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
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