Grace Dent would like to Stay An­other Day at Eat 17

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Magazine - - Upfront -

Some restau­rants I can never go back to, usu­ally due to ‘is­sues sur­round­ing speak­ing the truth’. These are typ­i­cally truths that chefs and front-of-house staff are aware of, yet are still in­censed that this scrag­gly haired chancer has dared to speak of. Other venues I re­turn to three times in two weeks, sim­ply be­cause I’m hun­gry, or in need of so­lace, or sim­ply be­cause, as the 1980s Ir­ish pop star Fear­gal Sharkey once al­most said, ‘A good bur­rata, these days, is hard to find.’ I have had so many atro­cious din­ners in Lon­don that once I dis­cover a new din­ing spot that co­coons me, feeds me and loves me (via food) I’ll sneak in time and again, of­ten or­der­ing the ex­act same meal. Why change? Why break the spell?

I have hom­ing-pi­geon ten­den­cies right now to Lardo in Hack­ney, St John’s Tav­ern in Arch­way, Café Mu­rano in Piccadilly, Bar­ra­fina on Frith Street, Ley­ton Tech­ni­cal in E10 and my lat­est find, the new Eat 17 restau­rant in Hack­ney. Three times in a fort­night I’ve washed up there when the fridge was empty for a kingly side order of my new death-row re­quest, its tem­pura soy pome­gran­ate broc­coli. Or ‘broc­coli gone bad’, as I’m terming it. Small, de­li­cious flo­rets of the veg­etable coated in a sticky soy and pome­gran­ate mo­lasses, coated in a bat­ter and deep-fried. Satan’s broc­coli. Not re­motely one of your five a day. Prob­a­bly mi­nus one of your five a day. Veg­etable neg­a­tive eq­uity. There’s some great com­fort food be­ing served up by the fam­ily team at Eat 17. In fact, I’m slightly re­sent­ful to be writ­ing this col­umn when I could be there eat­ing the broc­coli right now. Or de­mol­ish­ing the soft but­ter­milk chicken burger with Moroc­can coleslaw on a brioche bun (right). Or the chips that are real ‘mem­o­ries of home’ chunky potato chips with a paprika sprin­kling. I’m also a fan of Eat 17’s hum­ble yet ex­cel­lent smoked­ham cro­quettes, and the sooth­ing plates of rump beef with heav­enly mash, whipped rosemary but­ter and a brioche crumb. There’s also a de­cent brownie with del­i­cate pis­ta­chio ice cream, driz­zled with a sugar-shock of pas­sion­fruit purée. To date I’ve found no bum notes on the menu. Plus the ser­vice is warm and gen­er­ous-spir­ited. This must be a hard thing to do as so many other venues fall flat.

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