In 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!
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.
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.
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.
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