Written for and published on foodnoise.co.uk
A good plate can be hard to find.
Right, I Know what you’re thinking: we’re in the food capital of the world, we literally have cuisine, after cuisine, after cuisine.. after cuisine. It’s at the end of the street, at the push of the button, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but I’m not talking about the food here, I’m talking about the actual plate.
The world has gone crazy for well, it would seem anything other than circular ceramics. Those unsanitary chopping boards, quite frankly, they can do one and I’m sure there are a few places in East London which would have you eating off the curtains if they could.
One place keeping its food drape free and away from direct sunlight is (funnily enough) Plate. Located at London’s M by Montcalm hotel in Shoreditch, Plate is chef Arnaud Stevens’ first restaurant. With a website boasting fine eating, locally sourced produce and accessible price points you can expect really great things from Plate. Oh, and I also heard Stevens is bezzies with that bloke and G. Ramsey, your one from the telly who shouts at Americans.
Plates’ plates are rustic, handsome and probably dishwasher safe too, from the beige framed with brown paint, holding crunchy sourdough weighted down with lashings of mashed avocado and chilli (£7) to the large white plate, topped with delicate amounts of tomato, beautifully tasting lemon ricotta, fennel bread and tomato dressing (£7.50).
There was a splendid dark navy plate for the baby violet artichoke (£15), showing off the bright green praline ricotta and sprinkled with soft shallots. There was a drunkenly-wonky speckled plate which looked like the ‘one for the road’ had been one too many, holding red Kuri squash gnocchi, pickled radish, toasted almond and rosemary curd (£14). The skill behind the flavour and texture of each dish here were so masterful I was left feeling simultaneously sorrowful and satisfied once they’d disappeared from sight.
A table at Plate has to be in the running for one of the best tables in London, situated on the Mezzanine floor of the Montcalm facing huge windows. The view of the street below can be entertaining enough to see you through a few courses and so can the excellent Chilian Carretero Malbec, I’m not going to go on about the depths of flavour, but trust me, it was a good ‘un, try it.
After plates, bowls (thankfully they’d kept it going through till the last hurdle). Great deep bowls holding humbly flavoured coffee brulee, rich chocolate ganache, spiked with amaretto (£6.50) and a perfectly formed honey and buttermilk pannacotta (£6.50) both with a flavour you’d be gagging for again on the comedown from the last bite.
Do I need to point out this is all tongue and cheek? In this social climate, it’s probably best to. Of course, I’ve had some fantastic pizza from a cardboard box and on the odd occasion when the chips spill I’ve been known to eat them from the counter.. but I feel with or without a plate, even served on Venetian blinds, the food at Plate is just really great.