What: A Friday night post work-week automatically paints a cheesy grin across the face. However, this particular Friday I was in full-on Cheshire cat mode. Off to Shoreditch I went, to Plate restaurant – the latest offering from chef Arnaud Stevens, a man whose resumé would be the envy of quite a few.The restaurant delivers a range of British ingredients, alongside Plate Bake and Bar downstairs – an all-day eatery and artisanal bakery, serving homemade cakes, pastries and breads,
New: Very! The official opening date was 1st May.
The Setting: Snug inside M by Montcalm, the restaurant is a stone (or a plates) throw away from Old Street station. In other words, no designated drivers allowed, jump on the tube, enjoy, and let the Saturday morning headache do the talking! The restaurant is set amongst the backdrop of off for a night out-ers, commuters and suitcase pullers, smack-bang in the hub of bustling Shoreditch.
The Look: The restaurant itself has a metropolitan, chic feel to it, set against the backdrop of the city with huge glass windows. The overall look of the restaurant is quite minimalist yet cosy. A marble theme is prominent throughout, on the floor and table tops, with a splashes of spontaneous bright blues and oranges. On the food front, the presentation was so eye-catching. The use of wooden boards on the culinary scene have the ability to seem quite out-dated, but Plate have reinvented the look I feel, with food that sits snugly on the boards.
The Menu: This was one of those typical “can you give us another minute” kind of menus, and quite frankly, if my Mo Farah app would stop reminding me I haven’t gone on that run I’d planned, I would’ve selected a few more plates. The menu boasts British produce and an impressive range of flavours, in sections snacks and breads, starters, mains and, last but by no means least, desserts. It’s not too extensive, with around six to seven dishes per section, however each looks equally as inviting – hence the arduous selection process. Dishes include starters spring pea soup, quail egg and split pea dressing and sourdough, chilli, avocado and lime, and mains red kuri squash gnocchi with pickled radish, toasted almond, rosemary curd.
What We Ate: Bread was whisked into our lives faster than I could put my napkin on my knee, but boy was I glad. After a long day’s work, and ‘saving myself’ for the evening meal, I couldn’t wait to indulge. So, we began with Plates’ signature bread flight, hinted at various times by the waiting staff to be an unmissable amuse bouche. They weren’t wrong. Consisting of three breads – sourdough, brioche and marmite with whipped seasonal butters, I’d go as far as to say this bread flight challenged any I’d had before. Both myself and my equally ravenous friend agreed that the butter was unbelievably delicious, whipped to a melt-in-your-mouth, almost marshmallow like state. The buttery highlight had to be the onion butter, sprinkled with shallots.
To the starters, I opted for something lighter, selecting the Nutbourne heritage tomato with lemon ricotta, fennel bread and tomato dressing. I’m not normally a huge fan of tomato starters, but the flavours matched well and were very light and ideal for summer. My friend chose the chalk farm seatrout with gravadlax dressing, pink peppercorn yoghurt and cucumber. We didn’t talk much during these so for that reason, alongside her scraped clean plate, I know she enjoyed it. In particular, she complimented the pink peppercorn yoghurt’s unique flavour.
For main I wasn’t very experimental, instead opting for a go-to chicken dish. The creedy carver chicken breast with wild garlic pesto and spring green was flavoursome and not over-bearing. The breast was succulent and easy to cut, and the pesto complimented it to a T. My eating companion opted for the British Isle rump of lamb with tomato fondue, anchovy, basil dressing and charred gem. Again, the flavours complimented each other well, however the lamb was quite tough to cut. This aside, it was another highly recommended dish.
Always unsure of which sides to go for in a restaurant, we let our waiter choose. He suggested we go for both the “Koffman” cabbage and Agata potato. I think two sides with our dishes was just enough, but they are quite sizeable so only go for two if you have room in your belly. As delicious as the potatoes were, the crème fraiche, dill and chervil they come with was quite stodgy, but delicious all the same.
Not normally someone with a sweet tooth, I chose the sorbets for dessert. Presented in such a unique way on Plates’ themed wooden and rustic boards, the flavours included raspberry, mango and elderflower and were the perfect light palette cleanser post-meal.
What We Drank: With a toss-up between red or white wine on our hands, and both of us being equally indecisive, we let our marvellous waiter do the choosing, which he seemed very pleased with. He brought us back a bottle of 2016 Sancerre, a white wine that was so crisp and light that it unfortunately didn’t make it past starters. Either that’s a testament to us being overly “thirsty”, or it being so good. I think it was both – highly recommend. The drinks and wine list were extensive, offering a wide and thirst-quenching selection.
Go With: Your date. It’s an intimate atmosphere perfect for that romantic night out that keeps getting postponed. Plus, the buzzy atmosphere draws you into the night, putting post-dinner drinks on the cards at the downstairs bar.
Final Word: The whole experience was quite unfaultable, made even more special by such attentive waiting staff, including our waiter Ruben, whose smile didn’t falter throughout and whose menu knowledge was seamless. The dinner alone is a treat, and the staff are the cherry on the top.
Where: Plate, 151-157 City Road, Hoxton, EC1V 1JH, www.platecatering.co.uk