck”, pre roll.

The main event: egg noodles with beanshoots, served served with matriarchal fanfare alongside a trio of veg and meat-free dishes. Marinated mushrooms served with steamed greens, and a schezuan tofu, both were of our fears — slightly more thickening agent than kick. But we particularly liked the whole dried chillies and fragrant oil of the stir fried “chicken”, though found the chicken substitute a little synthetic; a tofu or wild oyster mushroom would have been a wonderful – and less manufactured alternative.


From sceptical beginnings, to a triumphant first impression, we on balance enjoyed the vegetarian menu at Royal China. Though the menu emphasised imitating meat rather than truly celebrating veg we left sated and in respect to several of the dishes and the atmosphere, quite impressed.

3 / 5

WVeg Feasting Menu @RoyalChinaGroup #Queensway

Royal China Queensway

13 Queensway London W2 4QJ

Reviewer: edibleJared, May 9, 2016

We were guests of Royal China. But if we didn’t like it, we’d say so.

We veg-test @MarketCamden #Camden

The ultimate eggs & soldiers: baked salsify, wrapped in golden, crispy filo pastry and served with a soft-boiled duck egg (£8.00). PHOTO: Hatti Owens

With a self-confessed “committed carnivore” at the helm and only one meat-free dish on the main menu, the good ship Market is not necessarily the first choice for a top veggie meal in Camden Town. But, boy, did this place deliver. As my companion and I gobbled bread, butter, salt and pepper (top marks), proprietor Denise talked us through the vegetarian options she had been specially rustling up with her team – despite the fleshy focus of its menu and specials, Market is more than happy to develop dishes for specific dietary-requirements or preferences. What a treat.

A light starter of bitter leaves, pear and Berkswell (£7.50) was crisp and tasty. The second starter was special. Sticks of baked salsify, wrapped in golden, crispy filo pastry and served with a soft-boiled duck egg (£8.00) – the ultimate egg and soldiers.

We shared two main courses. The spinach and ricotta dumplings dish (£14.50) was kept fresh with a sweet tomato ragu. Gnocchi and wild mushrooms with truffle oil (£15.00) was everything you’d expect and a triumph all the same. A mound of crisped gnocchi parcels topped with a tangle of creamy and warming wild mushrooms, finished with cheese, herbs and truffle oil. Hearty, garlicky and comforting – there was nothing not to like.

Choosing puddings was, as ever, tricky and the only real option for me and my companion was to share three. Obviously. The Bakewell tart (£6.00) – served warm and oozing sticky raspberry jam – was delightfully moist and matched well with milk ice cream buddy. The buttermilk pudding with chocolate, pine nuts and candied orange biscotti (£6.00) had a pleasing wobble and was kept just this side of too rich by the zing of fresh blood orange segments. The forced rhubarb and custard mess (£6.00) was pure indulgence. The rhubarb had mercifully kept its shape and the thick vanilla custard was a dream. A tumble of broken pistachios on top were stunning to look at as well as eat.

Denise and her team are committed to doing this restaurant thing ‘right’: dishes are seasonal; much of the produce is sourced from the local area – fruit and veg from Parkway Greens across the road, cheese from Neal’s Yard – and there is a clear willingness to cater for diners’ needs and wants. This effort is recognised and appreciated by diners – on a Monday evening, Market was bustling with repeat custom and newbies alike. I fully intend to travel 13 stops on the Northern Line to see what veggie delights Market will rustle up for my return.

3.5 / 5

We veg-test @MarketCamden #Camden

Market Camden

43 Parkway London NW1 7PN

Reviewer: Hatti, February 18, 2016

theEdit – Winter – @PidginLondon @ElloryLondon & @e5bakehouse

Introducing theEditWith a backlog of reviews and increasingly less time we’re creating a seasonal review of some of our veg-focussed, eating out highlights. Let me know what you think!

In my 20s living in Hackney eating in London Fields was a bit of a gastronomic wasteland. Aside from adventuring into cheap and dirty Vietnamese eateries, a pub supper at the Cat and Smutton (as we called) was the tastiest thing around (and not just for the food).

Nowadays between pop-ups under railway arches and start-ups aiming to become neighbourhood favourites there’s a lot of newness. I seem to be finding myself at the Lido or visiting friends in this neck of the woods more and more often, stop for a bite.

