Rita's Bar & Dining
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Thu Aug 30 2012
The prevailing bar aesthetic in east London hasn’t changed in more than a decade – that unfinished factory look of concrete and ventilation tubes, streetside windows and loose posse of smokers outside – but the attitude certainly has. Rita’s is full of energetic branding types in clothes of neurotically appropriate casualness, as studiedly artless as the venue itself.
The set-up for this ‘travelling food and drink collaboration’ is simple enough: sit at one of the small tables in the ground-floor bar room of Birthdays nightclub, hand over your plastic to be held behind the bar while you eat, and order comfort food from a changing chalked-up board.
Draught options include the likes of Birra Moretti, but we dived right in with cocktails that were served in modish tumblers and clearly dialled up for fun – both the negroni and the excellently sour margarita (which may solidify the trend for hipster apostrophes: each variety is listed as a ’Rita) were cheerfully brutal on the alcohol.
The food that followed was relaxed, but never slack, and perfectly pitched for the setting: unfussily presented but appealing, filling but stopping short of total coronary overload.
From a menu boasting the likes of ox-heart tacos and blood crumb chopped salad, we opted for fish tacos, green chilli mac and cheese, and greens. The flavour-packed tacos seemed a touch soggy and the stomach-soothing macaroni might have benefited from a little more chilli heat, but the mustard-dressed greens were deliciously simple. Only an intensely rich and smokey ‘chocolate caramel devil pie’ divided opinion, treading the line between luxuriously excessive and frankly too much of a good thing.
Our waitress showed not a shred of attitude and, although new to the job that night, was thoroughly diligent and ever-smiling in the quest for answers to our questions about the drinks and menu.
Rita's Bar & Dining 33-35 Stoke Newington Road