Fix up, look sharp. Fix is a restaurant with a solid soundtrack of hip hop at the Homerton end of Morning Lane. The man behind the music selection (no cliché hits here: this is a killer playlist) is James Cochran, a chef-restaurateur who trained in The Ledbury and The Harwood Arms.
There’s a ramshackle layout and long, communal tables – it’s miles from the starched tablecloths of Notting Hill or the gastropub chic of Fulham. But laid-back works just as well: a waitress in a vest and hi-tops made choice wine recommendations and accommodated guests like the best in the business.
Current food trends are present and correct, attracting the likes of food bloggers and photographers on a dreary Tuesday evening. Many ingredients are freshly foraged and the menu riffs on British tapas, with a pair of tasting menus at £35 and £55, respectively.
Crispy cauliflower (£5) came on a bed of gently spiced sour yoghurt – we could have done with more of this enlivening sauce to moisten dehydrated florets. That Ledbury training comes to the fore, though, in one of Fix’s signature dishes, treacle cured smoked salmon, cod roe, gin and apple jelly (£9) – its pretty appearance of emulsions and dustings drew comparison to the Notting Hill restaurant’s famous flame-grilled mackerel, and the maple treacle cure brought fleshy cuts of salmon to life.
Pork belly with celeriac (£9.50) didn’t quite do the job it was supposed to do, with a tough cut of pork difficult to swallow. Fortunately, it had a crisp, caramelised top, which went well with earthy celeriac purée. We didn’t get the urge to go forth and forage after an acrid side portion of sea aster (an edible British weed, £3) – not even wild-garlic butter could mask its bitter aftertaste. And although we happily fought over fluffy doughnuts and an indulgent salted caramel sauce, an accompanying cream cheese milkshake may just be the Marmite of east London’s pudding scene (and this reviewer isn’t a lover).
We plumped for the cheaper option of mixing and matching plates of our own selection, which left me thinking that a more affordable tasting menu wouldn’t go amiss – this is Homerton, not Highgate, after all. Chef Cochran personally delivers dishes to the table along with a description of his craft on the plate. He’s young and passionate, and his restaurant is cool, but diners may not be transfixed by the food just yet.