Windfall Green Tomato Chutney

DSCN6686Our lovely neighbour dropped off a whole shoebox of green tomatoes, meaning only one thing – windfall chutney! For years my mum has made green tomato chutney in a bid to use up the last fruit on the vines from my dad’s greenhouse. This year he’s also grown an abundance of over-sized ridge cucumbers too – so we’d got a load of these. And there was the red grapes dying in the fridge…

DSCN6693…also not forgetting the big bag of chillies from the market for a bargain £1, a sack of onions from the Turkish supermarket for £1.09 plus apples from our neighbours tree. So we decided all this could be transformed into a spicy, fruity chutney –  just a few jars to see us through the winter.

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First thing to do is prepare your jars and lids – make sure they’re spotlessly clean by washing in hot, soapy water. Then pour boiling water into the jars and let them sit for a few minutes before pouring the water out and letting them dry. Alternatively put them on a hot dishwasher cycle.

This recipe will make about 4 jars. It is an economical and flexible recipe – the amounts  are approximate and the veggies/fruits are easily variable.

You need:

  • 1.5kg green tomatoes
  • 4 large apples
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3 large onions
  • 100g sultanas or grapes
  • 25og brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 5 chilli peppers (de-seeded)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 600ml vinegar

Method:

Core and chop the apples and put them into a large pan. Add the roughly chopped cucumbers (de-seeded), tomatoes, onions and chillies (de-seeded).

Next add the sultanas, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, turmeric, ginger and vinegar.

DSCN6695Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for an hour, giving it a stir occasionally to stop it sticking. Then spoon into the jars and seal.

This chutney is best left for a month and will keep for up to a year. As well as being a vital part of a tasty ploughman’s salad or a mighty cheese sandwich, chutney also makes a great fruity addition to a winter veggie stew or in a meat or lentil curry.

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Coffee & cakes in E17

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Swedish Midsummer strawberry cake @ Bygga Bo

We have our old-favourite coffee shops, the new ones that we just love and those that we just occasionally pop into for a quick takeaway coffee before jumping on the tube. So after lots of difficult reseach & tasting, we have put together our list of the coffee shops in E17 that we think are well worth a visit! Oh and we’re stating upfront before our inbox falls over with protests, this list is just OUR opinion – go out and try them for yourselves.

Hoe Street in Walthamstow is like running the ‘cake’ gauntlet. It takes strong willpower every morning to make it to the station without emerging from one of the many coffee shops with a latte and cake. Scrap that. Let’s be real, we have to walk the back-route otherwise we would be in Oasis or L’Hirondelle until lunchtime, quietly munching through their delicious cakes – a particular favourite is the almond eclairs oozing with custard!

Have fun working through this list:

  • 56 St James  – The first Hackney-style hipster cafe in the Stow – a blackboard wall and graffiti art. Serving flat whites and espressos using Nude Coffee, toasted sandwiches and salads (56 St James’ Street, E17 7PE)
  • Aura Rosa Cakes at Mother’s Ruin Gin Factory  – Delicious flamboyant cakes and patisseries served up alongside small-batch fruit gin liquers and cocktails – what more is there to say! (Unit 18, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, E17 9HQ)
  • Bygga Bo – Swedish cakes and open sandwiches, including the popular cinnamon buns. Excellent coffee, teas and juices and a sunny garden and art space at the back. Lots of tempting home ware & clothes shopping too (8 Chingford Road, E17 4PJ)
  • Cafe Bonito - Daily changing Mediterranean menu. Homemade cakes and churros (doughnuts) washed down with thick, dark, sweet Spanish hot chocolate – like a rich chocolate soup!  (162 Wood Street, E17 3HX)
  • Deja Vu – Bulgarian cafe with a hidden back garden full of sofas for the smokers. Serve lovely lattes and toasties. Good place for people-watching as they wander up and down the market in the summer (75a High Street, E17 7DB)
  • Golden Rustic Deli - Romanian deli shop, bakery and small cafe. Strudel, rum cakes, bread and pretzels all freshly baked at the glass fronted bakery on site. They also serve daily specials and soups (228 Hoe Street, E17 3AY)
  • Le Delice – An old favourite. Big cappuccinos, 3 x daily specials and North African tagines, fresh juices, ice creams and highly recommended pizzas. Bonus of free WiFi. Beautiful special occasion cakes made to order (114 Hoe Street, E17 4QR)
  • L’ Hirondelle – Long-standing, unpretentious local hangout making great coffee from an iconic Italian Elektra coffee machine. Enticing homemade pastries and cakes at reasonable prices – our favourites are the macaroons and almond eclairs. Watch the short-film of behind the scenes with Milo the Baker  (160 Hoe Street, E17 4QH)
  • Niyazi Usta - The new Turkish bakery (actually it’s a baklavaci) with a tempting array of savoury pastries including gozleme (stuffed pancakes) and of course amazing baklava – the walnut and pistachio ones are totally yum! (254 Hoe Street, E17 3AX)
  • Oasis  – Great coffee and homemade pastries and cakes. Roadside garden terrace for people watching or air-conditioned interior including an internet cafe. One of the cheapest places in the Stow – only £1.3o for a latte (152 Hoe Street, E17 4QR)
  • Tierra Madre – Alessandro serves up Italian coffees and the best almond croissants ‘to go’ from his animal-sculpture covered coffee kiosk at Walthamstow Central tube station (Selbourne Walk)
  • Windmill  – Madeiran /Portuguese cafe & tapas restaurant serving Pastel de Nata custard tarts and good coffee, a little Iberian holiday escape (18 High Street, E17 7LD)
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    56 St James’

