Earlier this month, Plate restaurant in Shoreditch launched their new, seasonal menu. Thoughtfully crafted by Arnaud Steven – Plate’s renowned owner and creative head chef – the new menu is innovative, modern British dishes that are bursting with freshness and flavour. We recently visited Plate to try their new a la carte dinner menu for ourselves.
Restaurants and bars within hotels have long had an imperfect reputation. At one end, there is the famously celebrated – say, The Ritz Restaurant, or Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester – and at the other, well, those no more than a drab canteen serving up warmish “mehs” or underwhelming drinks all around.
London hotels however are breaking away from the trend of mediocre and upping the ante to attract more than just an overnight guest. Plate is no exception with its on-trend décor, flavoursome cuisine, and expertly crafted beverages.
Located within the M by Montcalm boutique hotel just up from the hubbub of Silicon Roundabout (Old Street) in Shoreditch, Plate is a restaurant, bar, and bakery, situated on the first two levels of the venue, with Bake on the ground floor just beyond the lobby, and the restaurant and cocktail bar above on the first floor. Each offer a different atmosphere dependent on time of day and dining preferences.
We head up the stairs to the restaurant where staff greet us with warmth and show us to our table. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide a unique view and take full advantage of the modern architecture of the building. We feel so close to the bustle and excitement of rush hour London happening below us, yet are undisturbed by any murmur of traffic noise.
We settle comfortably into our table for two with a view, and peruse the menus. The food menu leads with “Yeast & Flour”, which showcases Plate’s love of baked goods. We opt for the bread flight which Lamine, our attentive host for the evening, talks us through in great detail.
We receive the Signature Bread Flight, which includes sourdough, brioche, and marmite bread with freshly whipped seasonal butters. The three different flavours of butter – especially the caramelised shallot one – pair wonderfully with the selection of freshly made bread and highlight the baking talent present in this establishment. The marmite bread goes down a treat; it’s a mild flavour that doesn’t offend the typically marmite-adverse.
Emerging from our butter-induced state of extreme delight, the starters arrive. Plate demonstrates their baking talents once again with the adorable brioche mini-loaf that accompanies the Pork, Pancetta and Pistachio Terrine. Well-sized cucumber chunks in the relish topping provide a balance of sweet, salt, and acidity alongside the delicate smokiness from the terrine.
Chapel & Swan Smoked Salmon Scotch Egg arrives alongside it and is a tasty twist on a pub classic. Cutting into the Scotch egg showcases an amazing orange, fresh, perfect runny yolk. Creamed smoked salmon is wrapped around the soft-boiled egg; and is rounded off with a crispy, breaded shell. It’s enriched by the wasabi mayonnaise, which has a subtle kick, but not to worry, not the feared wasabi-burn-meltdown sort of punch.
So far, so good: our taste-buds are pleased as we prepare for our mains, enjoying the ambiance and our glasses of Shiraz Cinsault.
The mains arrive: Ironbark Pumpkin Risotto, Cheddar, Buckwheat, Chives is a rich, comforting choice that suits the drizzly evening. It is a flavoursome, mixed-texture dish with a crunch from the buckwheat, suppleness from the risotto, and savoury smoothness from the pumpkin and Montgomery cheddar.
Alongside this we enjoyed the Pan-Fried Stone Bass, Smoked Celeriac & Mussel Sauce, Braised Chicory, Hazelnut. When cutting into the fish, there is the crispness of the skin and the firm flesh of the Stone Bass, that lets you know you’re in for a treat. It’s complemented beautifully by the smoked celeriac and mussel sauce. The braised chicory topped with hazelnut certainly adds a wow-factor to the dish and is a perfect example of how Plate aims to include great British produce on their menu. From the sides, we choose Confit Ratte Potatoes whipped with chervil, dill & crème fraiche. A large portion, easily shared among two people, it accompanies both mains well.
At this point, we are thoroughly stuffed but there is no stopping us, it is on to dessert!
We pick the Pear and Frangipane Tart and Tiramisu to end our meal. The tart is made with fresh pears sliced so delicately thin, it’s almost art, and served with homemade anise ice cream.
The tiramisu – coffee, amaretto, and chocolate ganache – is both beauty and scrumptiousness. Both desserts are well-sized and we take great pleasure in devouring them.
Just when we thought we were done eating, Passion Fruit Marshmallow and White Chocolate Macaroons are kindly delivered to our table, compliments of the chef. We muster up the strength to find room, and oh is it worth it! Clouds of passion fruit remind us of somewhere much more exotic than floating above City Road.
To conclude our dining experience, Lamine escorts us to the kitchen for a chat with Plate’s head chef, Josh Dawson. Josh is naturally warm and approachable with a clear passion for food, Plate, and the family that he’s come to form within the restaurant.
We talk some more and in addition to continuing the tradition of delivering fresh, flavoursome food, he would love to collect some AA-Rosettes. With the delicious food, high quality talent, and contemporary surrounds, this surely seems inevitable!
Throughout the evening, everyone we come across is knowledgeable and has a humble pride and authentic passion for the food and drinks on offer. Pleasant, jovial and happy to chat, but equally respectful, never overbearing, and appreciative of letting diners have their space to enjoy the food and atmosphere. Plate serves up some brilliant fare and is competitively priced for the high quality food it delivers.
Plate, M by Montcalm, 151-157 City Road, Shoreditch EC1V 1JH
Words by Whitney Special