Looking for restaurants in east London? Read our review of Italian-Japanese outfit Angelina, or check out our guide for more places to eat and drink in Hackney.
Angelina in a nutshell
Simple yet refined Italian-Japanese cooking.
What’s the vibe?
Sleek and buzzy. Angelina’s minimalist interiors include high ceilings, oversized pendant lamps, plenty of indoor greenery and wooden floors. Sit in dusky-toned chairs to eat, or perch at a counter surrounding the open kitchen and watch the chefs calmly at work.
What’s the food like at Angelina?
It’s a talented line-up at Angelina – Roman head chef Daniele Ceforo hails from the likes of Bocca di Lupo and Café Murano, while owner and GM Joshua Owens-Baigler trained at River Café before completing stints at Bistroteque, Hix and Artusi. Their dining concept is boldly simple: just a five-course sharing menu for £38.
The dishes that come swiftly out of the kitchen make the most of Italian and Japanese cuisines’ shared affinity for simplicity and letting prime seasonal ingredients shine. The menu starts with elegant fish and seafood crudités: Sicilian red prawns, dusted with roasted rice powder and drizzled with olive oil, has a lusciously soft, almost creamy texture, while rich tuna belly is pepped up by a zingy blood orange dressing. Sea bream with mirin is salty-fresh.
The raw dishes come accompanied by a smattering of deep-fried plates, of which tempura of cime de rapa (turnip tops) especially impresses, its batter airily light and delicate. There’s also plump chunks of excellent focaccia, baked in-house. Elsewhere, a risotto with unagi (eel), burnt soy butter and dashi is perfectly executed, the rice creamy but retaining just the right amount of bite, the fish butter-soft, while onglet steak with charred radicchio is all bitter, umami intensity.
And the drinks?
Opt for the drinks pairing (£35) that comes with the sharing menu. Favourites included fresh and delicate Manincor Réserve della Contessa pinot blanc/chardonnay, a full-bodied Belisario verdicchio di Matelica and a subtly earthy Capezzana Barco Reale di Carmignano sangiovese, with dusty spice notes.
In keeping with the vogue for ‘hidden’ bars and restaurants in London (see Cubé’s Oden Bar in Mayfair and Maison Bab’s Kebab Queen in Covent Garden for recent examples), head to the back of the restaurant to discover tiny Golden Gai, which has a strict no-photos policy, and serves fusion creations such as the Riso e Rosmarino – rosemary, yuzu sake, Cynar, cucumber and Aperol.
As well as the tasting menu, Angelina also offers a daily dish for £9, or £12 if you’d like a glass of wine or beer with your meal.
Photographs by Kalopsia Koncept