No end of good – A Little of What You Fancy review

December 23, 2010

A Little of What You Fancy, 464 Kingsland Road, E8 4AE

In the six and a half years I’ve lived in Dalston, it has gone from what one west-dwelling colleague once described to me as ‘your pungent suburb’, to officially the most fashionable spot on the face of the planet. Almost every Friday and Saturday night I come home to find my doorstep, which is flanked by a trendy club and an increasingly busy bar, littered with slender, gazelle-like young people, heavy of eye makeup and musical of laugh, fagging away (that’s ‘smoking’, Americans) like mad, having a simply lovely time. It’s very sweet, but it’s also a bit wearisome, sometimes, so when a little restaurant calling itself A Little of What You Fancy opened up a few doors away, I feared a fashion flashpoint rather than what I sorely wished for, which is a lovely local restaurant with friendly staff which is serious about food. Astonishingly, I got the latter.

It was a late lunch (at 2.50pm, the kitchen closing at 3), so I thought I’d make it easy on them and myself with a simple goat’s cheese salad and a glass of red. What I got, to steal a turn of phrase from commenter Al Watt, was a sort of meta-goat’s cheese salad.

Fabulous tomatoes, saturated with flavour; the goat’s cheese just warm enough, a generous dollop of home-made pesto on the top (perfect foil) and a simple salad of baby leaves and rocket – not too much, not all stalky and difficult to eat. Delicious Rioja, one of their ‘Christmas specials’. They were hugely friendly, and not remotely grumpy about me arriving about 4 minutes before the kitchen closed. Giddy with happiness after my salad, I asked to see the desserts, and spotted the warm mince pie, which I requested with a wedge of stilton (not a combination on the menu). Not an eyelid was batted. If I’m going to pick holes, the mince pie could have been both a bit warmer and significantly less sweet, but other than that it was delightful.

The room, simple white and a bit of brick, is warm and welcoming, the staff are absolutely charming, the table decorations are really sweet (currently a little stout glass full of soil with a tiny festive spruce planted in it) and though it’s hard to tell whether the vaguely countrified chaos of fruit crates and farm sacks by the counter is artful or not, it’s not annoying. It’s just lovely. And it’s all about 4 minutes walk from my flat. So if you don’t mind, I’d rather you didn’t come here and clutter it up. It’s mine.

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