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A small-plates-serving south London café, restaurant and late-night bar.
Like the rock ’n’ rolL rebel anthem it shares a name with, Louie Louie – sat halfway along staunchly ungentrified Walworth Road – is a maverick. Located among an Iceland, bookies and payday loan shops, it stands defiant with white tables, angular wine glasses and flat whites, serving up small plates and cocktails to a soundtrack of vinyl until 1am on weekends. It’s the bigger, bolder spin-off of community café Fowlds, down the road towards Camberwell in a working furniture upholsterer’s. The Tel Aviv-born guest-chef-in-residence Oded Oren (fresh from a pop-up last year at Bethnal Green’s Oval Space) specialises in veg-based plates complemented by charcoal-cooked meats and seafood.
A headily tangy fermented feta with a glug of olive oil and big florets of wild oregano set the bar high. Zingy bream and hake kebabs could’ve been crispier, but fresh rocket and spicy Libyan chraime sauce rounded it off well.
Nutty roasted freekeh had a little bite, and worked great with the other dishes, though there could’ve been a few more of the deliciously buttery jerusalem artichokes in there. But these are minor gripes: ingredients were at peak freshness, and the predominantly Israeli and Middle Eastern plates had some well-executed, not-at-all-naff fusion touches. The smooth, raw texture of a citrusy sashimi sea bass struck a balance with just the right amount of herby tabbouleh salad – and was animated with a few hunks of red chilli and a generous squeeze of lime. The melty five-hour braised ox cheek was souped up with houmous and pickled onions, and paired brilliantly with ribbon-like burnt beets topped with a dollop of sour cream.
While we’re on the subject of flavour fusions: the tart, al dente rhubarb topping a creamy, cardamomy panna cotta was the best of endings. A one-hit wonder Louie Louie is not. As The Kingsmen sang: gotta go.
In the evening, we transform into a bar & restaurant with Chefs In Residence, cocktails, hi fi sounds, natural wines and local beers.
Our current Chef in Res is Fumio Tanga serving (un)classic Japanese food.
347 Walworth Rd
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £80.|
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