Sunday, 31 October 2010

My amazing new local - A Little Of What You Fancy

I have eaten in every establishment Elaine Chalmers has ever cooked in.  Ten years ago when she ran the restaurant below Smallfish Records on Old Street I would go in for my breakfast, back for my lunch and often pick up something for my dinner, it was easy to eat healthily as the salads were inspired, interesting and so delicious.  Elaine's is a genius with food.  

After a stint cooking at the hugely popular Dalston Superstore Elaine has teamed up with Lola Coone and opened their own restaurant A Little Of What You Fancy.  I couldn't be more delighted to have such a fabulous new local restaurant.

The vegetables and the salad leaves come from the Wenlock Basin Estate (just off City Road on the Islington side).  Elaine makes all her own preserves, chutneys, piccalilli and other gorgeous things which are also available to buy.  Serving local, seasonal and fresh produce and a menu that changes daily, I know there'll be something I fancy every single day.  And I can walk there in five minutes.  Marvellous!

Last night The Actor and I went for dinner.  I cannot tell you how good it is.  So good we rang back this evening to try and go again.  Unfortunately the kitchen was already closed.

An inconspicuous door on Kingsland Road with no sign

I love the subtle nod to Halloween

There was so much on the menu that I would have picked.  I would happily have eaten every single starter.  It was hard to choose so we asked our charming waiter Jamie to help us decide.

A Little of What You Fancy
Saturday's Menu

Cauliflower and Colston Basset stilton soup
Chicken, pork and sage terrine with hot London piccalilli and sourdough toast
Chioggia, golden and red beetroot salad with goat's cheese, caramelised walnuts and French beans
Smoked fish plate (mackerel and salmon) with rye bread and capers


Home preserved duck confit, braised red cabbage and dijon mash
Slow braised oxtail in red wine, tomato and herbs with spicy leaves
Locally caught Slip Sole with new potatoes, French beans and caper and lemon nut brown butter
Seven vegetables Casablanca tagine with chickpeas and sultanas served with rose harissa and coriander flat bread


Wenlock barn estate green salad


Baked quince with star anise, cinnamon, lemon Greek yoghurt, caramelised walnuts and rose petals
Earl Grey sponge with rose syrup and Greek yoghurt
Flourless chocolate cake with vanilla double cream
Panna cotta with blueberries


Neal's Yard cheeses with Elaine's quince and apple chutney and oatcakes
Brie de Meaux with figs and sourdough bread


The Actor had a London Porter beer and I had a Sipsmith London Dry Gin and Tonic to begin

We shared the beetroot and goat's cheese salad with caramelised walnuts and French beans.  I didn't know what chioggia was but it's an unusual type of golden beetroot.  The salad was the best I've tasted for a long time, you could tell how fresh the leaves were.  There was rocket, alfalfa cress, escarolle and green mustard leaves with a very light dressing.  Absolutely divine.

The terrine and the amazing homemade piccalilli were stunning.  I thought The Actor was going to lick the plate.

The duck confit was wonderfully crispy, every bit of fat had been roasted to perfection, served with dijon mash and braised red cabbage

Melt in the mouth oxtail in red wine, tomato, herbs and spicy leaves and a side of French beans

The Italian red recommended by Jamie was spot on

We shared a slice of Elaine's legendary flourless chocolate cake with vanilla cream and blueberry and apple compote and a double espressos

An absolutely wonderful  meal.  Love, love, love this place.

See you again very soon - I'll be back for my breakfast! xxx


Judy said...

Mmmm wow everything you ate looks amazing!
Would love to try it sometime.


Vintage Vixen said...

Oh, that sounds amazing, proper cooking on your doorstep and not a microwaved lasagne in sight.
I'd have been spoilt for choice between the cauliflower and Stilton soup and the goat's cheese salad.

Style Chase said...

:) classy

Make Do Style said...

Looks so yummy xx

Alex said...

I'm full of food right now but that menu and the photos have really got my mouth watering. Mmmm, it all looks and sounds so deliciously tempting.

Penny Dreadful said...


I am salivating here. And how funny - you chose the two entrees and mains I would have gone for! I will certainly have to make the trip over to Dalston for this x

MyStyle said...

Hi my dear-ooh how lovely, the food sounds divine and looks absolutely delicious, thanks for sharing this wonderful eaterie!! Have a good week ahead too! xx

Alison Cross said...

*Makes mental note to self to make sure Christina and self go there for a snackeral on next visit to Londinium!*

Looks utterly DELISH!

Ali x

Fashionistable said...

What a great idea. Looks and sounds divine. Xxxx

legend in his own lunchtime said...

That would be too tempting for me. After a week or two, I'd be as fat as a barrel.

Mrs Jones said...

Right book us in Hon, Do you think they mind kids and dogs....
Looks gorgeous.
Love you
Hope your good.

Wildernesschic said...

Looks amazing...more importantly it is cooked for you :) I love the decor
Love Ruth xx

Northern Snippet said...

That looks just the sort of food/restaurant I like,delicious but not over fancified.How lucky to have it as your local.

Dash said...

Mmmm looks amazing, thanks for posting the menu, given me lot's of new ideas, am off to make some cauliflower and Roquefort soup.