The Michelin Guide has received a bit of stick of late; their Twitter account is cringey to say the least and their recent award ceremony wasnâ€™t much better. But I will say this for them: they rarely let me down. Whether itâ€™s Michelin stars or Bib Gourmands, itâ€™s a pretty solid list.
Which brings me to Ellory in Hackney, which was recently awarded a coveted star. Itâ€™s very much in the way of â€˜modern Michelinâ€™; relaxed atmosphere, sharing plates and casual service. There was a neighbourhood gem feel about the place.
We start with some snacks; bread (Â£2) which, I think, should be complimentary, some slices of cold chorizo (Â£6) and whipped codâ€™s roe with crisps (Â£5). All are are inhaled at a rate of knots.
Roasted carrots, Ossau Iraty (a type of cheese) and smoked almonds (Â£9) is a marvellous thing. The carrots are charred and crispy and chewy – Iâ€™ve never had carrots quite like it. Purple sprouting broccoli (Â£7) has also undergone a similar treatment. This is way more than just veg.
Chestnut mushrooms, giroles, parmesan and egg yolk (Â£13) gets us ordering another slice of bread to soak up the sauce. Whack a slice of toast under all that and youâ€™ve got yourself the perfect brunch dish.
Some waxy Pink Fur potatoes (Â£8) come with a pungent shaving of salted, cured fish roe called bottarga. Itâ€™s made less eye-widening with some creme fraiche and dill to lighten it up. Some really interesting flavours going on there.
John Dory, spinach and leek (Â£25) is a dish we like less because it lacks seasoning. Itâ€™s delicate and subtle which is unlike the food that come before it.
Belted Galloway sirloin (Â£23) sits beneath bitter trevso leaves and melted Taleggio cheese. Underneath, the meat is a ruby red with crisp, punchy fat – LUSH stuff.
For pud, the three of us share a chocolate mousse (Â£6.50) which comes with hazelnuts and a caramel sauce. Itâ€™s so good (light as anything) that we consider ordering another. And then another.
So to summarise: Michelin, you might be cringey as but once again you didnâ€™t let me down. Without you, I may well have never made the trek to a sleepy road in Hackney on a chilly Thursday night and that would have been a crying shame.
Would we go back? Yes