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A cosy modern European joint in Newington Green.
Is there a restaurant equivalent of hygge – that vogueish label for a simple, cosy, Scandi way of life? If so, I think I might have found it at Perilla, a massively welcoming and creative new spot in Newington Green, that sits in a space last occupied by a very un-hygge kids’ party venue. There’s nothing Scandi about the food here, which is broadly Anglo-European and offers fresh, uncomplicated spins on familiar dishes, with interesting top-notch ingredients. But the vibe at Perilla, which started life as pop-ups in Dulwich and Clapton, is so immediately soothing, unsnobby and stylish in a homely way, that you might forget that it’s not Copenhagen, but the dreary bottom end of Green Lanes on the other side of the restaurant’s massive greenhouse-style windows.
Gone are the bright colours and hyperactivity of the old place. In their stead is an airy space full of understated wooden furniture, a few plants, exposed beams and soothing candles burning on each table. The food – simple but creative – is served by youngish men and women who really know their stuff but meet you at your own level of knowledge and enthusiasm. I loved it.
It was Sunday lunchtime when I visited, and only some of the Tuesday-Saturday tasting menu (£38 for five fixed courses) was available. These dishes were mixed in with some Sunday specials, including an excellent half roast poussin with leek and crushed potatoes, and a more straightforward plate of lamb – chunks of rack, shoulder and leg – with a good accompanying ratatouille and seaweed pesto. Things started well and stayed that way. Seaweed bread brushed with roasted lamb fat was as good as it sounds, and a fish soup with flaked cod, mussels and blood orange was great. Another winning dish was a light and surprising cuttlefish bolognese. The punchline was that there was no pasta in it all; the traditionally stringy bits were actually strands of spindly green monk’s beard.
I’ve walked past Perilla a few times in the early evening since eating there, and each time I’ve seen the friendly staff huddled around the kitchen hatch as a gang, chatting, getting up to speed on the day’s menu, swapping notes, tasting food. That’s the vibe you get from this place: a love of food, a love of sharing it, a total lack of airs and graces and an earthy welcome. Go now: we’re not kidding.
1-3 Green Lanes
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £110.|
|Do you own this business?|