Jump to review:


All hail the set tasting menu. It’s become a familiar mantra at London restaurants, where clientèle give over choice to the wise guidance of the chef. I personally love the sense of not knowing what might arrive on your plate, that you might try something completely new. But the same deal can go either way for veggies, either a triumph of inventiveness, or a disappointing affair of half filled plates and half met expectation when chefs cut down the dish rather than re-think it. Thankfully it seems to me chef’s are increasingly aware of veg diners and, more impressively, often veg features heavily in this modern way of eating.

London Field’s Pidgin is thankfully of the latter variety. The night we dined (the menu changes weekly) only two of the six dishes had meat and those were skilfully adapted upon request. The dishes are a little more worked than some others in this set menu category; think carrots roast in coffee, with kim chi, saurkraut and apple. Pidgin is run by James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy, who’ve run a successful supper club but until now no restaurant. It could be argued this came through the night we visited, with dishes running out and the table not being available at the time we ordered. All in all, the food was very well put together and the experience enjoyable, despite a few slips. And at £35 per head for a four course set menu, we weren’t complaining.


Tucked between the arches and busy Mare Street, Ellory is a hidden oasis. A casual minimalism greets you as you enter through a wall of glass into a bustling dining room of clean surfaces and bright. Bright lights, bright animated young patrons and an overall bright mood. There is no mistaking as you arrive, that this is “new” London Fields. There’s a hint of new affluence, merged with east end realness.

The menu, like the décor, is minimalist, clean and a step above what you might expect for a neighbourhood player. Expect seasonal, pristine ingredients which sing alongside subtle but delectable broths, stocks and sauces plated often single-mindedly, with understated garnish. Head chef Matthew Young (formerly of Mayfields) knows how to make the sophisticated look effortless. While certainly not a “meaty” menu, veggies be warned that there’s a little smoked eel there, a little anchovy here. A quick conference between the chefs ensured a meat free version of the tasting menu (£38) was prepared, even if some veggie versions were little more than ingredient subtraction. What made our night was the wine pairing (£38) – course after course was served up along side a confident and a little-bit swanky selection of wine. All in all, a memorable evening.

Ellory Retaurant & Bar, 1 Westgate Street, E8 3RL.

E5 Bakehouse

Particularly on a chilly weekday morning, there’s an urge to carb load when one springs from the Lido. And as e5 Bakehouse is just a few steps away, it’s an ideal place to grab a cinnamon bun, brownie or other derivative of the croissant family. Even in the depths of winter there’s something lovely about sitting outdoors with a warming beverage, sucking sticky cinnamon glaze from your fingers. A rare burst of sunshine is about all that can top such a morning, I say.

Come for the sweet pastry treats, but have a coffee while you visit. Then, take a loaf of the sourdough home with you.

e5 Bakehouse, Arch 395, Mentmore Terrace, London E8 3PH.


Banana, peanut butter, honey on sourdough. Breakfast is served.

#BestOf2015 – London’s Best #Vegetarian Dishes for #2015


As the year draws to a close we thought it time to shout about our favourite veg dishes of 2015. While some are still relegating veg diners to “same-old” risotto’s, this list praises the creative, bold, talented and downright impressive veg creations we’ve seen this year.

10. Kohlrabi Ravioli at Grainstore Unleashed

It can’t be a surprise to see Bruno Loubet on this list. A true master of cooking with veg, his Grainstore Unleashed pop-up graced Clerkenwell for but a few weeks in the summer, but long enough for this magnificent creation to grace us with its presence. Wafer thin slices of Kohlrabi (there’s no pasta in this ‘ravioli’), stuffed with broad bean and tofu and served with a smattering of peas, further broad beans and wild garlic.

Try Bruno’s cooking at Grainstore Kings Cross:

9. Polenta and Artichoke at Jones and Son

Slightly tucked away just off Dalston’s Kingsland Road, Jones and Sons served up an unconventional veg main when we visited in July. Flipping the typical polenta orientation on its head, this was a creamy and provocatively placed fritter. The veg abundant and in many forms: whole artichoke hearts, fresh salsa and a chestnut purée. We want more of this kind of fresh thinking with classic veg ingredients.

