What an absolute gem of a restaurant Emile is. The restaurant is run by Damien Clisby (ex-Petersham Nurseries) and Nick Gibson (Drapers Arms), who have taken over the old Rok Shoreditch site on Curtain Road for six months at least – but here’s hoping it’s much longer than that.
It’s a lovely space that hasn’t changed a huge amount, although the new blue paint on the walls has added a nice splash of colour. There’s still the small open kitchen at the back, the old fireplace, and nice old wooden tables. In short, it’s a cosy, homely sort of place, one where you know you’re going to be looked after very well indeed.
Damian’s cooking style is simple and seasonal, but supremely confident and faultlessly executed, with subtle flourishes that lift each dish. Take the pork chop, for example, served with a rich delicious ridge of fat still attached, plus capers and pureed cavolo nero – a couple of small additions that work so well with the pork that it takes it to a whole new satisfying level.
Coming from Petersham Nurseries, Damian is a dab hand with pasta and we loved the pumpkin ravioli in butter sauce that was on the menu the day we visited. Then there was the Lincolnshire Poacher cheese croquettes with a pickled walnut sauce; the beetroot salad with smoked almonds and pomegranate seeds; and the pink fir potatoes with anchovies – honestly all brilliant.
Nick’s wine list features mostly Old World bottles with accessible pricing as well as plenty of options by the glass. There’s also a ‘Sunday Series’ every other week at Emile with a set menu and a roast dinner that sounds absolutely incredible – we’ll be back for this for sure.
26 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3NY