Thursday, October 09, 2014
434 Kingsland Rd
Not to sound like completely smug jerks, but A and I found ourselves having a conversation about how amazing our neighbourhood has turned out to be since we moved in almost six years ago. Neither of us were familiar with it when we decided to take a small leap of faith and just go for it, and in the years since we have seen a huge number of restaurants, bars, and shops open up, almost all pretty much designed to be right up our alley of interests.
Smug jerk-ness aside, we now have a restaurant at the end of our road that has a chef that is well known and well awarded. Rotorino, which didn't have a sign up when we went (but I think that has now changed) is a gem of a neighbourhood restaurant. We went on a Sunday evening, so things were pretty chill. I had my sleb spot early on, helped by the fact that we'd just watched Broadchurch in the couple of weeks before visiting Rotorino, so hi Nigel!
As soon as I saw a starter of pig face, I had to get it. A was much less enthusiastic about that decision, but gamely tried one piece. My counterargument is who doesn't love breaded, deep fried bits of juicy pork? Who cares if it comes from the pig's face, or leg, or tummy?
We then shared some ricotta gnudi - one of the richest pasta dishes I have ever tasted but in such a delightful way, though I'm glad we shared. The roast chicken (whoops, there was ricotta stuffed under its skin as well) was fought over eagerly by the two of us and went perfectly with a side of roast new potatoes.
The meal only stumbled when we got to desserts. We went for a three-peat on ricotta with the fried ravioli, but the dough was bland and it was less a ravioli and more a stodgy filled pocket of dough. While the savory-sweet description sounded nice, it didn't really work in practice and I wouldn't get it again.
That said, we loved Rotorino enough to talk about it constantly, plotting our next trip there - so we'll be back soon and ready to try more of the short but elegant menu.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
1-3 Stable St
J and I hadn't seen each other in a while, and Kings Cross tends to be a good place for us to meet as it's on both of our ways home from work, so we agreed to meet at The Grain Store, a restaurant I had heard mixed reviews about but was still curious to try. One of the big draws is the cocktail list brought to you from the genius behind 69 Colebrooke Row, but as we were both avoiding alcohol for various reasons, we didn't get stuck in (but not to worry, I'll be back to try it). I loved my starter, listed as asparagus, minted mushy peas, parmesan mousse - each component was full of flavor and it felt light and perfectly in season. J had the cauliflower 'couscous' & spelt salad, vegetable merguez, yoghurt & pistachio - I have no idea how they formed a sausage out of vegetables but it was excellent, and a very generous portion indeed. For my main, I saw the word kimchi and could go no further, so I selected the homemade kimchi cabbage broth, udon noodles & squid, which was again exactly what I wanted - a broth full of deep kimchi notes, with springy noodles and tender squid. I believe J had some kind of lamb and aubergine dish which she really enjoyed as well - clean plates at the end of the night for both of us, and what was even nicer is that we walked out full but not overly so - the emphasis on the vegetables really shines through at The Grain Store and I'd love to go back for more.