AS GOOD AS IT GETS
Louisa Walters ventures far (but not as far as it seems) in search of seriously good food
Only a mad north Londoner would venture to the far flung reaches of Stoke Newington in gale force winds to try out a restaurant, right? Well let me dispel some myths. First, it’s not that far – 25 mins door to door from Mill Hill and dead easy to park. Second, unless some psychiatric unit let all its patients out on day release, the restaurant was full to bursting with perfectly sane, interesting people (who may or may not have been local but…. bearing in mind The Good Egg travelled around London doing street food and pop ups for two years before taking a permanent site and gathered quite a following, I doubt it.) I’m seriously excited to share this place with you.
We arrived at 7.20 – only a few tables taken this early, yet lots of young friendly staff and a super shiny clean open kitchen means that there was already gentle buzz and atmosphere. By 8 the place was full, but even with lots of tables close together it wasn’t too noisy – something so many restaurants seem to get wrong. I started with a fab Pomegranate Paloma cocktail – a fusion of tequila, pink grapefruit, pomegranate, rose and soda – a tall glass of yumminess for just £6.50.
And now to the food…. There are three guys behind this venture and they have roots from Tel Aviv, Montreal and California. Think of the best of what you love in the US given an Israeli/Ottolenghi twist – this menu is bursting with sunshine and flavour and you just want to order everything! We nibbled on a warm Jerusalem bagel with olive oil and za’atar to dip it in while choosing. Crisp on the outside, soft and satisfyingly chewy on the inside – yum. Love the idea of dipping in za’atar. A portion of the whitefish and smoked trout croquettes came up as light-as-a-feather balls with a delicate crispy coating which open to reveal a delicate creamy fishy centre – omg wow! Then we feasted (and I mean feasted!) on za’tar buttermilk fried chicken with chilli honey, pastrami cheese fries (yup – chips with melted cheese oozing all over them and pieces of pastrami scattered in amongst them), slow roasted pulled spiced brisket with pickled mushrooms, chopped middle eastern salad and a stunning roast aubergine dish with yoghurt and chill zhoug, which is a fiery green paste and is yummy!! I saw people around me having the smoked fish plate – a generous array of whitefish, hot smoked trout, smoked salmon, homemade cream cheese and pickles (this is so reminiscent of New York delis I’ve been to it actually made me ache to book a flight!). The whole roast cauliflower with tahini looked sensational, as did the devilled sea bream with a cumin, za’tar and paprika crust. There were just two desserts on the menu (trust me you’ll struggle to have even one!) – NYC baked cheesecake and Tahini ice cream with pistachio brittle and date syrup which I had – and I devoured every mouthful! Incredible yet delicate combo of flavours and great contrast of textures. A glass of the house white for me and house red for him – just £3.30 apiece – generous size and not cheap rubbish either.
As the name implies, this venture started life with an egg-based range of dishes, mainly brunch/lunch type stuff and I’m definitely going back for brunch – menu looks fabulous. It’s already won a ‘best shakshuka’ award. Other brunch dishes include halva croissant, bacon and date pita, avocado and raw tahini on toast, Iraqi aubergine pita… I could go on but how nice to have a brunch menu that’s not all about eggs Benedict! Anyway I’m sure I’ve whetted your appetite enough – book, go, and you can thank me later…
THE GOOD EGG IS ON THE RESTAURANT CLUB LOYALTY SCHEME. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS