Launching earlier this year, London Field’s Institute of Light have completely revamped the menu with a new residency from Nigella Lawson’s favourite chef Helio Fenerich.
Offering an interesting Mediterranean menu, focusing on simple rustic Italian cuisine with touches from Spain, France and Portugal.
If you’re not familiar with the space, IOL is quite the multitasker. By day you’ll find a record & book shop selling a carefully curated selection of wares (we spied our favourite foodie book – East London Food by Rosie Birkett) as well as an impressive bar made from old aeroplane windows. (Seeing is believing). Continuing the aeronautical theme, you’ll find a gorgeous cinema out the back, complete with aeroplane chairs and sofas for the snugglers. Showing a whole host of current films, this is where we’ll gravitate too when Hackney Picturehouse feels too busy – and with single seats priced at a bargainous £6 it’s a no brainer.
Back through to the restaurant, cute tables of two are nestled up to each other – this is not the place to spill your filthy gossip.
The menu is split into small and large plates and we started with deep fried artichokes and creamy burrata as well as a selection of seasonal vegetable fritti with punchy aioli dip. Both needed a little sprinkle of salt to bring them to life but we were also eyeing up our neighbours humongous charcuterie board and octopus! We had a bad case of menu fomo.
We adored our rigatoni. A generous plate of pasta, liberally sprinkled with parmesan in a seriously comforting slow cooked beef and pancetta ragu. Just the thing as the winter nights start getting darker.
Looking for something lighter? Our sea bass had a crisped skin and was served on a bed of healthy lentils, chard and topped with black olive tapenade. Be sure to add a side of the Polenta Fritti, the perfect addition to just about everything, with truffle notes and way more interesting than the humble chip!
Helio really comes into his own when it comes to dessert. He’s just released an all-dessert cookbook back in Brazil apparently and it shows in the flourless chocolate cake with crème fraiche. So good, a fellow diner said she’d like to marry it, climb inside it and live in it forever. Can’t really put it better myself to be honest so let’s leave that there.
We particularly love the Cinedining offer of three courses and a film for £30 a person. What says date night better than that aye?
Fire up tinder and get swiping.