Playing the game at neighbourhood, Stratford

27 Jun 2016

With Rio 2016 on the horizon, Olympic fever is in the air once more. Stratford has changed almost beyond recognition since the 2012 Games brought in investments of over £9 billion to East London. Now the trendy ‘East Village’ is buzzing with bars and restaurants for locals and office workers. So, have the London Games transformed the eateries of once-tatty Stratford into medal-worthy restaurants? I headed to neighbourhood to find out.

On its website, the bar/restaurant calls itself ‘the perfect place to come together and catch-up’. But what about the food? I’d heard mixed reviews. So would our experience win gold, or fail to get off the starting blocks?

The bar itself is light, airy and modern with large wooden picnic-style tables, splashes of bright orange, red and blue decor and statement metal pipes visible across the ceilings. The full length sliding windows were pulled all the way open, letting in the evening sunshine to give our meal a pleasant al fresco feel.

The menu consisted of basic, but flavoursome fare and a relay of dishes large enough to feed a rugby team. For starters, the Hot Smoked Salmon Potato Cakes (£6) were crispy and light, accompanied by a fresh lemon wedge and red pepper and paprika mayonnaise. The generously-sized Spicy Mac and Cheese (£6), which had shredded chicken baked into the dish, was thick and creamy but (considering I’d been sold by the word ‘spicy’) could have had more of a kick.

Our main course dishes, the huge Bacon and Cheese Burger (£12.50) and Pulled Pork Burger (£10), were juicy and perfectly cooked, served with fresh Slaw and buckets of Fries (literally – they arrive at the table in metal pails). Not forgetting the large selection of wines, craft beers and cask ales on offer to wash it down. By the time we got to the Cider Poached Plum Sundae (£6) and Caramelised Bananas (£6) we were both wishing we’d worn something with an elasticated waistband.

Although not particularly busy, there was a reasonable crowd throughout the evening: from colleagues enjoying post-work drinks and a couple of awkward first dates to lycra-clad fitness enthusiasts straight from the gym, yoga mats still slung over their shoulder. Looking around, the majority of people were there for drinks and bar snacks rather than dinner but, that said, the food was simple yet tasty.

Overall, would I say is it my personal best? Perhaps not, but if you’re after a nice atmosphere for drinks with friends and no frills, hearty BBQ food (and ideally if you’re craving meat – there are limited options for vegetarians), then it’s a definite contender.


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