We’ve just returned from Michelin-starred Hackney restaurant Ellory. On Saturdays they offer a basic pub menu for a very reasonable price. We had not quite been aware how basic the dishes were, and thought it was going to be a posh pub menu with twists and sophistication, but it wasn’t.
The interior décor is kept minimalistic and relatively cold, through the window you can see a wall and some barbed wire, but it’s an interesting touch, not off-putting, and hey, this is after all deep in East London.
Once we realised that we had misunderstood the situation, we started to really enjoy our dishes. The mussels on toast (£4) were perhaps my winner, incredibly strong flavours and great looks. The chicory, walnut, and Ossau-Iraty cheese (£9.5) were fabulous. I’ve always been a fan of the elegant bitterness of chicory, and can’t go wrong with Ossau-Iraty.
It was the second time within just two months or so that we tried gnudi, this time around with chestnut mushrooms and thyme (£12). There’s an interesting story that comes with these “naked ravioli” (Italian “nudi” means “naked”) or gnocchi-like ricotta dumplings: they only became part of international haute cuisine when an English chef started serving them at The Spotted Pig restaurant in New York City. What a detour that was! Again, we were pleased with the taste. The creamy sauce, mushrooms, watercress, and grated parmesan cheese worked very well together with the three little dumplings.
‘Forest Road’ steak and ale pie and mash (£16.50) was the by far biggest dish, served on two separate plates, which was good, because we were hungry. I like a good pie, and this one was certainly not bad, but there was nothing too special about it either.
We enjoyed our meal. We won’t be back for the pub meal, but are thinking about returning for the Michelin-starred creations later this year. 4 out of 5 in our book.
UPDATE – Ellory’s owners, sommeliers Jack Lewens and Ed Thaw, closed the restaurant shortly after our visit and opened Leroy in decidedly more upmarket Shoreditch. Chef Sam Kamienko still heads the kitchen.
Looking for more restaurant reviews, try two-starred Lafleur, Frankfurt, or one-starred Benoit, Paris, Galvin at Windows, Benares, and Fera (all one-starred and in London). For inspiration for your next trip you might want to eyeball our posts about Sydney coastal walks, hiking in the Cotswolds, our helicopter ride in London, or our sailing trip around Lisbon.