Chef’s ta­ble

Two Lights chef Chase Lovecky brings his clever take on mod­ern Amer­i­can cui­sine to Lon­don

Olive - - CONTENTS - Recipes CHASE LOVECKY Pho­to­graphs DAVID COTSWORTH

Two Lights chef Chase Lovecky shares his clever take on mod­ern Amer­i­can cui­sine

Anew neigh­bour­hood restau­rant in a cor­ner of Lon­don that’s best known for its Viet­namese cui­sine, Two Lights is the lat­est from The Clove Club alumni and Maine ex­port Chase Lovecky, with a so­phis­ti­cated and so-called “mod­ern Amer­i­can” fo­cus. The dé­cor is stark – white­washed brick walls, cloth­less ta­bles and not a soft fur­nish­ing in sight. But a peek-through kitchen with a wood-fired oven glow­ing in the back, high shelves lined with weird and won­der­ful pick­les, in­trigu­ing wines, trendy creep­ers and ferns, and foodie bed­time read­ing keeps things in­ter­est­ing. Also, staff seem to gen­uinely care – whether that’s en­sur­ing your glass of (great) wine is served at the per­fect tem­per­a­ture, or hap­pily guid­ing you through their menu high­lights.

The menu is made up of small plates that get big­ger the fur­ther down you head – aim to or­der around six savoury plates be­tween two. On our visit, we spy lots of din­ers or­der­ing huge globes of roasted ar­ti­choke, whose leaves are plucked and dunked in a sun­flower seed miso dip. Our server guides us, in­stead, in the di­rec­tion of flamed bonito. Barely licked by the smoky flames, the tuna is sashimi-soft, and perked up with the help of pick­led onion, mus­tard, some mar­vel­lous crunchy bits and the rounded warmth of freshly snipped chives.

The dishes this restau­rant will be­come best known for, though, are a sar­dine katsu sand­wich and crab atop beef-fat ‘chips’. The for­mer, a panko-bat­tered fish (tail pok­ing out from one end) sand­wiched be­tween crust­less, white slices, is bril­liant. The chips are su­per­crisp lay­ered fingers topped with del­i­cately sweet picked and dressed white crab meat, with sharp­ness from tiny pick­led el­der­flower buds. Cus­tard tart with smoked caramel is a clever re­make of a clas­sic – with all the wob­ble of the orig­i­nal still in­tact – while a cheese plate of Lin­colnshire Poacher with shards of homemade oat­cakes, and a fra­grant ap­ple and shisho jelly, rounded ev­ery­thing off nicely. Top tip – don’t skip the sides. Roasted car­rots dusted with fen­nel pollen and draped in melt­ing lardo were sim­ply ace. two­lights.restau­rant

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