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A southern Italian tapas joint in Stokey.
What’s in a name? Quite a bit, actually. Stoke Newington’s new Italian tapas place Makè hai takes its title from southern Italian slang for ‘what do you want?’, but still sounds suspiciously like a sushi restaurant. This confusion may account for the fact that, when we went along, the place was almost entirely empty. It certainly wasn’t because of the food.
The layout is clean and sparse, the tables spaced so that you’d still have plenty of elbow room, even with a full house. Cocktails, a near-perfect negroni and a white-rum daiquiri with a fat black cherry at the bottom of it, were spiky and delicious.
The menu was a tad confusing: there are starters, there are tapas and there are big plates too, so it’s hard to know exactly what to order. We opted for a smattering of tapas and a single main dish between two, which worked out fairly well.
First up, a rich and creamy burrata – but that’s a dish you can’t really get wrong. More tricky, potentially, was peperone con 'nduja, half a baked red pepper stuffed with a bready, meaty filling that had the colour and consistency of crumbly Christmas cake. Weirdly, it worked. Gattò di patate was a thick potato cake packed with provolone cheese and chunks of ham – looking and tasting like something from a ’70s wedding buffet, it was weighty but delicious. The retro theme extended to the crocchette di baccala: three deep-fried cod and potato croquettes that were crispy and pleasant, albeit in a Bird’s Eye kind of way.
A main of tuna steak and cold fried courgettes wasn’t radical, but it tasted grand. Desserts of sweet caramel panna cotta slathered in cherry sauce and a dark, gooey chocolate soufflé were a dream. Again, both felt like a step back to slightly less sophisticated times, but we’ll take substance over style any day.
84 Stoke Newington High St
|Transport:||Rectory Road Rail|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £80.|
|Do you own this business?|