Having enjoyed brunch so much at Andi’s Restaurant a couple of weeks ago, we decided it was time to return and try out the dinner menu. Andi’s Restaurant is the new hot spot on Church St in Stoke Newington, North London. The kitchen is run by Andi Oliver, the new chef on the Great British Menu TV programme and she promises to deliver ‘a little bit of love in your tummy!’
We were welcomed warmly and shown to our table. We ordered a bottle of the Dalwhinnie, Australian Chardonnay to start with while we looked over the menu. It’s a lovely oaky Chardonnay (my favourite) reminiscent of a Montrachet but without the supremely hefty price tag. Looking at the menu I was very impressed…
It’s not often I can find a dish that I don’t have to make any adjustments to for my diet. Grainfree, glutenfree, sugarfree food is not often at the forefront of a chef’s mind when creating a menu. I was so excited to find a starter that I could have straight off the menu that sounded delicious. I ordered the warm smoked haddock salad with charred spring onion, pea shoots and lemon oil.It was light, fresh and the perfect way to start a meal. The lemon oil paired well with salty, smokiness from the haddock and I loved the charred spring onions which added an earthiness and depth of flavour to the delicate plate. The others chose the asparagus borek (a kind of Turkish Pancake) and the pan roasted pork loin with sweet vermouth sauce and bacon. Both went down really well and everyone cleaned their plates. I loved the inspiration from so many different cuisines on the menu and the main courses were no different. Portion sizes were big as well which always puts a smile on my face!
For my main I ordered the Saffron Roasted Duck leg but without the sausage and bean casserole and pomegranate sauce. Instead I asked for a side of the spring greens and the delicious sounding turmeric roasted cauliflower. I explained my diet to the waitress and she had no problems accommodating me and double checking everything with the chef. I felt she really listened and made a concerted effort to understand what I could and couldn’t eat and I felt confident that she would explain my needs to the chef.
The duck leg was delicious and perfectly cooked. Crispy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. Very similar to a Duck Confit. I can imagine how delicious the dish would have been with the casserole and sauce but I was more than happy with my alternative version. The turmeric roasted cauliflower was crispy and aromatic and I’m definitely going to try to re-create it at home for the blog!
The others picked a few other dishes. The pan roasted lamb rump which was perfectly pink in the middle and I thought the addition of samphire was an interesting touch as it’s normally served with seafood. I guess it makes sense when paired with the cuttlefish aioli! The chilli, crispy squid I’m told, was perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft and tender in the middle with just enough spice in the batter. The sweet and sour from the coconut and tamarind elevated the dish from the usual restaurant portion of calamari and made it something really special.
The sharing plate was also a popular choice as our table ordered the lamb cutlets and were very impressed when a huge platter came out. This I could try, and I loved the whipped feta and chervil yoghurt, which along with the gremolata made this a really summery dish. Served with baby gem lettuce I would have been satisfied with the dish as it was, but the boys got the roasted sweet potatoes along with it to amp up the carb count!
The starter and main were plenty for me but some of our group wanted desserts and I have to admit they looked pretty delicious! A lemon tart and banoffee pie were the perfect way to end the meal for those with a sweet tooth. Dan, who’s not even a big fan of sweet things, raved about the banoffee pie and there wasn’t a crumb left of either dessert at the end.
And after such a fabulous meal we weren’t quite ready to leave just yet. An after dinner round of cocktails (the Penicillin, a house speciality) was on the cards for some of the boys but I settled for a fresh mint tea which was absolutely delicious. I love when a restaurant uses fresh mint leaves rather than a tea bag. It’s a completely different flavour and so refreshing!
We definitely left with a ‘little bit of love in our (very full) tummies’ and had a hugely enjoyable dinner. I loved how concerned the waitress was with what I could and couldn’t eat and I felt sure that she relayed everything perfectly to the kitchen. So many times when I go out to eat I feel that I’m not really taken seriously when I explain my intolerances. It was a really refreshing change to find somewhere so eager to listen, understand and make the necessary alterations to the dishes for me! Ill definitely be back! The menu at Andi’s Restaurant changes every few weeks so I’ll have to try out some of the new dishes next time and report back!