Allerton Road is home to a wonderfully diverse restaurant, with Jewish, and German cuisine influences. The décor is stylish, brickwork, art work and restrained colours, make for an upmarket, yet relaxed atmosphere. The bar runs the length of the ground floor, and it is an indication that they take their liquor and cocktails seriously. The cocktails are inventive and an almost essential part of the experience. The Malbec red was fine, and silky smooth. The staff are friendly and want to talk about the inspirations for cuisine and the cocktails. The owner has a bold vision, and the resulting dishes are an impressive nod to his culinary roots.
WORDS: Jean Hill
Signature bagels, and they are very good ones, from the State Fayre Bakery, have an almost starring role at East River. We tried half a dozen different dishes; the bagel based Dirty French was quite something and possibly my favourite. The roast beef was tender and had a bitingly fresh, slightly salty taste. The red onion marmalade was a perfect accompaniment with horseradish, crème fraiche and a delicious dipping gravy. These are not really small plates: rather complete, intricate dishes on a smaller scale. This works really well: though it is possible we tried for almost too many different options.
There are vegetarian dishes too. Halloumi, honey glazed, chive crème fraiche and grilled peppers delivers on sweet and sharp. Another favourite… I know, how many favourites are we talking here! Chicken and Matzo Ramen, with soft-boiled eggs, matzo balls, root vegetables and dill is quintessentially Jewish. Each component is an essential part of the whole and the chicken is marvellously crispy and succulent. This is serious, satisfying comfort food with attitude. A smoked salmon salad with Caesar dressing makes for balance in the heady mix.
We learnt a good deal about the Jewish and German elements of the cuisine from the owner. We discovered that there are two young resident chefs both named George. And we got to meet George, on the night, who obviously loved his job. That could be the key: that everyone involved believes wholeheartedly in the restaurant and feels driven. It is authentic, and there are sweet bagels too, with blueberry cream cheese, berries, banana and honey. The trick will be leaving enough room for them. A lovely experience, and East River does brunch from 9am, and switches to the dinner menu after 4pm. We intend to try brunch next.
For more culinary inspiration, please pay a visit to our food & drink page.