Roasts with the most: top chefs’ favourite restaurants for Sunday lunch.
Food writer and television chef Gizzi Erskine rates the Empress of India in Hackney, a Victorian pub given a modern diner vibe with its red leather banquettes and airy interior.
I rather liked it, since it resulted in amazing service, like being the Queen. It has grand Victorian pub proportions, hugely high ceilings, a long bar, generous windows; judiciously, not much has been done to chic it up. They did tremendously well with their guinea fowl (£14.50). The meat itself was gamey, firm, excellent. It arrived on borlotti beans, cooked in a meaty stock then laced with caramelized onions, and these were delicious. Some radicchio draped itself languidly about. I’d be here ceaselessly if it were my local; you’d have to hose me out.
Ticking all the boxes for a great local” – a “friendly” gastroboozer, near Victoria Park , which continues to impress with its all-round quality.
Everything about this gloriously updated former corner pub is bang on, with proper linen napkins, only 55p per person for unlimited house bottled water and local bread, and meat supplied by the Ginger Pig across the road. No wonder the comfy red leather banquettes and squishy sofas are full of happy families, hipsters and anyone who appreciates what the eager and talented team have achieved. Very impressive.
Our waitress was excellent, the service friendly and efficient. This was a really good meal. It shows what can happen when you take a chef with a background in serious restaurants and give him the task of cooking a simpler level of menu: the skill still shines through. It would be easily possible to eat a three course meal here, with a nice bottle of wine between two, for around £40 a head. This seems to me a genuine bargain.