A little of what you fancy is a small but buzzing restaurant in the heart of Dalston on Kingsland Rd. I paid them a little visit on a Sunday and the most enjoyable part of the shoot was watching the whole team prepare and get all the local ingredients ready for service. Communication was by the plentiful , chit chat, laughs, coffee being made for all those there and most importantly the atmosphere was very relaxed and chilled. Laurence and Elaine have built wonderful relationships along the years with local growers and suppliers where they source most of their ingredients-with some even coming from neighbourhood gardens.
As I was standing watching all the preparation and cooking, Elaine asked if I liked smoked salmon, with me replying with a long 'ummmmm LOVE, smoked salmon.' She then proceeded to pull out an incredible piece of smoked salmon from the fridge, cut a few pieces into thin slices, squeeze some lemon, sprinkle some salt and cracked pepper and hand it over to me saying: 'Here,try this.' I can honestly say it was probably one of the best smoked salmon I have ever had, so tender yet firm, the smokiness of the salmon was just perfect and it tasted so fresh. Elaine explained that the salmon is by a local provider that smokes his salmon locally and has been in the business for so many years. It made me wonder how someone could have so much passion in what they did that they were able to produce something so magnificent and tasty every single time for so many years.
When I sat down to eat this to DIE FOR frittata I was amazed that Elaine still had time to come out of the kitchen and say hello to the diners. She walked about and asked people how the food was and there were so many clients that had clearly been there before as they stood up said hello and hugged her. I absolutely loved it as I felt that the whole experience was far more personable and that all the dishes were made with tons of love and from the heart.
The servings are VERY generous and when I say generous, I truly mean it... combined with fresh, locally produced and sourced ingredients, then you've got yourself one fantastic meal in the heart of Hackney. A large part of me feels that my photographs don't give the food justice! I wish I could imbed some sort of button where you can press it and smell the wonderful aromas of all the dishes being served.
Prices are extremely reasonable, with large portions and fantastic atmosphere, it's always nice to treat yourself and someone you care about!
The kitchen is small and they are chefs prepping, waiters walking in to clear, and clean with barely space to move but it all flowed in such harmony. I had a great laugh when Elaine turned around and said: 'This is where it all happens, it's small but it works...as I like to call it, it's organised chaos.' I can easily say it was very organised with a kitchen that size I was amazed how they could keep their cool. I was getting stressed just watching the them cook, plate up and get all dishes out to customers with utter perfection.
Go on treat yourself!