loti eats | carte blanche

He’s found street food success with Le Bun and now Andy Taylor has opened a perm restaurant, Carte Blanche, on Mare Street. It’s very Hackney, with stripped back interiors, a counter bar up the front, an open kitchen down the back, 90s hip hop on the stereo, and a cool drinks list.

Though there are a handful of burgers on the menu, he’s broadened out with dishes that fuse Southern, Midwestern American, and French flavours. We should say this place is meat heavy – they’ve got Fucking Vegans and Boring Salad listed so you get the idea (please don’t write in with angry vegan comments).

We kicked off with chilled red wine (heavenly in this hot weather) and Nashville fried oysters, which still actually tasted of oyster even after being crumbed, deep fried and dressed with herb mayo and hot sauce, and that takes some skill. We also loved the pig’s head croquettes, which were surprisingly light considered they were also deep fried, and the excellent steak tartare, which comes with beef fat crisps for scooping action.

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If you’ve been doing your research (aka insta-stalking), you’ll likely have seen that Carte Blanche does fried chicken with caviar. We have to say both the meat and the coating are great, appropriately crunchy on the outside and succulent on the inside, but the caviar flavour gets lost as soon as you spoon it on the chicken. You’re better off eating the pot of dip on its own. The skate wing with old bay, clams and caper beurre noisette, with soft fishy flesh enhanced by a fab butter sauce, is a great option, especially if you don’t fancy a burger.

Carte Blanche manages to balance indulgent food with chilled vibes and we’ve found a new fave combo in fried oysters and chilled red wine.

175 Mare St, London, E8 3RH