Armadillo - Broadway Market,(Hackney) London
I ate at Armadillo last weekend - and it was fantasticl. I would call it "Mexi-Lat Am fusion" food, so I'm not sure how 'authentic' it is, but the food was fresh, delicious, generous, nicely presented and easy on the wallet. Even though there are only a few dishes in each 'category' (starters, mains, puds) it was still tough to decide what to have.
I started with a salad of 'maize', beetroot and something else I can't recall because I just lied - I actually started with a very potent Capirinha - others had Pisco sours. Someone else started with butternut squash with pickled walnuts & goat cheese, which was fantastic. Yet another had roast tomatoes and "palmitos" (hearts of palm) which was nice but a bit boring for my taste given the choices.
For my main, I had chicken mole - mainly because I've never had it and have always been curious. I'm not a huge chicken fan but this was fantastic, came with spicy mashed potatoes that weren't exactly mashed but had been put through a ricer. One friend had the sirloin Churrasco in chimmichurri (sauce) which was juicy and spiced just enough with - and another had tuna on a bed of linguica (sausage). Someone else had the seafood stew with coconut. I can only rave about the mains.
We also had a bottle of Albarino which went down nicely, thank you very much...and for dessert we shared mayan chocolate ice cream (which I wish they would package and sell in shops) and a cornmeal cake with a meringue toppoing.
The restaurant is tiny and cozy but not uncomfortable. Service is just right - attentive but not hovering. The place was full, everyone had a booking, and nobody was asked to leave to make room for the next party - I guess they got their timing just right.
I think the whole bill for four people came to about £40 a person, not cheap cheap, but a steal for the quality and quantity of food we had - four drinks, three starters, four mains, two puddings, one bottle of wine and bottle of water.
I've just gone to their website to check the address, and it looks like they have already changed their menu - honestly, I can't wait to go back again. The only issue is that it is a bit of a hike. That said, it's in one of those just-came-up neighbourhoods and if I'd gotten there a bit earlier, I would like ot have had a good look around.
41 Broadway Market, in E8 (phone: 020 7249 3633) Bethnal Green tube or Rail /London Fields rail/26, 48, 55, 106, 236 bus. Open Tue-Sat 6.30-10.30pm.
Right on, Magnolia! A friend and I went to Armadillo last Friday night (right after the menu change). Super meal.
My friend started with a marguarita (he liked it) while I started directly on the white rioja. The starters were seafood empanadas (light and flakey with just enough succulent fish inside) and grilled vegetables with a light dressing.
We followed these with a red rioja and the churrasco and a fish stew (this time in a tomato based sauce). We raved over both.
On the puds, neither of us wanted the blue cheese on offer and we couldn't decide which of the 3 others to leave out so we ... ordered all three. One, some sort of cake with a poached pear, was a dud (both of us left it) but the mayan chocolate ice cream is exactly as good as you said and the cornmeal cake with meringue and blackberries was good, too. Of course, we had some pudding wine to finish.
And you're right, the bill didn't break the bank - 96 pounds for 3 course, 2 bottles of wine plus pudding wine and a single drink before.
Would be happy to return - although anything east of Covent Garden is scary (there be dragons!).
The Bucks Belly
I live around the corner from Armadillo and agree that it is superb. The chef used to work at Arancia. My favourite restaurant in London. Modern Italian in Bermondsey - a trek to get there but you won't be disappointed.
Next time you're up Broadway Market way go to the Dove for sausage and mash.