REVIEW – 14th February 2017
Straight + Narrow,
The Straight & Narrow is the newest edition to the restaurant scene in Limehouse, E14. Having taken over the site from two failed Indian restaurants, situated in The Mosaic buildings across from the ever-popular La Figa, the Straight & Narrow opened its doors to little fanfare in October. A short, two stops on the DLR from either Bank or Canary Wharf, this restaurant is well worth a visit.
The restaurant is intimate with a restrained and under-stated décor – the space has a really nice feel to it. Its serving staff are a delight – friendly, attentive and professional, its managers welcoming and its Head Chef approachable. And then there is the reason we were there – the food and drinks.
I’m no great fan of cocktails, to me most of them taste like some sort of cough linctus that would be better off rubbed somewhere rather than drunk. But the short cocktail list is “interesting” and I just had to try one – a vodka martini served with blue cheese and truffle oil. Well, it was different, that’s for sure and was not a bit like a cough linctus. My long-suffering, nearest and dearest, Kate, opted for a “Tortuga”, a delicious mix of spiced rum and other things Caribbean.
Next the food menu – concise and a conundrum. Rarely, when I have been presented with a choice of 6 starters and 9 mains, has it taken me so long to settle on a final choice. More on that later, but the Wine List beckoned. Again, a short but well thought through list with something to fit every wallet. We had a delicious Argentinian Malbec!
Back to the food. When confronted with a menu, regardless of size, I normally find something quickly catches my eye and I will go with that. But no, I saw something I liked the sound of, then something else, then something else. Choices, choices, choices .… it was …. a conundrum! Eventually I settled on an Ox Cheek Rillette sitting on a bed of burnt onion puree as my starter and a Spiced Venison Loin with Bombay Potatoes and a Tomato Masala Sauce for my main. The choice for my lovely wife, Kate, was much easier – a Goat Cheese Panna Cotta followed by a Rabbit and Pancetta Pie.
The Ox Cheek Rillette was soft, unctuous and just lovely with the burnt onion puree provided a nice contrasting bite to the dish. Kate’s Goat Cheese Panna Cotta was scrummy, but it’s not yet a finished dish. It was really tasty if slightly dense. We fed this back to the Chef, Dave Cousin, who accepted our comments without any hesitation – which I found to be a really refreshing approach! On to the mains… Kate finds it impossible to resist the calling of a proper pie – encased in a shortcrust pastry, this pie did not disappoint. The rabbit was beautifully tender and the pancetta added an interesting note at the back of the palate. My Spiced Venison Loin curry was to die for. The Tomato Masala sauce was well spiced and had a rich, deep flavor to it and if I had any criticism of the dish, it was entirely my own fault. I should have asked for the Venison to be cooked medium rare which is more to my taste. Instead it was served more towards the medium side but still very, very tasty!
We finished the meal by sharing one dessert – a Honeycomb Parfait with Caramelised Bananas. It didn’t disappoint.
Being our first visit to this restaurant, we decamped to the bar which dominates the center of the restaurant to enjoy a coffee, a digestive and to take in more of the atmosphere. The restaurant was busy by this time but the staff handled it without any fuss. We could see in to the kitchen that seemed an oasis of calm professionalism. And all the time we were treated to Manager Vaughn tinkling the ivories providing a really chilled background that added to the ambience. This would be a great space for a private party.
So as this is a food blog, a final word about the food. It was great and we will be regular visitors as Chef David changes the menu every six weeks or so to take account of fresh, seasonal produce. Any chef who is not so proud, nor arrogant and who is happy to take constructive feedback gets my vote every day of the week and I look forward to getting to better know his food.
Straight + Narrow Restaurant Details:
Address: The Mosaic Building, 45 Narrow Street, Limehouse, London E14 8DN