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Two Lights, Shoreditch – Review.
Kennington tube was closed and the main road flooded. My companion The-Hedonist had an epic drive avoiding stranded cars across North London. There’s something rather satisfying though in persevering and arriving, having both battled through biblical floods to reach Shoreditch and Two Lights. It’s a welcoming neighbourhood restaurant from the Clove Club, celebrating a year of business this month. Already buzzing at 7 pm, the venue has stone-coloured walls, wooden floors and moody abstract art, with an open kitchen to one side housing a large pizza oven, a leftover from the previous occupants which I learnt was used to make flatbreads now. The busy front of house team managed to stay friendly and welcoming to everyone despite an apparent rush for their ‘Modern American’ menu.
Arriving first, I spent a happy few minutes trying to take appropriately arty photos of my water and negroni – it does help to have appropriately distressed paintwork and dimmed lighting. When he arrived, The-Hedonist indulged in a glass of Michel Gonet ‘3 Terroirs’ Blanc de Blanc Champagne which was yeasty and fresh on the mouth.
House marinated olives came with a bright herby dressing and would probably have been enough to nibble on had it not been for my desire to try the crab chip and pickled elderflower. That turned out to be a small slice of toasted brioche-like bread topped with a big heap of fresh crab in a light mayonnaise with a zingy taste from the elderflower.
We did also indulge in potato rolls with salted butter – ultra-light and fluffy mouthfuls of indulgence for someone who tries hard to avoid the breadbasket!
A glass of Pinot Gris, suggested by our server, was nicely minerally and a good pairing for the small plates we had chosen to follow.
I probably wrecked the balance of the flatbread topped with Tunworth, pickled chanterelles and egg yolk by trying to avoid the egg. When I did manage to retrieve a bit of the ‘molten orb’ of yolk, it was an excellent complement to the earthy acidity of the chanterelles. Next time, I’m going in before The-Hedonist lays his claim!
The garden-fresh yoghurt and mint dressing worked brilliantly with the oven-roasted aubergine with pickled raisin. Definite Eastern influences brought to mind Ottolenghi.
The special of the day was roasted ray wing with dill pickle butter and potato chips. A good sharing dish, the fish was flaky, luscious and perfectly cooked with a creamy buttery sauce.
Cornish cod with coco beans, nasturtium and roasted tomato was a take on a classic dish, a beautifully delivered portion of fish with nicely cooked beans and a well-flavoured stock.
Now, having indulged in all three of the ‘nibbles’ on the Two Lights menu we neither of us really needed dessert. But, a peach tarte tatin to share with tagette (a type of marigold) leaf ice-cream was delicious, with fragrant and delicate ice cream complementing the wonderfully burnt caramel notes of the peach tatin. And, we sipped on a glass of Stanton and Killeen liqueur muscat, with intense raisiny notes. A perfect end to the meal.
Overall, we enjoyed everything though found the dishes a little salty, perhaps because many of the menu options rely on pickles. We’d also eaten a pescatarian menu throughout, which may have influenced the flavour profile. I looked enviously at the next-door table where they had ordered a plate of buttermilk fried chicken with biscuit – the most obvious iteration of ‘Modern American’ that we noted.
Now I want to go back – always a good sign – and try some of the other dishes.
28 Kingsland Rd,
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