Ellory: exemplary cooking and wines at London Fields’ latest modern bistro
Every now and again, a new restaurant comes along and shoots straight into my shortlist of ultimate favourite spots in London. Such is the case with London Fields’ latest modern bistro, Ellory.
A joint venture between ex-Mayfields chef Matthew Young and sommelier Jack Lewens, Ellory has all the ingredients of that perfectly formed neighbourhood bistro I wish was just round the corner from my place. Friendly, informal, and convivial, the refurbished ground floor space in Netil House was absolutely buzzing on the Friday evening we visited.
The food here at Ellory picks up from where Mayfields left off before the Hackney favourite closed – simple but innovative cooking, immaculate presentation, with a focus on seasonal British produce. Menu-wise, there’s à la carte options for those looking for a snack or lighter meal here. If you are after the whole shebang, they do a 5-course tasting menu, priced at a very reasonable £38. The wine list is largely old world – a compilation of unique, high quality producers from France, Italy and Spain. If our delectable bottle of Nicolas Reau’s Loire Chenin Blanc was anything to go by, it’s safe to say that there are some real gems in the list that Jack has curated here.
Our tasting menu for the evening kicked off with thick cut slices of raw red mullet, paired with orange, fish roe and crème fraiche. The red mullet itself was as fresh as it gets and a match for top drawer sashimi-grade fish. Fresh orange segments and herbs did their part in bringing the dish to life. What surprised me most of all though was how well the crème-fraiche worked – its creaminess and subtle acidity complemented the flavour of the raw mullet and fish roe beautifully.
Next, tender cubes of ox tongue, each bursting with flavour and served with the most moreish of anchovy sauces. Again, an unusual but truly delectable combination. Toasted hazelnuts and bitter-sweet radicchio leaves provided additional texture and balance.
Then came what was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening – a fish course consisting of brill and artichokes. The fish was cooked to absolute perfection – the skin crispy… the brill flesh still buttery and moist. Contrasting textures of artichoke – sautéed, pureed and deep-fried were each delicious in their own right and tasted even better when eaten as a whole with the brill. Rarely does a fish course steal the limelight away from the meat for me, but this was something special.
Onto the meat course – loin of Saddleback pork, chargrilled calcots and ramson leaves. Full marks on the cooking of the pork loin – it was uncannily even throughout and the meat still moist and ever so tender. The flavours here were simple and clean, letting the unadulterated taste of the saddleback, calcots and wild garlic shine through. An accomplished dish, though I thought an extra touch of acidity or sweetness from somewhere would have lifted the flavours even further.
A dreamy dessert of curd ice-cream, tarragon granita and poached rhubarb brought the curtains down on the tasting menu – the full spectrum of flavours contrasting yet completely harmonious. I particularly loved the subtle, savoury note in the curd ice-cream – it was a match made in heaven for the sweet, tangy flavour of the rhubarb.
All in all, an exemplary experience on the whole that was paced to perfection by a warm and personable front of house team. On reflection, every dish from start to finish delighted and surprised in its own way – some due to the unusual, innovative combinations… others impressed because of the sheer quality of the produce and flawless cooking technique. This is modern British cooking of the very highest order, celebrating seasonal produce at its absolute prime. And at £38 for 5 stunning courses, it’s fabulous value for the quality on offer.
It’s still early days in 2016, but I suspect I’m not going to find a better meal washed down by better wine for this price point anywhere else this year.
Neil House, 1 Westgate Street, London E8 3RL | www.ellorylondon.com