Ellory – Hackney

Ellory offers an increasingly discerning Hackney customer base cutting-edge, creative cooking for a modest sum. The exposed, polished concrete floor and simple sanded tables reflect the minimalistic, stylish food, which is appealing to an area which so fervently adheres to such design.

The Colombian and I visited Ellory on the record-breakingly hot Sunday in April. Adorned in nothing more than light chinos, sunglasses and an open linen shirt, I was apprehensive about struggling my way through a rich lunch. Fortunately, the clever sods at Ellory had checked the forecast and amended the menu accordingly.

Prior to our reservation, we had pottered in the heat down the canal from Broadway Market towards Islington to work up an appetite – not that I need particular help in this area. When we arrived at Ellory, I was relieved to find the tall, glass front doors flung wide open, allowing air to circulate around the clean, open-plan dining space. I particularly admired the exposed lightbulbs, housed in low-hanging fittings.

We opened our account with a spritz apiece – I had a gin based drink, the Colombian an Aperol. We sucked deep from our ice cold refreshments like parched Saharan beasts in the depths of a drought. The first course of; duck rillettes served with homemade sourdough and a chicory, walnut and Ossau-Iraty salad, arrived with a freezing cold bottle of Verdicchio. The rillettes was delightfully flavoursome – I was particularly happy that the fat had come up to room temperature, allowing it to coat the tender flakes of duck and add to the melting sensation when it entered my mouth. The salad, although a spectacle on its own, was a nice accompaniment to the rich, gamey starter.

The following course, I want to believe, was put on the menu to please me on such a sweltering afternoon. Lightly seared cod with irresistibly waxy new potatoes, far superior to their fluffy counterparts. The fish was excellently cooked, a perfect marriage with the weather.

The dessert was equally befitting to the temperature. Milk ice cream with tender little bites of rhubarb. The ice cream was very delicate and seriously smooth, the rhubarb a perfect equilibrium of sweet and sour. The excellent selection of cheeses and a large glass of expertly paired Syrah meant we concluded the experience in a state of mild euphoria.

The all-male team, industrial setting and bare furnishings evoke a feeling of toughness and masculinity. The delicate food and precise cooking, however, contrast this entirely. The fine balance of gritty hipster style and refined food make it seem at home in its Netil House setting – it comes highly recommended from the Colombian and me.

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