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    Flat White @ 56

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    Fresh Danish pastry and lattes @ Oasis

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Chocolate & Guinness cake @ Aura Rosa at the Mothers Ruin Gin Factory

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Old Italian copper coffee machine @ L’Hirondelle (always reminds me of a Dalek!)

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Spinach gozleme and baklava @ Niyazi Usta

 

 

 

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It’s raining cakes!

DSCN6630We arrived home one evening this week soaked to the skin – squelching sandals and soggy T-shirts and jeans. What happened to the summer sunshine?

So – time to bake a comforting ‘cheer-me-up’ cake. A quick raid of the fridge and cupboards identified some likely / possible cake ingredients – carrots, blueberries, dates, yogurt – but there were no eggs in the house?!

And here was the dilemma – get soaked again running to the shop to buy eggs or risk an egg-free cake disaster. One glance at the rain bucketing it down made the decision easy – egg-free cake it is. After a bit of an internet search and a few tweaks of our own this recipe, once triple tested, was declared a success. It’s light, delicious and feels quite virtuous, being wheat and butter-free too. We also experimented with adding poppy seeds which worked well. It seems to last a few days (well it would if one of the foodies didn’t keep scoffing it) and is great with a coffee or served up with warming custard or cooling ice-cream – depending on the summer weather!

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Yogurt & blueberry cake (egg-free)

You need:

250g Spelt (or plain) flour
1.5 tsp Baking powder
0.5 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
60ml Olive oil
pinch Salt
60ml Milk
125g Yogurt
150g Sugar (plus more for the topping)
1 Vanilla pod
1 tbsp Lemon juice
190g Fresh blueberries (or any other berries)
zest 1 Lemon

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease with olive oil or line with silicon / baking paper a large loaf tin.

Put 3 tablespoons of the flour in a small bowl and add the blueberries, wrapping each one in flour will stop them all settling at the bottom of the cake when it’s baking.

In large bowl sieve the remaining flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set it aside.

Whisk the oil and sugar together, then add the yogurt and milk and briefly whisk again. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla essence.

Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together until everything is well mixed. Now add the blueberries and any remaining flour and stir together.

Spoon the batter into the tin and bake at 180 C for around 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave it to rest for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and let the cake cool.

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The Ferry Boat Inn – Tottenham Hale, N17

20140524_161340Like lots of Walthamstowers, one of the foodies was caught out on Friday night by the tube disruption and was forced to do the long walk home across the reservoirs from Tottenham Hale. But this reminded us that we’ve been meaning to post for ages about The Ferry Boat Inn.

The old inn has been trading for over 250 years at the crossing of the River Lea, and after a recent major refurbishment the place looks great. Tottenham isn’t exactly famous for its drinking establishments, so with its winter log fires, stone-flagged floors, oak beams and large garden for a summer’s evening overlooking the reservoir, this is like escaping to a local country pub (even if it’s the chain version).

The drinks include some interesting craft and real ales, wines from about £3.50 a glass, and a wide range of soft drinks. The food is reasonably priced with an emphasis on pub classics of steaks, sausage & mash, burgers and scampi & chips. There’s a Spice Night special on Wednesdays when curry and a drink will only set you back £7.75.