Jones and Sons Polenta with grilled Artichoke. We want more of this!

Jones and Sons Polenta with grilled Artichoke. We want more of this!

8. Beans and Artichokes at Rotorino

Staying in Dalston and with artichokes, we visited Rotorino in August and found this tasty, cheesy stew. In the company of several meat eaters, we shared the veg dishes: all who tried rated this dish one of best of the night. The highlight was the elegant yet simple broth, pulling together the mushrooms, beans and artichokes that featured. Topped, of course, with parmesan for a salty southern Italian kick.

The veg special at Rotorino on Kingsland Road in late August was this brilliantly balanced Bean and Artichoke number.

The veg special at Rotorino on Kingsland Road in late August was this brilliantly balanced Bean and Artichoke number.

7. Mushroom, Miso, Bean and Cabbage at Paradise Garage

We’ve been dazzled every time we’ve been to Paradise Garage. Incredibly honed dishes, fabulous wine and wait staff, and THAT rabbit, what higher praise? Well, alongside the meaty tasting menu magic they also conjure up a vibrant veg tasting menu. This bean and cabbage number with miso may look and sound simple, but Robin Gills pulls these ingredients together with the kind of precision we’ve come to expect. Every element perfectly prepared, and the overall result: an artful plate.

Impressive, as you'd expect. Mushroom, miso, bean and cabbage - Paradise Row's vegetarian main for their launch menu.

Impressive, as you’d expect. Mushroom, miso, bean and cabbage – Paradise Row’s vegetarian main for their launch menu.

6. Beetroot with Horseradish at Primeur

There’s an awful lot of beetroot around London restaurants these days. Seldom however, is it prepared and served as perfectly as this. Primeur has gently cooked this heritage beetroot so they’ve an al dente texture with an ever so slightly candied edge. Served warm with horseradish, hazlenuts and parsley, it’s a starter that screams “you’ve only just begun”, in a dulcet Karen Carpenter kind of tone.

Served warm with a horseradish cream, Primeur (Highbury) serves this heritage beetroot as a starter.

Served warm with a horseradish cream, Primeur (Highbury) serves this heritage beetroot as a starter.

5. Courgette stuffed with Provençale sauce

If the chef at La Ferme were an artist, I’d have to guess a Parisian abstract expressionist. And the visual impression is what grabbed us the moment this dish arrived at the table. The round courgette was stuffed with a feta, pepper and olive sauce, and sat atop a bed of puréed corn.

Despite escaping a lot of mainstream foodie attention, La Ferme has established itself in a busy, competitive setting. The menu changes seasonally, so expect good variety of veg dishes, and hopefully the Courgette makes a return in the spring.

Courgette stuffed with feta and olives, with corn purée at La Ferme, Exmouth Market.

Courgette stuffed with feta and olives, with corn purée at La Ferme, Exmouth Market.

4.Vegetable Spring Roll at the Modern Pantry

This is the sort of veg main that screams “who needs meat”. And, we weren’t all that surprised, Anna Hansen can always be relied upon to served up an impressive vegetarian main. Packed with persian spices characteristic of the Modern Pantry’s Asian-fusion style, we adored these crispy spring rolls, and the beetroot chutney they came with. The filling includes spiced roast parsnip, cassava and swede and shaved turnips. These have crunch and flavour punch.

With a beetroot and almond salsa and shaved turnip garnish, these vegetarian spring rolls packed punch and had crunch.

3. Gorgonzola Arancini at Bernardi’s

Italian food is such a fruitful cuisine for the vegetarian. And although Arancini are often stuffed with ground veal or pork, that’s not always the case. Relative newcomer Bernadi’s has been well recieved in the foodie community. And we’ve found a lunch at this Mayfair bistro can really lift your day. This gorgonzola stuffed arancini was pure food porn and ticked the oozey satisfaction box too. On a grey autumn day, it bought a splash of sunshine. Oh and so did dessert (but that’s another top 10 list).

Crumbed and crispy while oozing molten goodness, Bernadi’s Arancini with Gorgonzola and Spinach

Crumbed and crispy while oozing molten goodness, Bernadi’s Arancini with Gorgonzola and Spinach

2. Acorn Squash Risotto at Holborn Dining Room

It’s not often a Risotto takes our eye. Though a well-made Risotto is an angelic thing, too often a mushroom or pumpkin risotto is a catch-all in the vegetarian section. Calum Franklin, Head Chef at the Holborn Dining room went out of his way to create a distinctive acorn squash risotto in the Autumn.

