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Restaurants, Contemporary Global Leyton
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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A fashionable small-plates restaurant in Leyton.

Pedestrianised Francis Road in Leyton is one of those fast-changing east London streets, which makes Yardarm, a four-year-old wine bar and deli, relatively longstanding. Its adjoining restaurant, which initially hosted pop-ups, relaunched recently with a slinky refurb, bigger open kitchen and new head chef.

And it’s popular. On what we assumed would be a sleepy Wednesday evening, the compact dining room was full at 7pm, the purr of a packed midweek service upping the sense of occasion.

Better still, its short weekly menu of on-trend sharing plates – eight or nine, tangy sourdough aside – is ever-evolving. Of a handful of visits over the last few months – lunch, brunch and dinner – this latest dazzled most.

The kitchen is good at plant-based dishes. These are creations whose conjunction-free descriptions belie their vivid appearance. Take the dull-sounding ‘polenta, parsley’: a deliciously crisp golden square, it sat on a grassy herb cream with capers, shallots and the choice of two cured yolks – duck and quail – for you to grate over the top.

The team excels at meat, too: ‘pork jowl, ’nduja, red onion’ was memorably presented on chunks of bone charcoal (exactly what you think it is), the fatty cubes melt-in-the-mouth, glisteningly spicy dip a high-kicking piggy flavour-bomb. And slices of lamb neck – soft as rare fillet steak – lay on a gloriously squishy pile of smoked aubergine, with charred calcot (small green onions) for mellow sharpness.

The only slip-up was squid that proved a tad tough in parts and a bit heavy on the lentils, although its tentacles were butter-soft with samphire for a hit of umami. But any such quibbles were forgotten by dessert: a tart tatin that was all sticky, buttery, caramelised edges and sweet autumn-brown roasted apples.

Oh, and importantly, service is friendly but not annoying: sure, the head chef presents the dishes, but he’ll only explain them if you ask. Very 2020. 




Address: 238 Francis Rd
E10 6NQ
Transport: Leyton Midland Road rail
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service is around £80.
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