We went to the preview evening of this new Old Street restaurant recently, tempted by a 50% discount on the food menu. This is a pop-up which is only going to be open for 10 months. The staff were frantically unpacking boxes, setting the tables and stacking the bar only an hour before our table was booked at 7pm.
Decor of the large open plan space is on-trend Shoreditch kitsch, with communal tables and beautiful staff who couldn’t be more lovely. Wine starts from £20 a bottle, but is available by the glass or carafe across the whole list.
Snacks include a brocolli salad with Berkswell goats cheese shavings, toasted cobnuts and a poached egg, or buttermilk fried chicken wings available sticky or hot at £5. We opted for hot, but an over-enthusiastic use of Tobasco in the marinade left a vinegary after taste.
Chicken and rare breed beef burgers were predictably popular on our visit at £10 with chips. From the grill (£15-20) were Cornish day boat fish, Tamworth pork, and steaks. There’s a promise of a BBQ coming soon. The lemon sole was grilled perfectly and served with a coriander pesto sauce and dripping chips.
The Denver steak with a peppercorn sauce was again lovingly cooked and served, but the accompanying ‘greens’ were more like buttery cabbage. They were tasty but looked like school dinners.
We hadn’t saved enough room for dessert but the offerings included a range of intriguing choc ices and pudding cups – whatever they turn out to be!
All in all, it wouldn’t be a cheap night out if you were wanting wine and steaks, and there are more romantic places. But for of-the-moment burgers and beers this is a great Friday night out venue with a licence until 4am at weekends. There’s also a members club downstairs.
Rotary Bar & Diner
70 City Road (by Old St roundabout)