Olive Magazine
A table covered with dishes of food

Oren, London E8: restaurant review

Published: December 19, 2019 at 2:01 pm
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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.

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Oren in a nutshell

Israeli- and Middle Eastern-inspired sharing plates in a laid-back Dalston setting.


Who’s cooking?

Having worked in kitchens in Paris, California and Tel Aviv, after a series of well-received residencies and pop-ups in the capital, chef Oded Oren has set up his own digs in Shacklewell Lane.


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.

a dim room filled with tables and chairs
Oren's laid-back interior

What's the food like at Oren?

It’s an à la mode sharing-plates approach, with the menu a mixture of small and larger dishes – from lamb sweetbreads with za’atar to ox cheek with hummus, and wild hake kebabs with herbs and yogurt.

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.

A table covered with dishes of food
Sharing plates at Oren

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.


olive tip

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.

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