I really like the way 2017 has shaped up for the London restaurant food scene as there have been more than a handful of bright sparks that strike a good balance between casual ambiance and fine dining. With restaurants opening left, right and centre, it can be difficult to pick one ones to try.
One caught my eye however – a restaurant called Plate Restaurant and Bar. Combining the modernity of M by Montcalm’s cutting edge architecture with the down-to-earth atmosphere, and passion for great food that characterises this on-trend neighbourhood, Plate blends serious culinary credentials with laid-back, fuss-free dining.
Opened in October this year and created by chef Arnaud Stevens (SixtyOne, The Gherkin), classical French training and international influences are evident in the design of Plate’s menu. I certainly think is a leading light in this category and one of the best new openings of 2017.
We arrived at Plate and were greeted by the friendly Gianluca. Overlooking Shoreditch on the 1st floor of the restaurant, we watched fast cars and people on the busy streets below. To get us started, Gianluca recommenced some white wines to accompany our starters.
My husband went for the sauvignon blanc Isabella de Silva from Chile which was a dry white wine. It was fruity and had a pleasant citrus, green apple, gooseberry and grapefruit flavour. I went for the Sancerre Domaine Doucet from Loire Valley in France. It had an elegant and refreshing taste of gooseberries and citrus flavours on my palate. Absolutely delicious.
One of the signature starters that has been a hit on Instagram is Plate’s bread flight. A selection of home-cooked bread (baked daily) and whipped butter lay before us. First up on the eye-catching board was a crusty roll with a twist – a Marmite-flavoured crusty roll! Not the biggest fan of Marmite, I was pleasantly surprised by this mild tasting roll. The subtle Marmite taste worked beautifully with the whipped butter and sea salt. Next up was a lovely crispy on the outside, soft in the middle brioche. It was light and buttery and worked really well with the butternut squash whipped butter. Finally, a lovely light and crisp sourdough bread and whipped herb butter left us wanting more.
Next up with the starters was the exquisite Spring’s smoked salmon Scotch egg with Asian mayo. The outside had a crispy breaded coating. Inside lay a perfectly soft boiled egg in the middle, oozing with a rich runny yolk centre. The smoked salmon was wrapped around the soft boiled egg and was perfectly seasoned. The wasabi in the mayo gave it a nice kick and worked really well with the creamy salmon.
Just look at the inside of the Scotch egg. Light, tasty and crispy…perfection! The crispy coating was a perfect way to scoop up the remaining mayo.
Next up, Gianluca recommended we try the octopus. Having tried it before and not been too keen, we decided to give it another go. And we were so glad we did. The octopus was lovely and soft – it melted in the mouth. It was pan fried with a lovely rich tomato sauce and soft creamy Agata potatoes accompanied the dish. The sauce brought the dish together and we couldn’t get enough of the octopus. As well as melting in the mouth, the outside was crispy and had a smoky flavour.
Next up for our third and final starter, we tried goats’ cheese tart, with lovely wilted caramelised shallots and thyme, cooked in a red wine jus. The pastry was crispy and light and the shallot filling created a lovely rich and deep flavour. Very moreish and delicate.
Once our starters were over, we took a breather and watched the world go by. Jazz music played in the background creating a nice relaxing atmosphere.
For mains, my husband went for the salted Atlantic cod in a bouillabaisse. The cod was flaky and moist. It had the right amount of saltiness to it and the bouillabaisse was rich and creamy creating a beautiful contrast. A crispy skin lay on top bringing the dish a whole new texture.
To accompany his salted Atlantic cod, we were given Agata potatoes which were whipped in crème fraîche, dill and chervil. The potatoes were soft and creamy and the herbs and crème fraîche worked well with it.
Next came my main which was a tender Jacob’s ladder beef that has been cooking for 8 hours, releasing juicy flavours and brewing in a sweet broth. It was topped with crispy onions and even the weird yet wonderfully tangy blueberry compote worked its magic with the tender beef. The portions were just right as the meat was very rich.
We were so full but couldn’t walk away from the hottest dessert at Plate. Freshly made churros with homemade dipping sauces came to our table. The 2 sauces were a salted caramel one and a chocolate one. The churros was crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. It was lightly coated in sugar and cinnamon. The sauces were a real treat – rich and velvety, they wrapped around the churros. This took me back to Madrid when I had my first taste of the tasty Spanish treat.
In the perfect location, Plate offers a lot more then tasty food and great looking dishes. It also offers amazing drinks and live music downstairs with a buzzing young atmosphere. The octopus is a must and you can’t go wrong with their signature bread flight and whipped butter with a nice glass of wine.
Plate Restaurant & Bar