I really enjoyed spending time in East London this past summer, not least owing to the inordinate number of excellent restaurants that seem to have cropped up over the past few years, and so I was delighted to have the opportunity to experience this first hand when my friend Serena suggested meeting her and her fiancé for dinner at Perilla Dining in Newington Green.
Describing themselves as “…using humble ingredients of the highest quality, the food focuses on a modern interpretation of classical European flavours, in an informal and relaxed dining room” the menu changes daily, with the seasons, and everything looked really intriguing, making it extremely hard to narrow down what to order. Thankfully Serena and Han-Wei are folks after my own heart and suggested we tried their “tasting menu” a relative steal at £38 per person for 5 courses.
Our first course of “Roast Kale with Smoked Cods Roe & Seaweed Bread with Roast Seaweed Butter” could not have been more “East London” if it had tried. That said, it was absolutely delicious, the salty, smoky roe working nicely with the umami from the seaweed and earthy kale.
Next, came the “Provence Tomatoes with Black Olive Sauce & Sheeps’ Curd”, a perfect summer dish where the wonderful sweetness of the tomatoes leapt off the plate. This was followed by “Braised Octopus with Borlotti Beans & Gooseberries”, another example of how they successfully pair unusual ingredients together in a way I would never have previously considered and I really enjoyed it.
The main of “40 Day Aged Pork Chop with Pickled Elderflower & Sea Kale” was thankfully cooked “touch pink” making it lovely and succulent, although too generous a serving for me. Thankfully Han-Wei was happy to oblige by taking a couple of slices of pork off my hands, thus ensuring I would have room for the additional Stichelton cheese course & dessert (priorities you see!)
The restaurant very kindly let us try both of the desserts to finish; “Set Buttermilk with Strawberries” and “Apricot & Cherries with Basil”. I would be hard pushed to choose a favourite between them, I really enjoyed the summer fruit elements of both dishes. We don’t see many apricots here, and cherries are insanely expensive so it was a lovely end to what had been a delicious meal.
Special mention must also be made of the wine list, offering a choice of 10 wines by the glass and with 50% of the list at under $40. We really enjoyed our unusual Orsogna “Ramoro” Pinot Grigio from Abruzzo, where Serena is from, at £38 and it worked well with the different dishes across the menu.
Looking at their current menu online I can see that they seem to be very consistent in their menu style (would I choose the Jersey Royal Dumplings with Mushrooms or the Cuttlefish Bolognese I wonder?) and I would be keen to visit in Autumn to see what they do with the new seasons ingredients.
Easties you are lucky to have Perilla on your doorstep!
Perilla Dining Room
1-3 Green Lanes,
Telephone: 0207 359 0779