“Acorn squash are at their best in Autumn, dense and with a decent amount of natural sugar, we slowly caramelise them to transform the flavour,” Franklin says. The risotto is topped with crispy sage and diced squash, with a flash of Perigold truffle in the evening service to give a touch of earthy luxury. When designing the dish, Franklin says his aim was “to feel like someone putting their arms around you and giving you a hug whilst you were eating,” we think he achieved that.

Cepe, squash and crispy sage top this autumnal treat of a risotto at Holborn Dining Room.

Cepe, squash and crispy sage top this autumnal treat of a risotto at Holborn Dining Room.

1. Bao’s Daikon Bao

Unassuming looking fella, isn’t he? Looks can be deceiving, this Bun filling is anything but boring. The daikon is steaming hot inside, giving it a softness that compliments the pillow like texture of the bun. But with a crispy, breaded coating in between, there’s serious contrast in texture. Add a squirt of coriander salsa and a little chilli sauce, there’s a flash of zing too. We first tried this dish in the launch month, overhearing a certain Times food critique describe it as “just a radish sandwich”. We prefered our waitresses interpretation “it’s just sheer comfort, you gotta try it”.

Serious comfort: Daikon Bao at Soho’s Bao.

Serious comfort: Daikon Bao at Soho’s Bao.

To the chefs that put the effort into creating these meatless marvels, we salute you. And if you’re reading and craving veg, we suggest you head along to these restaurants. These dishes may have changed now, but safe to say, these restaurants take their veg very seriously indeed.

Review: The (very cute) @ChinLaundry, #Angel

Comforting, savoury tofu drenched in soya, with edamame and pickled mushrooms. Breakfast and brunch menu, £5.5

There’s something ever so heart-warming about seeing a local, owner-run business open, find it’s feet and begin to get noticed. When Chinese Laundry opened on upper street a few months ago I felt a curiousity: what was Chinese home-made food in the 80’s like? Not the tarted up Anglicised Chinese I knew in my 80’s childhood. When a certain well-known food writer reviewed it, I knew I had to try.

Two aborted attempts at dinner (they’ve since published a website with opening hours and have introduced a dinner service) and two actual visits later, I now feel somewhat armed to answer that question.

Enter and you’ve landed in what looks like a Shanghai hotel room in a style we’d perhaps assume to be more 50’s than 80’s. Decorative wallpaper and antique ornaments are dotted around, some looking as if they survived the great march. There’s been a real effort to create a certain atmosphere here – that’s sure. But as references to 1980’s China are somewhat missing from our culture, it’s a little hard to get a grounding. We dined twice, both times the restaurant was a little on the slow side, with curious commuters, passing through Islington checking out this new arrival.

The brunch menu is filled with dumplings, congee, omelettes and pancakes. The tofu battle (a challenge between sweet and savoury) took our eye. Dinner takes on a more cosmopolitan vibe with Baijiu (chinese wine spirit) cocktails. Small plates for starters (smashed cucumber and century egg, for example) and two ranges of larger plates, hot snacks and classics. Whether breakfasting or having supper, there’s a good smattering of veg, most notably the tofu dishes.

At breakfast I thoroughly enjoyed the savoury tofu. Smooth and comforting and topped with a variety of flavours and textures, it most certainly wasn’t boring – as tofu is so often criticised. The purple omelet, filled with purple sweet potatoes came promptly and was well executed, but was probably a bit more miss than hit. At dinner we were a larger group so tried a few more dishes. The crispy tofu was a delight. The piping hot, soft tofu, encased in a fried shell was like a treasure, smothered in a curious sweet meets savoury sauce. The manchurian lamb skewer also a spicy treat for the meaties: combining slow cooked rich lamb with a crispy edge. I found the veg dish (brocolli, pumpkin and peas) a little plain, despite the salted duck egg coating. The desserts were curious – a panda cotta caught our eye, if mostly for the play on words.

