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A photo of steak and peppercorn sauce
Photograph: Jess Hand

Hype Dish: Café Cecilia’s juicy onglet with peppercorn sauce

Max Rocha, founder of Cafe Cecilia, tells us what goes into their signature dish

Chiara Wilkinson
Written by
Chiara Wilkinson

‘We’re not trying too hard to change the game,’ says Max Rocha, founder of Café Cecilia. ‘We’re just trying to enjoy cooking.’ But this buzzy restaurant near Broadway Market has become an instant hit. With a seasonal menu drawing on Rocha’s Irish heritage and family trips to France, its staple star dish is the onglet, with peppercorn sauce and chips. ‘I ate it in a random bistro by myself in Paris, three years ago,’ Rocha says. ‘I thought it was the most delicious thing I’d ever had.’ He tells us how it’s made. 

The sauce

‘We cook chicken stock overnight in a low oven and mix it with veal stock. We add soaked green peppercorns and sweated shallots, and finish with brandy and double cream.’

The texture

‘We cook the meat on a very high heat and give it a long resting time so it’s got that rustic charred edge on the outside. Then we slice it very thinly, so it’s delicate to eat.’

The taste

‘The sauce is smooth, intense and almost spicy, so it sticks out next to the gamey taste of the onglet. People always ask for extra sauce to mop up with their chips.’

The technique

‘The onglet is cooked simply: hot on the grill, like I learned at The River Café. It’s seasoned and rested before we carve it and serve it bright pink, medium rare.’

The onglet

‘We buy our meat from Swaledale Farm and butcher it ourselves. When people try it, it opens them up to embrace different cuts of meat and hopefully buy them
for home.’

32 Andrews Rd, E8 4RL. £22.

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