BDQ – April 2018
Our hot-right-now dining guide to satisfy every food whim
Merchants Tavern, right in the heart of Shoreditch, is a veritable palace of simple pleasures. Although nothing in this old Victorian warehouse comes cheap, every element – both of the menu and the room – is beautifully designed. The exquisiteness of the food is thanks to supreme duo, Angela Hartnett and her partner Neil Borthwick, who together make this a powerhouse of culinary confidence, minus any try-hard gimmicks, tricks or fads. Dinners here are legendarily good (the mashed potato has reduced some critics to tears of grateful joy), but we’re here for brunch – and a finer place to langorously set oneself up for the day can scarcely be imagined. The classics are all accounted for, from porridge and granola to poached eggs with avocado, while more indulgent options include a dirty bacon, sausage and egg sandwich or deep-fried chicken with waffles. We took the chicken schnitzel and mushrooms, spinach and artichoke for a test drive; suffice to say, our usual full English may not cut it again for quite some time.
36 Charlotte Road, EC2A 3PG
Grand Trunk Road
Within its first year of operation, South Woodford’s Grand Trunk Road had become one of the culinary stars of 2017, with head chef Dayashankar Sharma busy at the helm creating stunning dishes for diners to enjoy within an elegant, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Inspired by the chronicled stretch of land built for traders in the 16th-century, Grand Trunk Road’s menu is a culinary tribute to the evocative flavours of Indian history. Our favourite is the chicken thighs with fresh spinach, coriander and green chillis, but the whole menu is exceptional. This vibrant newcomer will certainly become a road well travelled in our manor.
219 High Road, E18 2PB; 020 8505 1965
The Allegory is the latest site to join Drake & Morgan’s exciting and burgeoning portfolio. Based on the ground floor of the Brookfield’s building on Worship Street and geared towards a young City crowd whose office doorsteps it sits on, this restaurant-bar is the place to be if you’re hungry from an all-nighter – either in the office or the nearby bars. It offers breakfast, dinner and everything in between. We love it for a its mouthwatering pastries, freshly ground coffee, sharing platters and smashing cocktail menu (we really could stay all the sybaritic live long day, even if they had to roll us out of the door by the end). The outdoor terrace will be a huge draw over the summer months, while inside you can find cosy candlelit corners, even though the main bar is capacious and open-plan. Our top menu tips are the heritage beetroot with whipped goat’s cheese and walnuts, and the pan-fried salmon with tenderstem broccoli, both of which we wolfed down with greedy gusto.
1A Principal Place, Worship Street, EC2A 2FA
020 3948 9810;