Perilla – London, N1

Hello food for thoughters ,

It’s been a while I’m afraid to say. The blog has been on temporary hiatus for the past year due to me starting a new job, getting engaged to my Jim, then married (still to Jim) and now expecting a baby.

Also, lest I forget the big fat disruptive elephant in the room that is the Covid-19 lockdown.

This global pandemic has single handedly changed the way we have lived in every way for the past 3 months.

Paying specific attention to the resturant world. Jim and I have been terrified that some of our favourite chomping grounds would have not been able to stay afloat and will now cease to exist. (I will be writing more about this later).

So, sadly I can’t say that I was busy launching a new site, or writing a book, or anything cool that you see on insta and Twitter. However for all the 2 people that read this blog (Jimmy & myself) I am back and I am hoping with a small bang (easy does it).

Please see a blog post written in August 2019 which I never posted. I am posting it now for a bit of food nostalgia for the good old days where restaurants were open, and you didn’t have to wear a gas mask on every outing, and….also…because it was great.

How can I describe Perilla. Well, it was like eating dinner inside the thick pillowy corner of the impeccable sourdough seaweed bread that they served in a paper bag. Simple and satisfyingly perfect.

We were celebrating Jimmy’s 34th birthday the sequel and having seen Perilla’s talented Head Chef Ben Marks on Great British Menu I decided to book Perilla for this momentous occasion.

I’ve spoken about East London on the blog in the past before and quite frankly, I don’t think there is anywhere in the UK that inhabits the amount of top restaurants per sq metre than East London. Great restaurants, however, annoyingly for me, extremely hard to get to.

Perilla is on Greens Lane in Hackney opposite Jolene (yet to have full supper there!).

I can only assume when Chef Ben Marks acquired the location he would have had doubts about how well it would do. It’s situated on an awkward corner of the Green with a lot of passing traffic, and from my experience on eating my way through pretty much every new and current resturant in London, location can mean everything, however on this occasion it meant nothing.

The menu was indeed all things that encompass the perfect supper for Jimmy & I. The menu recommended 3 dishes per person so we decided to go for the set menu which was snacks, followed by an assortment of dishes on the main menu. And come on at 48£ per person – that’s a no brainer.

We started with padron peppers with aioli, which lasted approximately 0.10 seconds.

Bread slices soaked in Moules Mariniere which was innovative and so clever. A dish designed to resemble the times you mop up the moules sauce with your left over bread or fries. Sucking up every last mouth watering drop of this angel water. Truly delicious. Then Hake fried in beef fat with curry sauce. Big, crunchy flakey fish fingers with curry heated deliciousness. Winner (I actually wished I got that as my main course)

Then followed a Greek Salad which came out on the plate as a single tomato which had been par boiled. You pierced the soft tomato flesh and outcomes this surprise and delightful array of perfectly chopped sharp red onion squares with salty feta scraps in an oozy olive sauce transporting you straight back to the coast of Greece immediately.

The most notable and favoured dish however for both Jimmy & I was the Sea Spaghetti. Spaghetti made from fresh seaweed providing the perfect ‘al dante’ bite with the deepest most flavourful sauce of the sea we have ever had. It was almost a prawn or lobster bisque. Sharp, sweet, salty, the perfect balance. Deep, rich and undoubtedly fishy.

Lamb with a green sauce (I had the mushrooms to replace) was next to serve. It was moorish, perfectly balanced yumminess. Jimmy’s feedback was “this may be the best lamb I’ve ever had”. My mushrooms were soft and earthy. Beautifully cleaned (most likely with a tooth brush) and extremely well cooked.

A trio of puddings followed with a lemon posset served inside a hollowed out lemon, a herb sorbet which was outstanding and a salted caramel and peanut tart which I have no words about. Finger & face licking good.

I am not usually a fan of puddings that try to make non indulgent ingredients indulgent. Like “essence of pine ice cream” however this herb sorbet was refreshing, sweet, sharp and simply tasted pure and good for you. Who knew! Maybe I can beat myself up less for devouring sweet treats And even become a convert to a healthy unhealthy dish.

However, one of my own personal and most notable and memorable dishes was in fact the bread.

Oh the bread.

Bouncey, thick rich sourdough with a delicate crispy bite on the outside with a cloudy heaven inside. Also to my delight it was served in a big chunk, not a flimsy slither or slice you sometimes get, especially in Italian restaurants (***Please note*** Rural Italy know nothing about bread. I just spent 10 days in Tuscany and their bread is a disaster but served with every course. Pasta – 10 Bread – 0)

East London Resturant’s have this way of making you feel equal to everyone around you. It’s like Copenhagen in that way. There is no stuffiness like west London. No “his car and house are bigger than mine” or awkward stares at whose clear framed sunglasses are more ‘edgey’. Just cool, calm creative people who care about the art behind things, and not just the price.

So to sum up, Perilla is a must.

Jimmy & I actually in need of some new bedding this week so I will be returning to Perilla to get some sourdough pillows.

Bready or not Perilla here I come.

Rating (0-5) ****

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