The portions aren’t huge – eat your fill and whack a few cocktails onto the bill and you’re up for a relatively expensive night out. Not, perhaps what you’d expect in a family dining room. There’s always a risk that home-style dishes end up being “could have made at home” dishes. Some, I fear, fall into that category. Others, are quite impressive.

All in all, Chinese Laundry is worth a visit, both to support this local crew as they establish and refine and also, to open a window into a little known culinary world. A cuisine which provided comfort and nourishment to many in China, but not at all known on these shores.

3 / 5

Brunch and dinner at the very cute @ChinLaundry, #Angel


107 Upper Street London N1 1QN

Reviewer: edible Jared, November 7, 2015

Brunch at @EatPoco #BroadwayMarket


It was difficult to contain my excitement when Tom Hunt announced plans to open a branch of Bristol’s Café Poco in London. Tom’s one of my food heroes, thanks in part to his focus on sustainability, seasonality and his effortless and long-standing veg focus. To top it off, brunch at his Stokes Croft café was one of the most memorable meals of my recent Bristol visits.

We visited as a gaggle of bloggers in early Autumn. Via Uber, bicycle and bus, one by one we arrived at the canal side, Broadway Market location once known as a bike repair shop. If this all sounds very East London so far, just wait. Poco’s interior transforms a relatively modern build into a friendly, warm wholesome dining room, with a feel of sustainability that runs deeper than the aesthetic. Reclaimed English timber, low energy lighting and clay based paints assure that. The crowd, a mix of Hackney locals taking brunch as they prepare for a day of doing what ever it is that East Londoners do, is unpretentious and chilled.

The weekend menu serves a good-sized brunch menu until 4.30pm and a tapas menu all day. We enjoyed brunch, kick-started with a delicious, boozy beetroot bloody mary. With six of us eating, we managed to try most brunch dishes, and as four of the dishes reflected Tom’s veg friendly focus, it’s safe to say vegetarians wont be disappointed. The Papas A Lo Pobre (£5.5) are Portuguese style potatoes that are crispy fried with rosemary, well seasoned (they pack punch) and topped with a fried egg and smattering of paprika. The Moroccan scramble (£7.9), one of the most popular breakfast dishes, is voluminous, spicy and down right impressive.

If the large serves don’t fill you, you can always top up, as we did, with a serve of the churros (£4), slightly gooey but with crispy edges and a deliciously rich chocolate sauce for dipping. We ravenously devoured, OK, I ravenously devoured. My foodie mates were much more restrained.

As well as being eco-friendly, Tom’s style is delicious and hearty, with a smattering of pan-European influence that makes for a meal that doesn’t need to apologise for being sustainable. We hope Poco becomes the Broadway Market cornerstone it’s location allows and which we think it deserves.

4 / 5

Brunch at @EatPoco #BroadwayMarket


129 Pritchard’s Rd London E2 9AP

Reviewer: edible Jared, October 11, 2015

Two toasty #Clapham #popups: @RotliCrew @JimmysPopUp

Visit the lodge, a cosy alpine-themes pop-up just steps from Clapham High Street. PICTURE:  (Hatti)

There’s a chill in the air, burnt orange leaves brighten grey London pavements and my favourite woolly jumpers have found their way to the front of the wardrobe. This time of year is meant for gathering around a candlelit table laden with comforting, hearty food to share with a huddle of your closest friends. Thankfully, this is what these two quite different Clapham pop-ups, in their own ways, both offer.

Rotli Crew at The King & Co., Clapham Park Road

“Curry? For breakfast?” was the bewildered response to my suggestion that we take a trip up Clapham High Street to check out the Rotli Crew’s residency at the King & Co. on a crisp Saturday morning. Luckily, after the initial shock had subsided, my eminently sensible flatmate came round to the idea and I’m so glad she did.

The Rotli Crew are settling in well as the King & Co.’s latest short-term resident. A Gujarati potato curry, served with parathas, yoghurt and a delightfully mustardy carrot pickle was popular at our table. As something of a kedgeree connoisseur, I was pleased by the generous helping of warming masala, perfectly soft-boiled egg, Moxon’s sustainable smoked haddock and curried rice which landed in front of me. The standout savoury dish was the aubergine, paneer & spinach bhajia, which was coated in a light, spiced gram flour batter – a great sharing starter for a long weekend brunch.