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We opted for the classic 7oz beef burger in a brioche bun with tomato & jalapeno relish and an upgrade to sweet potato chips for £8.85 served up on a wooden board. It was simple, happy pub grub – nothing more or less. But the unexpected winning meal was from the ‘under 500 calories’ range.  This was a plate loaded with the Superfood Salad – shredded beetroot, edamame beans,  cucumber, tomato, mixed leaves, coriander, spring onion, radish and pomegranate served up with a tasty 8oz chargrilled rump steak. Not bad for only 490 calories! (£10.45).

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We keep saying we’ll go back for the all day Sunday Roast – with a tasty sounding 35-day aged rib eye of beef for £10.95 or pork or turkey and all the trimmings for £9.95. We’ll let you know how we get on.

Ferry Boat Inn
Ferry Lane
London
N17 9NG

Tel: 0208 8084980

 

 

 

 

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Bygga Bo – Scandinavian cafe

DSCN6491We love Bygga Bo (meaning ‘to make a nest’) – how did we live without it? We waited months for it to open, and when it did we were there! It’s in an old hairdresser’s shop just near The Bell. The décor is a comfortable mix of modern and vintage, complete with original mirrors, brass panelled ceiling and even the old hair perming heaters converted into lights.

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Malin and Eva serve good coffee in pretty cups and our Saturday morning indulgences include sourdough toast with jam & butter, their popular cinnamon buns and the quinoa porridge topped with fresh pomegranate.

Bygga Bo 2There’s a good range of Swedish teas and bottled juices, but I’m a fan of their fresh smoothies!

DSCN6529But there’s more to this place than breakfast; just pop in for a cinnamon bun and a coffee and be prepared to fall in love with a pair of Swedish clogs, the Skandi designer homeware, cute kids clothes, Fjallraven bags or the beautiful toiletries…

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DSCN6494There’s also one-off events – art exhibitions, live music afternoons … We really enjoyed welcoming in the Midsummer with homemade schnapps and tongue-twisting Swedish drinking songs! Marinated herrings, potato salad and meatballs, and fresh strawberry cake also added to the traditional evening.

DSCN6567If you thought this place couldn’t be more bang on trend, The East London Cheese company has kicked off a weekly Saturday residence in the garden. We highly recommend the Drunken Burt – a stunning washed Cheshire, the buffalo milk Pendragon, and the Fosseway Fleece ewe’s milk cheese from Somerset.

DSCN6569And if you find yourself still lingering there at lunchtime … try the open sandwiches – meatball with beetroot; smoked salmon & horseradish, and exciting toasties – butternut squash & blue cheese; ham, cheese & mustard or cheese, tomato & basil butter. There are also specials … the quinoa, butternut squash, pomegranate & feta salad is lovely.

Bygga Bo 1So when you’ve done your shopping, bought your cheese and had a lovely breakfast or lunch in the decked garden … a cheeky pint is only a couple of doors away at The Bell – what a great start to the weekend!

Bygga Bo
8 Chingford Road
E17 4PJ
Open: 9am -5pm, daily
twitter.com/byggabo

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Sodo – Sourdough pizza cafe

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Fancy an amazing pizza this weekend? Get yourself to Sodo in Clapton or in the George & Vulture pub in Hoxton (they have a branch in Honor Oak Park – but that’s south of the river!).

We went to the Clapton ‘pizza cafe’ on a Saturday night earlier this year and it was packed – you’ll need to reserve a table. It’s only a small place, squeezing in about 25 people at an array of high tables, small tables and counters. The service is lovely and so is the home-made ginger beer! They also offer wine from Borough Wines and local Hackney beers from Beavertown, the Kernel and the London Fields Brewery.

So a few weeks ago we tried the Hoxton version. This is housed within the George and Vulture – a big Victorian boozer on the edge of Shoreditch.  They offer a good range of real ales on the pumps and a wine list from £15.

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The menu is short and very reasonably priced especially considering the authentic Italian or locally sourced ingredients that they’re using. In Clapton, but unfortunately not available in Hoxton, the sides include a bowl of mixed Nocellara, Queen Green & Botija olives for £3.50 and a green salad from local Growing Communities farmers market (£4).

SoDo 6At both places they have a sliced meat plate from local curers Picco Salumi with sourdough and pickled cucumber slices for £6, and our favourite indulgence – the heavenly (but sinful) cream-filled, fresh mozzarella Burratina with olive oil and basil (£5).

