THE streets of Shoreditch are chockfull of great restaurants as new openings pop up left, right and centre. Its newest addition Plate is busy multitasking in London’s M by Montcalm hotel with a restaurant, bar, bakery and a catering service all under the same roof. Run by chef Arnaud Stevens, Plate’s A La Carte menu follows in the footsteps of his French and English heritage by serving a fusion of the both cuisines. Fine dining and an easy-going atmosphere welcomes Stevens’ first restaurant to the Shoreditch scene providing an experience that’s unpretentious but premium.
I sit browsing the French dominated wine list and decide to order a bottle of red from Languedoc. There’s something so powerful about drinking a brilliant French regional wine whilst sat in the centre of London’s bustling madness. Plate’s interior is stylish and shy, directing all eyes to the extraverted view of the action packed city scene coming from behind the large glass window.
The signature bread flight
Arriving first is Plate’s signature bread flight which is a selection of warm, fresh breads which come straight from the oven. Sourdough and brioche have become household comforts so it’s the marmite bread which had my attention as the flavours were so enjoyable yet familiar. Arnaud’s decision to incorporate this ordinary British staple proves to me that Plate is not yet another arrogant chef trying too hard but instead a chef willing to work with simple flavours and make them brilliant. Deep in colour and full of yeasty richness, the matured flavours of my childhood marmite sandwiches fill me with nostalgia and line my stomach before my starter.
It’s an important time to celebrate British farmed produce, and Stevens shows a clear emphasis of the importance of locally sourced produce. The starters menu is slightly erratic in consistency as a 42 day aged beef carpaccio sits above the chilli, avocado and lime on sourdough option – which is Arnaud’s take on the brunch favourite avocado on toast.
Fully supportive of celebrating British farming, I eagerly order the Nutbourne heritage tomato starter dismissing the wilder options. The Sussex tomatoes sit colourfully on the plate displayed in tricolour and served with a lemon ricotta which is generously dolloped on top. I’m told half of the tomatoes are smoked but I can’t tell which are and aren’t. When everything is has unison with the fennel bread, each mouthful is juicy and subtly zesty making it appetising and light before a main course.
Octopus main course
The Creedy Carver chicken breast with wild garlic pesto is appealing if red meat isn’t for you however it seems a little too safe compared to other choices on the menu. The British Isle rump of lamb shows Stevens’ true colours as the tomato fondue and anchovy accompaniment feel like more of a celebration offering a richer experience.
Vegetarian options are far from boring with bright baby violet artichokes served with praline ricotta and shallots being the popular choice as textures and contrasting flavours combine. Also on the menu is the red kuri squash gnocchi with toasted almonds which is a hearty choice. The gnocchi comes with pickled radish giving it a sharp twist which Arnaud then tones down with a light rosemary curd. The vegetarian options are arguably more exciting as their vibrant flavours are unexpected with a French flare. I’m told the dishes can be worked into vegan options on request which shows attentiveness from Arnaud’s end.
Chef Arnaud Stevens
The French-English boundaries are blurred for a final time as I order the cheeseboard for dessert. I enjoy a mixture of English and Welsh cheeses while finishing the rest of my wine. The ability to fuse cuisines is a tough task but Plate’s Arnaud Stevens does a fine job of combining the simple with the complex.
by Katrina Mirpuri
Plate, 151-157 City Rd, Hoxton, London EC1V 1JH
For more information visit the website.