Review: Oren, Dalston
PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:00 03 December 2019
Mediterranean-Israeli food isn't something I'd normally seek out, but Oren has made me realise I've been missing out.
Inspired by chef Oded Oren's native Tel Aviv, this new addition to Dalston's Shacklewell Lane combines more-ish small plates with a slick, laid back decor.
It's easy to see why Jay Rayner was blown away by the pop-up residencies which preceded it.
There's a wide selection of wines but I was drawn to the chai old fashioned which was pleasingly warming.
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A promptly served baked flatbread with tomato and olive oil was a great way to dip our toes into the menu, along with the Amfissa organic olives.
The burnt aubergine proved to be the only low point of the meal - we were unsure about the mushy texture.
But the lamb flatbread with baharat spice and yoghurt picked things right back up - with us fighting over who had which piece. A zesty market leaf salad with almonds and za'atar was a virtuous but tasty accompaniment.
Meanwhile the monkfish in Libyan 'chraime' - a spicy tomato sauce - was simple but effective. They might not sound like much, but the grilled potatoes with coriander and lemon more than held their own.
Onto desserts, and the unctuous chocolate mousse was the perfect counterpoint to the lemon polenta cake with soured whipped cream.
It's unusual not to have a clear favourite, but I'll be back for both - and a fair bit of the rest of the menu too.