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A small-plates restaurant in Dalston doing food from the eastern Med.
On true Dalston form, Oren is cool. Ridiculously cool. Inside, it’s like a dimly lit, sepia-toned stylish grotto, the sort where you have to squint to read the menu, to the sounds of knowingly funky music. Oh, and everyone looks exceptional, from the punters to the friendly, model-worthy waiters.
The food? Less charming, but overall good. A highlight was the grilled beef onglet skewer. Following instructions, we slid the succulent, blushing meat into the accompanying oceanic pool of roast pepper harissa and tahini. It was a fleshy supernova, the kind where your tongue is left skimming your mouth for every last lick of oily sesame paste. Another hit was the cardamom panna cotta topped with soft chunks of rhubarb, which had just the right amount of spice.
Still, a fair few dishes were underwhelming. The flatbread was only slightly better than the stuff from your local supermarket. Soft but anaemic, it lacked those beautiful char blisters – disappointing given that this place has a proper charcoal grill. Generally, we were left craving scorch marks and smokiness. The fried cauliflower, too, was bland and boring, while the well-cooked lemon sole was let down by the lone, lazy dollop of chraime sauce (made from smoked paprika and tomatoes). The grub here isn’t groundbreaking, but the trendy ambience does at least make it a chilled evening out.
89 Shacklewell Lane
|Transport:||Dalston Kingsland rail|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £95.|
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