The Empress rules Victoria Park Village with quiet authority. Her loyal subjects are the area’s families, creatives and trendies; her seat of power is a light-filled corner site in good view of her suppliers (Ginger Pig for meat, Jonathan Norris for fish). The concept lies somewhere between an international pub and an accommodating brasserie, while the thoughtful menu zips around the Med, garnering ideas from here and there. ‘Crisp and gooey’ ham croquetas are as good as any in London, in-vogue small plates such as sardines with charred radicchio and chilli can be scaled up, while mains proper range from ‘stellar’ onglet and chips to cod with cracked wheat and charred lemon. To drink, choose Negronis, draught beer or a bottle from the ‘genuinely interesting’ wine list.
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