Linden Stores, Islington restaurant review
Linden Stores is the kind of relaxed neighbourhood hangout everyone wishes they had on their doorstep. The brainchild of chef Chris Boustead (formerly of Opera Tavern and The Ten Bells) and Laura Christie (who already has a full-time job as half of the team behind Oklava and Kyseri), the wine shop and restaurant was conceived as place where Chris could cook part-time (it only opens evenings, Wednesday to Saturday) and still have time to spend with their young son, Ollie. The shop is crammed with mostly European bottles sourced from smaller winemakers by Laura (including plenty from Turkey) which are available to take away or drink in for £10 corkage. There is also a selection of wines by the glass each day at £5 each.
The space is small and cosy, with tables in the shop upstairs and restaurant downstairs. The frequently changing menu is inspired by British seasons as well as Chris’s Yorkshire heritage. Each eclectic small plate really packs in the flavour. Bread comes with a scoop of whipped Marmite butter; slow-cooked pig’s cheeks are glazed in a rich umami sauce and garnished with sweet and sharp pickled cherries, and a silky turnip purée. Lightly smoked creamy yogurt enriches a dish of long-stemmed broccoli with crunchy fried shallots, peanuts and cheese.
A must order are the crisp, deep-fried croquettes, filled with pea and Yorkshire Fettle – a feta-like sheep’s cheese with a zing. Elsewhere there is homemade charcuterie, fresh oysters and a British cheeseboard for those only wanting a snack with their wine. Top retro points go to a pud of chocolate bourbon biscuits filled with buttercream and served with sharp, creamy rhubarb ice cream.
Linden Stores, Islington dinner party menu
Check out these crispy croquettes with peas and crumbly Yorkshire fettle. Make these deep-fried golden balls for an impressive starter at your next dinner party.
Make Chris’s crunchy broccoli recipe with creamy smoked yogurt, crispy shallots and roasted peanuts. This easy veggie recipe is simple to make and ready in just 20 minutes, a perfect starter or side for vegetarian entertaining (more ideas here).
Check out the restaurant’s super rich pig’s cheeks recipe with crunchy green beans wrapped in smoked bacon. This easy recipe is served with creamy turnip purée and moreish pickled cherries.
Bourbon biscuits and rhubarb liqueur ice cream
Chris’s moreish recipe for homemade bourbon biscuits with creamy rhubarb liqueur ice cream is ideal for a nostalgic dessert. You’ll be left with extra biscuits and ice cream from this indulgent recipe but the biscuits will keep in an airtight box and the ice cream can be frozen for later.
Review by Janine Ratcliffe. Recipes by Chris Boustead, Linden Stores, Islington