The restaurant: Plate at M by Montcalm, 151-157 City Rd, Hoxton, London EC1V 1JH
Plate made me think about hotel restaurants. People rarely chose a hotel restaurant over a stand-alone restaurant. It’s not that they’re bad (although some certainly are), it’s rather that they’re undersold and eating generally comes below sleeping on a hotel’s list of priorities. In spite of this, if guests leave a hotel to explore the city, the hotel must rely on locals, as well as guests to support its restaurant. So, here’s one that I think you should give a chance.
Plate is located inside M by Montcalm hotel, an unusual building near Old Street station. Some call it an optical illusion, others an eyesore, but its proximity to Moorfields Eye Hospital suggest it was trying for one or the other. Sitting on the first floor, Plate looks out onto the busy road, which, at rush hour, is interesting to watch. Facing inwards you’ll see a wrap-around wet-looking stone bar, metallic-turquoise bricks on the back wall and warming blocks of seventies orange and browns. The interiors are stylish, but I can’t help feeling they blend in with countless high-end London hotels.
The menu isn’t atypical of London hotel fare, but it does glow with fresh and provocative adjectives: take ‘Creedy Carver chicken breast’, ‘Nutborne heritage tomato’ or ‘praline ricotta’. All British produce and all simply put together. Each dish lists three to five ingredients, all of the lovely quality you’d expect. The menu makes you visualise them lying out on the counter before being combined and cooked up.
If anything is Plate’s signature, it’s bread. Plate love fresh bread and it’s all baked downstairs in their artisan bakehouse. Take note of the a la carte breakfast and confectionary menu for pastries, tarts and muffins. Sourdough, mushroom brioche, and marmite bread all arrived with whipped butters, and all cheekily giving your local bakery a run for its money. I even had a moment of enjoying marmite.
Pea soup was up next, a pale green spring starter complete with quail’s egg and split peas at the bottom. It was very creamy but went down very well with the fresh bread. My pal ordered the Atlantic cod croquette, a huge round croquette packed with potato and fish; the crispy coating was thin but just right. Pork cheek with ginger glazed peach and prune yoghurt was my main: the pork was meaty but a little fatty, it was well-cooked so this didn’t matter too much. We ordered ratte potatoes with lovage dressing as a side. They had a nutty flavour that complemented the lovage dressing. Dessert was a cool, coffee crème brûlée with chocolate ganache and espresso ice cream – a wickedly sweet end to our dinner.
To book visit PlateCatering.com
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