The Empress of India
John Gregory-Smith ON Nov 16, 2010 AT 9:30 am
By John Gregory Smith
Last week I found myself eating at The Empress of India, near Victoria Park in East London.
It was on the night of that annoying tube strike and although I didn’t desperately need to get the tube, I was feeling everyone’s pain and was angry on their behalf! Luckily for me, the Empress was the perfect antidote to this – next time there’s a tube strike go to the Empress of India and all will be well!
We kicked off with English Martinis, which were made from Elderflower, lime, gin and rosemary that were fresh, herby and perfectly sour and made us forget all our tube related worries. The menu was seasonal, fishy in a good way (all the fish is handpicked daily from Billingsgate Market) and very hearty. There were some lovely winter dishes like smoked eel and duck liver terrine, caramelised onion soup, which was delicious, pan fried fillet of golden bream, colcannon, onion, red peppers and capers and slow roasted pork belly with buttered leeks and dauphinoise potatoes.
For our mains I went for the rib eye steak on the bone with onion rings, chips and watercress. The portion was a bit of an American wannabe and I could have done without a lot of the sides but my steak took me to steaky heaven. The meat was perfectly rare, seasoned beautifully and each bite was as soft as butter that had been left out of the fridge overnight. My lovely dinner companion Juliet went for the food-envy inducing steak and Guinness pie. The pie was a bit contemporary with a mash potato top instead of a pie crust but the meat was really tender and the filling was so rich and delicious that it was perfect for such a cold night.
I am loving all the amazing local restaurants that East London has to offer. The Empress was a lovely gastropub with an interesting menu, chandeliers made out of mussel shells and a laid back vibe. I will definitely be popping back very soon.
130 Lauriston Road
Tel: 020 8533 5123