The mango and lime mousse to finish was wonderful – creamy and indulgent, yet refreshing and zingy. Think set mango lassi, with homemade buttery and lightly spiced nankhati biscuits and you’re there. And you want it all over again.

The Rotli Crew’s brunch menu is not set – admirably, it will change throughout their two month residency in order to adapt to shifting seasonality. I’m certainly keen to return. There’s talk of some Gujarati dumplings making an appearance on the evening menu – an opportunity I’m just not willing to pass by when they’re a brisk five minute walk from my front door on a chilly autumn evening.

The Rotli Crew are serving food every day at the King & Co. until Sunday 29 November.

3.5 / 5

Rotli Crew at the King and Co

Rotli Crew

100 Clapham Park Road London SW4 7BZ

The Lodge at the 409, Clapham North

Perhaps a bright October afternoon when the temperature was pushing 16⁰C and warm sunshine streamed in through the windows wasn’t the most appropriate day on which to visit The Lodge, a cosy Alpine-themed pop-up just steps from Clapham High Street.

Greeted by a warming glass of spiced mulled wine, we perused the menu. Whilst veggie options are a little thin on the ground (artichoke and mushroom risotto, anyone?), I’m not one to turn my nose up at sharing a huge pot of melted cheese resting over a flame in the middle of the table. Indeed, don’t mind if I (fon)do. Sorry. The tasty mushroom fondue that we went for is made with a happy blend of comte and coolea from Neal’s Yard, white wine and kirsch and is served with generous portions of bread and buttered new potatoes, along with a little but lovely salad for good measure.

I’m not one to turn my nose up at sharing a huge pot of melted cheese

The Lodge also boasts a fantastic cocktail menu which includes warming treats such as Marmottes Hot Chocolate (made with a blood orange liqueur, milky hot chocolate and whipped cream and, if you like, served in a thermos) and spiced buttered rum served with pineapple and meringue. This, along with its ski chalet chic wood-cladding and undeniably fun atmosphere has got me longing for clear, frosty evenings so I can return to The Lodge and legitimately settle in for the night with good friends, good fondue and a cocktail or two.

Jimmys Popup’s The Lodge is open Tuesday-Sunday until March 2016.

3 / 5

The Lodge at the 409, Clapham North

Jimmys Popup’s The Lodge

409 Clapham Road London SW9 9BT

Reviewer: Hatti, October 10, 2015

We Veg-test @Rotorino #Dalston

Rotorino Dalston - basked in neon pink.

I sometimes have to remind myself that it’s OK to visit a restaurant even when the fanfare’s died down. It’s easy to get caught up in the explosion of new openings. But, it’s also telling visit some time into a restaurants tenure, to see whether the pressure to increase profitability has meant the owners have cut corners. We visited Rotorino almost a year after it’s opening – so, a chance to test out if this place is keeping up it’s launch hype.

Offset from Kingsland Road by a row of parked cars and next to a chippie, Rotorino is unassuming from the outside. The exterior is sparse, brick walls and blinded windows, while a bright sign spells out the name in neon pink outline. Enter and you’re in a cozy, somewhat opulent world of copper fittings, more brick, dark lighting and “served-with-an-edge-of-cool” staff. Is this Dalston, or have we entered a porthole to the west-end? We got our bearings: this is Dalston, but it’s new Dalston, polished Dalston. Nothing wrong with that per-say, but surely not the hole in the wall Turkish, Afghan and Indian eateries we are more accustomed too this far up Kingsland Road.

On glancing the menu we’re impressed to see some of our Sicilian favourites appear: Panelle (a chickpea pancake) and Caponata (a rich stew of aubergine, tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts), both served as starters. We were transported back to a hot summers night in Palermo. The menu takes a slight detour to samphire and cold meat platters, then a selection of fried and grilled veg in a small plates section. Pastas’ follow, then meaty and fishy third courses, served with sides.