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But what about the pizza? Well, on a light and crispy sourdough base they have some great veggie options including the Sunny Goat – goats cheese, sun dried tomato & rocket, and the Lorena – mozzarella, butternut squash, rosemary, feta & pine nuts for only £8.

For a couple of quid more there’s the meaty versions, such as the Dirty Boy – topped with caramelised onions, mushrooms & smoked pancetta, or the Cured Meat – salami Napoli, salami Calabrese, Parma ham & chilli. In Hoxton there was also a fishy Jon Bon Chovy – anchovy, olives, capers, & chilli.

Plus there are weekly specials; we had a fiery London Sexy with ‘Nduja’ – a spicy, spreadable pork and roasted pepper Calabrian salami. As a gluten-free alternative in Hoxton they also offer the pizza toppings baked a butter bean stew. 

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the pizza as it was so good!

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For dessert there was a choice of the Italian classics of Tiramisu or espresso coffee & ice cream Affogato for only £4.

Sodo Clapton
126 Upper Clapton Road
E5 9JY
020 8806 5626

Sodo Hoxton
The George & Vulture
N1 6BU
020 7253 3988

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Mussel Men Sunday seafood roast

20140525_141614This is my kind of Sunday Roast; when the sun is shining and the seaside is calling, Mussel Men in Dalston is the place to eat bucket loads of seafood. Mussel Men offer a short menu – focusing on what they do best, mussels (mariniere, curry or Buerre Blanc) & chips, lobster and rock oysters.

I like that this isn’t pretentious seafood fine dining, it reminds me of the seafood bars and cafes around the markets in France and Spain. Mussel Men has evolved from street food to restaurant pop ups and bring a new approach to dining out. They’ve recently moved along to 584 Kingsland Road and are open for BBQ weekends, late night cocktails and live music. The staff are super friendly, the furniture is rustic and the walls are covered in graffiti art.

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The Seafood Roast Platter is a monster tower of  steaming mussels, clams, razor clams, langoustines, tempura-battered soft shell crab and cheesy Rockefeller oysters. It’s served with all the Sunday Roast trimmings of fat chips, mini Yorkshire puddings and veggies. £20 pp for min 2 people. It was outrageously delicious!

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The drinks are decent price to quality ratio – £5 for a glass of Prosecco or wine, craft beers for £4, and some unusual seafaring cocktails at £7.

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For dessert we had the homemade waffle with bacon ice-cream and maple syrup – like eating bacon crisps flavour ice-cream; it was wrong on so many levels but strangely addictive! If you fancy a Sunday roast with a difference give it a go.

584 Kingsland Road
London
E8 4AH

1 minute walk from Dalston Junction overground

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Brazilian food & football fever

Brazilian shop at night

With the football fever of the World Cup 2014 about to kick off, I thought this would be a good time to post about our local Walthamstow Brazilian butchers and deli, Boi Na Brasa and Ki Delicia. Everything seems to be going ‘Brazilian’ from Lucozade flavours to Latin feasts at The Goose, but it’s great to see a surge of interest in Brazilian food.

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‘Boi Na Brasa butcher and Ki Delicia cafe’ is a bit of an unusual concept – it’s like two businesses sharing one shop – but it seems to work. They’ve been trading since just before Xmas on Hoe Street near The Bell.

The butcher’s counter at the front of the shop stocks a great range of homemade spicy sausages (Linguica) at £4.99 per kilo. These are smoke cured, intensely ‘meaty’ bangers seasoned with garlic and paprika – a couple each make a good meal, typically served with rice, beans and salad.

There are Costela ribs and Alcatra rump steak on offer, but we go for the Picanha which is more like a rib-eye steak. This is the prime Brazilian beef cut, popular in all Churrascaria restaurants. Seasoned, grilled and sliced to share, it makes a fantastic steak & chips, beef salad or stir-fry.

20140517_102840At the back of the shop is the cafe and deli. They specialise in Coxinhas  – delicious Brazilian chicken croquettes made of shredded chicken and cheese encased in a deep fried crispy dough, which is shaped like a chicken drumstick thigh.  There are also Lebanese- influenced beef Kibbe and other popular Brazilian street snacks – eat in or take-away at £1 -£1.50. The coffee is strong , dark and cheap – about £1 for an espresso.

They’ve recently started doing lunchtime special including a drink for £5.99, and the Brazilian classic black bean and meat stew Feijoada is available at the weekend.

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In the deli / shop they stock Brazilian staples that aren’t always easy to find – Manioc (cassava) flour, Farofa, frozen snacks including cheese bread ‘Pao de Queijo’ and drinks including my favourite pick-me-up Guarana Antarctica.

