Oren, London E8: restaurant review
Try pillowy pittas, smoky burnt aubergine and fudgy chocolate mousse at this Tel Aviv-inspired Dalston restaurant
Looking for Dalston restaurants? Want Middle Eastern food in London? Read our review or check out more places to eat in Hackney here.
Oren in a nutshell
Israeli- and Middle Eastern-inspired sharing plates in a laid-back Dalston setting.
What's the vibe?
It’s a typically east London, stripped-back affair, with earthy natural tones, cosy low lighting and simple wooden tables and chairs, while a bustling kitchen can be glimpsed at the other end of a small bar with counter seating.
What's the food like at Oren?
Start with pillowy, elastic stone-baked flatbreads that you dredge through golden olive oil and a well-seasoned, chunky tomato purée, before moving onto the likes of smoky burnt aubergine, cooked to creamy softness and paired with velvety tahini (order two flatbreads to maximise mopping-up opportunities). Cured sardines – firmly meaty and anchovy-like in their saltiness – come swimming in a pool of grassy Cretan olive oil.
Simplicity characterises many of the dishes. Meaty monkish fillet comes with a Libyan-Sephardic chraime – a smooth, spicy tomato sauce with an almost jammy intensity. A mound of delicate wild mushrooms and jerusalem artichoke comes minimally dressed with lemon, parsley and garlic – the ingredients are left to speak for themselves. Star plate of the night is the Jerusalem mixed grill: two of the softest homemade pittas lavishly stuffed with lamb sweetbreads, duck hearts and chicken livers, and topped with tahini and pickled mango – deliciously messy and satisfying to eat, offal fans in particular will adore this dish. Desserts keep it simple – we try a luscious, fudgily intense scoop of chocolate mousse.
And the drinks?
The wine selection comes courtesy of Bitten & Written’s Zeren Wilson and has a small-grower, low-intervention theme – we try an unusual, blush-tinged white grenache and a delicate grüner veltliner.
Head there at the weekend for brunch – it serves the likes of challah french toast with poached quince and soured cream, and boureka pastries made with aged lamb mince and sweetbreads.