We pick out the best new spaces to eat around London. This week Oval Space Terrace, the hip east London venue that now sells restaurant-quality food five days a week.
WHAT? If you live in east London and you don’t know about Oval Space, you’re doing it all wrong. It’s an events and club space with a fantastic terrace sandwiched between Bethnal Green and Hackney (29-32 The Oval, E2 9DT). It hosts international DJs and events such as the upcoming London Craft Beer Festival. And it now has an excellent chef offering Mediterranean food with an Israeli twist, served on its communal banquet tables. On a sunny evening, watching the sun set through the post-industrial skeleton of the disused oil silo next door, it’s about as perfect a location as you could wish for. Or if it’s raining like it has been for most of the summer, you can take refuge under the newly built covered area.
WHO? Chef Oded Oren has had residencies at F Cooke pie and jellied eel shop in Broadway Market and at the Common Cafe in Bethnal Green. From a tiny kitchen out on the semi-outdoor terrace, he rustles up a host of excellent summer-time dishes. There’s a big emphasis on vegetarian food, as well grilled fish and lamb. There’s an extended menu at weekends offering sharing platters and larger dishes. Oren’s food is big on flavour but light enough to have a dance to Oval Space’s DJs as the evening starts to turn to night, if the fancy takes you.
ORDER THIS: The cauliflower steak with Greek yoghurt and roasted garlic is divine, but the perfectly grilled octopus with harissa is hard to beat, as are the lamb kebabs with green tahini. Oh, and the spicy fish kebabs with sweet petters and soured cream are wonderful. And the bread with tomatoes and tahini is obligatory. Seriously, it’s all excellent – skip lunch before you come.
WHEN... Wednesday-Friday 5pm-11pm and Weekends 12pm-11pm.
WHAT'S THE DAMAGE? Very reasonable: small dishes start from £5, with sirloin steak and grilled monkfish topping out at £14 and £15 respectively. The only problem is it’s so moreish you might get carried away.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? This place is all pleasure, although if you want to show a client how cool you are, you could always invite them along after work.
NEED TO BOOK? It’s a fairly big space so small parties should be fine to turn up – if there’s no space at the tables you can hang out at the bar with a gin and tonic until a place frees up. Parties over six are advised to book ahead – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE VERDICT... Great food that won’t break the bank in a location that’s hard to beat. Service is relaxed but sharp and the tunes are as good as you’ll hear anywhere in London. If you’re in the area, this place should be at the top of your evening drinks or weekend brunch wish-list.
ONE MORE THING... They also serve cocktails – we recommend the Cucumber Collins when the sun is shining and the Treacle (rum, orange bitters and apple) for later in the evening.