SquareMeal Review of
Nestled in the tranquil surrounds of the former Olympic village, this neighbourhood gem boasts an experienced team and an eye-catching menu. Ian Goodman managed OXO Bar for 19 years, while Lee Glen was a Soho House executive chef. This translates to a compact list of spot-on cocktails and a distractingly good array of Mediterranean dishes: squid ink arancini with coriander, burrata with charred grapes, wheels of Manchego cheese and whole-roasted mackerels with pine nuts and black olives. Portions are modest but this is fresh and filling food, the highlight on our visit being charcoal-roasted onglet steak with girolles and potatoes, while chargrilled nectarines with mascarpone made for a sprightly, juicy dessert. A Bertha charcoal oven lies at the heart of the operation, informing the menu and conjuring deep aromas that fill the open-plan bar and restaurant, itself an industrial-chic space clad in concrete, wood and turquoise leather. With a row of alfresco seats (and no roads in sight) and a copper-topped bar area, this is a versatile, well-priced proposition. The restaurant is tricky to find, but surrounded by an ever-increasing number of East Village residents: as the locals catch on, Darkhorse should become a Stratford destination.