100 Islington

sweeet potato saladDiverse, distinctive and delicious, this is London food. And, says Zoë Perrett, it’s beautifully executedPerched halfway along Upper Street, 100 Islington takes its cue from its big sister 100 Hoxton, both in terms of designer Yaojen Chuang’s eclectic aesthetic and chef Francis Puyat’s collection of small sharing plates. The menu is nicely concise and entirely appealing, and the  same rings true of a drinks list from which a couple of cocktails accompany our dillying, dallying, umming and ahhing.

Stupidly and rather amateurishly, I’ve arrived devoid of appetite. And then a strange thing happens: it not only returns, but seems to increase with each dish set down on the Mondrian-esque primary-coloured tabletop. Because this food is good. Seriously good.

So, too, is the service. To say staff can’t do enough for you whilst affording you space to breathe sounds paradoxical, but it applies, and it works, and it’s an approach that’s both beautiful and all too rare.

Courgette and halloumi fritters

As you’d expect from a former NOPI chef, the menu roves the globe, the loudest accents coming from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. This is food from nowhere and everywhere; pitch-perfect for the city’s diverse diners. ‘London food’, if you will. And we two Londoners are welcoming it with open arms. Salads are collisions both cultural and textural; coconut milk dressing cloaks charred aubergine with Granny Smith and candied hazelnuts; al dente okra is a revelation piled up with crunchy mung dal, paneer, and spiced, caramelised onion.

From the sea – and an evidently-confident kitchen – comes fat hunks of octopus, braised into tender submission and served atop velvety garam masala-laced celeriac puree. Singapore soft shell chilli crab floats on a lake of luscious, lively gravy, thick enough to allow its crisp coating to remain thus.Meaty dishes jostle for table space and join the hit parade: pork belly with hot, crunchy papaya salad and adobo sauce nods to the chef’s Filipino heritage, whilst charred lamb belly dances over to the Middle East, attractively adorned with goat’s cheese, aubergine, green tahini and harissa.Lamb belly

‘No Passport Required’ sums up the dining experience but it’s also the name of a sophisticated smoked rum, pineapple and coconut cocktail which offers an indulgent interlude ahead of baked mango custard with berries, and an orangey chocolate pud drizzled with a sweet-hot candied chilli syrup.

With a top team delivering food and drink that arrests the attention, satisfies the senses, and looks great on your Instagram feed, a visit to 100 Islington comes 100% recommended.

Make it happen

Where: 270 Upper St, Islington N1 2UQ
Find out more: To visit the website, click here


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