Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Hackney Pearl redux


Grilled onglet with Paris Café butter and thrice cooked chips- £14.70.

Superb tasting steak and suitably well bloodied but let down by the skin-on chips (skin = indolence) that were anything but thrice cooked.


The Hackney Pearl resonates my appetite, both unfailingly and rewardingly.

I cannot think of better place to spend the rest of your well-earned Sunday afternoon than here.

The dining room embraces natural daylight with dignified intent. The service is warm and charming.

I always start with one of the best Bloody Marys found in the capital.

Great starters are offered on the menu to be shared and savoured.

Big fat juicy pilchards Cornish Sardines.
I could quite easily devour half a dozen of these with a bottle of Pouilly-Fumé

Chicken liver pate, toast and cornichons

I don't usually dig chicken livers but The Hackney Pearl ensured otherwise.
Absolutely delicious.

A second Bloody Mary maintains the craving for the next course!

The mains are impressive and luscious.

Now who needs Petersham Nurseries, when similar grub can be had here for less than half the price!

Roast lamb rump, flageolet beans and wild onion pesto.
I was suitably overwhelmed by this dish and will order and order again.

Vegetarian meze platter with Turkish bread.

The houmous and Balkan slaw were a resounding success.

Pork chop (from a happy pig I presume), new potatoes and apple doo-dah.

Sweet and tender tasting meat. Beautiful.

A regular pud at the Pearl that's Eton Mess.

Don't fret about piling on the pounds since a hard workout is called for the next day at the gym!

Alas the Pearl is not without faults; the flat white served here (using Square Mile beans no less) is below average. I blame the machine used.

The folks at The Hackney Pearl have put the Wick on the map and that's even before the Olympic Stadium is completed. See you there on Sundays. Highly recommended.

11 Prince Edward Road

(Grnd Flr Oslo House East Wing)
Hackney Wick, E9 5LX


Friday, 20 August 2010


A rather fine food blogger told me recently that he would weep if he saw another review of Dishoom, Sushi Ga Ga or Goldfish City. Well, I too wept like a baby with the overabundance of Bar Boulud postings (which incidentally I haven’t been and nor do I intend to. This is simply because of the over-praising of the charcuterie platter and the DBGB burger that might incite the insidious prejudices I may harbour and thus write about.) As for this post, I could but only drum up two lame excuses for doing so. Dishoom is directly opposite my daughter’s fave memorabilia store and me blog is beginning to look dormant.

Dishoom is in three+ words; refreshing, good (certainly not brill), and not cheap. When we visited the place it had already garnered enough potential and repute with the congruous amount of YBAs (Young Brithish Asians) seen lunching. The modernity of the interiors made it hard for me to appreciate or perhaps realise the ‘faded elegance’ of the original Bombay cafés that Dishoom is supposedly modelled on but that said, the service was entirely excellent. The menu is one of those that are created to deceive and entice both the brain and palate. A little of what you fancy, and this, and that, and before long you find yourself settling the bill with plastic because you thought a 20 quid note would suffice for a ‘café’ meal. This is the unfortunate curse that’s part and parcel with joints that offer small plates or tapas!

What we had-

Dishoom Calamari
As promised on the menu, it was indeed zesty and spicy. The squids were beautifully cooked.

Roomali Roll of Malai Chicken

A wrap by any other name consisting of mildly spiced chicken, herbs, rabbit fodder and chutney. Daughter thought it was overridden with herbs (coriander she meant) and I agreed. If you want an Indian inspired wrap, then Mooli’s is truly indicative.

Desi Fish Fingers

Was kinda expecting Birds Eye Fish Fingers with a bit of twist. Alas, not so, breadcrumbs where art thou? True the fish were cooked to perfection but the overgenerous amounts of chilli powder in the batter made it impossible to identify whether it was cod, haddock or pollock. I suppose it can only be good news for the latter as it can no longer be classified as cat food at Dishoom.

Bombay Sausages

Slices of tiny chipolatas in Bombay masala. Now if any nation wish to modify our venerable banger then as far as I know only the Thais have done it well, see here . Unfulfilling. The dish would’ve been better if they served the chipolatas whole, but then again this would mean the curtailing of operating margins for the restaurant. However, the masala bit was redeeming; delicious and moreish.

House black daal
Posh tarka dhal to the chicken tikka masala praiseworthies. Daughter suggested it was a Marmite dip, I thought it was the best dish served at Dishoom. It was so perfect you could drink it (albeit without burning yourself) instead of eating it. Yum. This is one of the reasons apart form the service I’ll revisit Dishoom.

Three small plates, one wrap, a veg side (dhal is classed as so in 90% of Indian menus in Britain) and two bottles of sparkling filtered Thames; Dishoom is hardly cheap. But I would go back to sample the grills, biryanis and a bit of booze. Credit cards need apply here.

St Martin's Courtyard
12 Upper St Martin's Lane
Covent Garden

London, WC2H