If you live in the area this is a great place to get sausages and steaks for the BBQ, and maybe some snacks and drinks too before you settle into the sunshine and the footie.

Whichever team you’re backing – enjoy the football season!

Boi Na Brasa and Ki Delicia
40 Hoe Street
Walthamstow
London E17

 

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Lithuanian Zeppelin dumplings

Cevapalini
A trip to Lituanica, the Lithuanian supermarket on the High Street this week led to lunch… usually we only stay for a coffee and one of their amazing curd doughnuts. Today I decided to try Cepelinai, the Lithuanian dumplings named after the Zeppelin. They may resemble the airship’s oval shape but they’re certainly not light enough to fly away!

These boiled Lithuanian national specialities are slightly sticky, giant potato dumplings stuffed with minced meat. They are traditionally served with Smetana sour cream and topped with fried bacon – a half portion was about £3.

Borscht
Lituanica also has a daily soup for £1.90 – on our visit it was Borscht. If you’re imagining a light vegetable soup you might be disturbed by the big hunks of smoked pork! This rich beetroot soup, full of onions and spiced with juniper berries, was also served with a dollop of thick sour cream and dark, sweet rye bread.

Lituanica is a great deli and Eastern European grocery shop. They stock a great range of bread, charcuterie meats, marinated fish, frozen pierogi, fruit tea and grains.

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Rotorino – an Italian night out in Dalston

20140503_195638In a converted old bank on Kingsland Road, Dalston is Stevie Parle’s new East London restaurant. It’s only been open since mid-April but already seems to have developed quite a following. Stevie was the youngest ever chef at The River Café, writes for the Telegraph Food, has four cookbooks out which we love, was on TV in the Spice Trip and has launched Rotorino after success in West London at The Dock Kitchen.

Rotorino has a relaxed feel – leather clad booths hug one wall of the restaurant, and there’s wood paneling from the old bank and retro 60’s tiles on the back wall. The staff are friendly and warm too and seem knowledgeable.

The food is inspired by Southern Italy but also features local products such as cold meats cured in Highbury. To follow the complimentary Sardinian pane carasau crisp flatbread, we chose Coppa (beef) with sweet and sour fennel to share.  Our waitress emphasised that this was ‘small plate’ dining, but we thought it was generous at only £4. Wafer-thin, deliciousness!

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We moved on to another shared plate of Sausage Casarecce – a homemade pasta with a slow-cooked sausage, red wine and chilli ragu with crispy fried breadcrumbs – an old Italian alternative to Parmesan. This comes in two sizes at £8 or £12 – we shared a large portion. The food is served simply on old tin camping plates and mis-matched crockery.

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Next in our meaty feast we went for a flash-cooked hanger steak on the grill, £10. It was served ready sliced and was expertly cooked medium rare, but the Calabrian chilli sauce needs more of a kick to bring out the flavours. Side dishes of fried new potatoes with rosemary and garlic and a simple green salad were great. The mainly Italian wine list is good value and drinkable served by the glass, carafe or bottle selected by Street Vin.

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Open for brunch, lunch and dinner at the weekend and dinner and drinks come school nights, Rotorino is modest in size offering only sixty covers, but the aim of the game is a relaxed ambiance here, and that’s one that Stevie has achieved with ease. Be it the beautiful oversized table that greets you as you walk in (perfect for large groups), the leather clad booths that hug one wall of the restaurant, the cherry wood details, the warm golden lighting or the tiles that adorn the back wall, both Stevie and Mango London Architects (who were also responsible for East London places like the Clove Club and Sager and Wilde) haven’t overlooked but one perfect detail in the decor. – See more at: http://www.justopenedlondon.com/rotorino/#sthash.k7P7Mn7Q.dpuf

Finally we opted for the chocolate cake with honeycomb and pistachios and sour cream. Disappointingly this was the low point of the meal – the cake was an odd soft scoop of ganache – souffle which just didn’t taste rich enough after the steak. Next time we’ll go for the cheese.

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Rotorino is fairly-priced, frill-free Italian cooking using great ingredients with an emphasis on Josper grilled meat and fish.  It’s open during the week from 5.30pm for dinner and drinks and at weekends for brunch, lunch and dinner. For either a special occasion blow-out or a simple pasta and steak dinner – we’ll be back!

434 Kingsland Rd, London, E8 4AA
020 7249 9081
eat@rotorino.com

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