We combined first and third courses with sides and shared the lot between four. The food arrived quickly. Obviously, we chose the Panelle and the Caponata, both guzzled down quickly and of a good standard. We also chose the singular veg main, La Fritella, a gorgeous mix of broad beans, artichokes and peas in a tasty, light broth and topped with parmesan. The trotollini peppers stuffed with ricotta and chilli, were fun. The stuffed courgette flower supposedly had an anchovy accent, which we couldn’t detect. I prefer mint, both for the flavour and the veg friendliness. The fish-eaters on the table had the mussels, which were of a good size but slightly over-cooked in their otherwise fragrant sauce. The mussels went well with the tomato and salsify, though that combination re-appeared in a lentil, tomato and salsify side dish, which though interesting, didn’t seem like it was sure whether it was a hearty, stew-like side or a fresher, lighter alternative. That didn’t kill it, just made it a little indistinct.

Rotorino still has its impact: the space and overall service possesses an element of finesse. The food, solid, though perhaps losing some of it’s shine; not that I’ve a personal comparison of its launch offering, I’m just, so to say, believing the hype.

3.5 / 5

We Veg-Tested @Rotorino #Dalston,


434 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4AA

Reviewer: edible Jared, August 29, 2015

Two new #Scandi openings: @Rokshoreditch & @Lundenwic

A salad box (£6) and the best seats in the house. Photo: FelicitySpector.

A Nordic smokehouse and a Scandi inspired cafe. Two recent new openings which promised plenty of excellent veg-friendly food – we were immediately hooked.

Rök Smokehouse Soft Launch: Seasonal freshness and simplicity.

Rök Shoreditch was a long, narrow space with a small bar, tucked away on Curtain Road. On the very first day of the soft launch, some dishes were still being perfected, but we ordered everything veggie on the menu to try as much as we could. We weren’t entirely sure what was Nordic about ingredients like n’duja and watercress – but consultant chef Matt Young explained. “The menu is not expressly Nordic. We have instead set out to create a restaurant which follows the New Nordic Kitchen Manifesto, but makes use of British produce. In short, we are all about seasonal freshness and simplicity”.

Standout dishes were a fabulous charred broccoli salad with toasted seeds and tahini, and another salad of roasted beetroot, goats cheese and watercress, the grill again lending the beets a smoky depth of flavour. A cauliflower cheese was rich and oozing with sauce, although the sweet potato was a bit on the al dente side: teething problems which the opening week appears to have sorted out.

Of the pickles, our favourite was the crunchy sauerkraut – but perhaps the standout dish was the fabulous roasted peach with a crunchy almond crumble and a scoop of creme fraiche. The peach, roasted whole in the wood fired oven with a whisky honey glaze, was soft and tender and just sweet enough, with that note of slight bitterness from the char. And who can say no to a plate of crumble and cream?

3.5 / 5

Rök Smokehouse, Shoreditch: soft launch review

Rök Smokehouse

26 Curtain Road London EC2 3NQ

Reviewer: Felicity Spector, August 3, 2015

Lundenwic: Lunch at Aldwych just got Skandi

At Lundenwic, another tiny venue in the heart of London’s Aldwych, the Scandi influence is all about the design. Set up by Oliver Hiam and Dominic Handy, the pair behind the popular Scotchtails, the decor is pared back minimalism, all white walls and sleek lines. The menu is short but full of interest – there are four salads, huge toasted sandwiches, a tempting array of cakes, and coffee by Workshop. They’ve recruited the former Bob’s Lobster chef Matt Shea to design the food, and his expertise shows – there’s plenty here for vegetarians, from the salads to a sandwich stuffed with butternut squash, chermoula and preserved lemon, on bread by Balthazar.

£6 buys you a pretty generous small box of salads: I was more than happy with my mix of roasted butternut squash with chick peas, pearl barley with roasted and raw beetroot, and pickled peach with green beans, feta and hazelnuts. The desserts certainly lived up to expectations too: a little cherry frangipane slice was gorgeous, while a mini chocolate fondant managed to ooze perfectly: deep and rich with dark chocolate. Breakfasts, including a range of different porridges and some excellent plum compote with granola and yoghurt, looked tempting too.

The entrance to the cafe used to lead to a theatre: Oli points out the old mosaic lettering on the doorstep which still remains, almost intact. “YOU WANT BEST SEATS WE HAVE THEM”. I ate my lunch alfresco, in the nearby Lincolns Inn Fields. Best seat in the house.

4 / 5

Lundenwic Food + Coffee, Aldwych


45 Aldwych London WC2B 4DW

Reviewer: Felicity Spector, August 10, 2015