London Restaurant Festival is a great way to get stuck into a melting pot of incredible restaurants in London, with bite-sized menus offering the some of the best dishes a venue has to offer. As someone who loves pretty much everything, a set menu is a great way to get a taste of a restaurant, without dealing with long menus and too much choice. However, what can concern me is whether there is enough variety on a menu. Luckily, I needn’t have worried.
Located in the iconic Andaz hotel with its welcoming boutique interior and mesmerising red brick Victorian exterior, I really felt like it was an occasion when we arrived at Eastway. The restaurant itself was informal but tastefully decorated and not a white table cloth to be seen – a great start! Service is also an important part of the dining experience for me – it’s nearly as important as the food. Our experience was top notch; our waiter was incredibly helpful, personable, fun and not too intrusive.
So, back to the menu. I was excited – there were great meat or fish options and the vegetarian dishes certainly didn’t play second fiddle. Having said that, the fish option was my bag, so there was no veggie option for me this time, despite it being a well-thought-out dish. Knowing my dining partner well, I was confident that our choices would be different for all courses, which meant I was going to be able to sample 6 out of the 8 dishes available on the set menu.
To start, we enjoyed wood pigeon with fig tarte tatin, hazelnut and fig jus. It was a dark and very rich dish. The pigeon was perfectly cooked and wasn’t at all tough or chewy. We also had the shellfish bisque, with white crab meat and sorrel cream. Every mouthful of this was a dream. It was velvety, with a deep fish flavour throughout, as every bisque should have. If I was to make one improvement, I would add a bit more crab meat. It certainly didn’t need it, as the flavour was incredible, but personally I would have liked to have seen a little more.
For our main dishes, I chose the fish again – and this dish certainly wasn’t lacking in it! I was surprised (and incredibly happy) at the amount of fish there was, in fact. It was an incredible risotto packed with perfectly cooked king prawns and clams, topped with a meaty hake fillet and 2 monstrous grilled prawns. My partner ordered the guinea fowl, butternut squash and black pudding crostini. The bird was moist and the black pudding crostini was crispy – a testament to the chef who hand rolls each one.
We finished off our dinner with one of each of the desserts on offer, which was a chocolate and salted caramel tart with maple syrup ice cream, and a winter berry fool. The chocolate dessert was beautiful and the perfect balance between rich chocolate and salt, and the salt flakes sprinkled on top punctuated the dish perfectly.
The fool was a lovely mix of an Eton mess with the consistency of trifle thanks to the different textures of the cream, the sturdier pistachio cream like a thick custard, the sweet and tarte fresh fruit on top and chewy meringue. Despite how it sounds, it was a nice light option after what were 2 very indulgent courses.
The small and concise wine list is definitely worth noting. It really lends itself to a diverse set menu or à la carte menu, as most of the wines are sold by the glass. So, when diners are choosing 2 very different dishes, they have the option of choosing a different wine, which to me is a real bonus.
So, if you want to experience understated luxury, a brilliantly varied set menu and incredible service to boot, you should ask, “which way is Eastway?”
40 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7QN