Eat & Drink
Originally published on Thursday, 1st September 2011
Another reason to move to SE1
12 Stoney Street, SE1 9AD - 0207 403 7436
A few doors down from Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market, where that deli Fusebox used to be. Owners Rob Green and Brett Redman have a track record in creating great places to eat: previous ventures are breakfast favourite Elliot’s in Bethnal Green and the constantly mobbed Pavilion Café in Victoria Park.
Both laid-back and buzzy, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms. Staff are as impeccably sourced as the menu: wearing Paul Smith aprons over their own clothes, they glide around to an unobtrusive electro soundtrack, replenish your tap water without you having to ask and could probably tell you the names of each of your pan-fried sprats. As for your co-eaters, Elliot’s location and no-reservation policy means a mixed bag of walk-ins, from clued-up foodies who’ve been eagerly awaiting its opening to pink-shirted FT workers and lucked-out tourists clutching guidebooks.
A short, daily changing menu concentrates on easy to understand dishes, skillfully prepared. We were hooked at the divinely sweet and crunchy soda bread, one of four different types baked on the premises. Squid with aioli was bursting with flavour and beautifully tender; likewise the 50-day aged beef rump from the Ginger Pig, accompanied by beets and horseradish. Our fresh Discovery apple sorbet arrived pink and we thought we’d been given strawberry by mistake, but no: the colour came from the apples’ blushed skins.
Designed by architect Asif Khan, it’s spare, airy and stylish. Think exposed, distressed bricks, a polished concrete floor, a cast iron communal table and strings of light bulbs strewn like paperchains across the ceiling. The pavement tables are convivial on a warm day.
Now that pesky no reservation policy is gone (they now take bookings through the website), it’s difficult to find fault with newly-opened Eliot’s. You could call it a kind of British Polpo: we’ll just call it our new favourite place !