Time Out says
Please note, Rotorino has now closed. Time Out Food editors, June 2019.
If you’ve ever uttered the phrase ‘Let’s go for a quiet drink on Kingsland Road’ on a Saturday night, then you’ll know it’s a stupid thing to say. Every pub and bar within a mile of Dalston Junction is so rammed with cool kids discussing their portfolio careers that long straws in the drinks wouldn’t be a bad idea given the lack of elbow room.
The sheer foolhardiness of our plan hit us as we trudged past one overflowing watering hole after another on a recent Saturday evening.
We only ventured into Rotorino on the off-chance that a brand-new venue might be able to squeeze us in at the bar. Amazingly it did. The slickly designed space looks more like something you’d find in Soho than E8: booth seating, wood panelling and a clever mix of raw brick and striking blue patterned walls. The clientele are a little older than you’d expect to find in Dalston, and guess what? You can hear yourself speak. So we stayed a while, appreciating our Dolcetto d’Alba, as recommended to us by resident wine consultant Ruth Spivey from the Italian-focused list.
Even just a few weeks after opening, this collaboration between chef-restaurateur Stevie Parle (of the Dock Kitchen on Ladbroke Grove), Ruth Spivey (of pop-ups Wine Car Boot, and Street Vin Wine at Hawker House) and Jonathan Downey (of last year’s Rotary Bar and Diner pop-up), has a lot of polish. A return visit to eat didn’t disappoint.
Inspired by the food that Parle encountered in southern Italy, the menu features classics such as Sardinian fish stew (burrida) and Sicilian chickpea fritters (panelle). There’s also a handful of interesting pasta dishes including casarecce with a spicy sausage and red wine ragù, topped with crunchy fried breadcrumbs – a traditional, frugal alternative to parmesan.
A flash-cooked hanger steak, imbued with smokiness from the wood grill, was so tender the knife slid through it. Compared to the fiery ragù on our casarecce pasta, though, the accompanying chilli sauce could have done with more of a kick. Also from the grill, a Middle White pork chop was marinated in lemon leaf and zest with myrtle, then served perfectly charred on the outside, tender in the middle. Fried new potatoes with rosemary and garlic made a satisfying accompaniment.
Up there with some of the best modern Italian restaurants in London, Rotorino’s a great addition to any Dalston portfolio.
432-434 Kingsland Road
|Transport:||Dalston Junction Overground|
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