172 to 176 The Highway, London E1 9DE
This is a perfect place to hang out for a couple of hours with the kids or friends, and the eclectic menu is interesting enough to intrigue real food lovers as well. The music is pretty loud and can take a bit of getting used to, so the art of conversation is hardly required. But when it comes to the food, the portions are of the gargantuan variety. Luckily they provide doggy bags for those who are unable to finish their meal in real-time, so to speak. There are also children's meals available at £7.99 a head.
The current menu is set to change in April and can loosely described as international with diverse selections ranging from Sushi, Jambalaya and Pesto, to Lamb Shanks, Ribs and Cumberland Sausage. The service is very young and energetic, blending in perfectly with the very informal atmosphere. All the breads, pizza bases and ribs are cooked on the premises and the restaurant is currently doing about 2000 covers a week.
There is a choice of fourteen starters and I went for Crab Cakes at £5.50, and my companion who is a self confessed Chicken freak went for Buffalo Chicken Tenders also at £5.50. The two cakes were very creamy, with a blending of crab meat, salmon, potatoes, peppers, onion and fresh herbs. The chicken tenderloins were battered and deep fried and accompanied with a spicy tangy sauce and a gorgonzola cheese dressing. The Sushi starter at £6.25 is excellent value and is ample for two people as a side dish, but it was let down a bit by the rather bland salmon on a mound of sushi rice.
There is a bewildering choice of twenty two main courses - after much deliberation we went for Blackened Swordfish at £11.95 and Chicken Quesadilla at £10.95. The huge swordfish steak is one of the specialities of the house, and is blackened with creole seasoning and served with jasmine rice, refried black beans, garlic, avocado salsa and topped with tortilla strips. It was very fresh and tasty and certainly superb value. My friend (who, true to form had chicken on chicken) chose Chicken Quesadilla's which come three to a plate, filled to the brim with sauteed chicken, spinach, mushrooms and mozarella cheese and accompanied by red chilli sauce and sour cream. The texture of the folded tortilla was just right, light and fluffy as it is supposed to be.
We could only handle a light dessert after all this (shame!) and the Strawberry pound cake was just light enough to round off a thoroughly enjoyable meal. The wine list is small but comprehensive with bottles priced between £9.95 and £22.95. We tried a glass of the Italian House Red - Merlot Veneto Casa de'Monzi, and the French House White - Jacques Veritier Blanc, both perfectly acceptable. An impressive selection of cocktails all priced at £4.50 are on offer along with a full bar.
Tel 0171-481-8181 Fax 0171-481-9800 Nearest Tubes - Tower Hill or Shadwell (Docklands Light Railway)
Noon to 11.30 pm Monday to Thursday Noon to 12.30 Friday/Saturday Noon to 10.30 on Sunday.
All major credit cards accepted Average Price per head-Lunch £15.00 Dinner £20.00 Service Charge of 12.5% added to tables of six or more
This article reprinted from Dine Online