Rotorino is the love child of Stevie Parle (of Dock Kitchen), Ruth Spivey (of pop ups, Wine Car Boot, and Street Vin Wine at Hawker House) and Jonathan Downey (of last years Rotary Bar and Diner) and man what a love child this is.
It’s nestled away on Kingsland Road (yes they were ‘that’ band on last years X factor) but it’s also a road in Dalston, E8, which is achingly cool. Normally I don’t venture over to Daltson as I just don’t think I’m cool enough, to be honest, but when I heard people raving about the food at Rotorino, I put on my best edgy hipster impression and scurried over.
The restaurant itself looks more like the kind of place you find in the middle of Soho, with a mix of exposed brick and wood panelling and comfy booth seating. So we’ve established the place itself is stylish and sleek, but now lets get to the food.
In one word, it’s amazing. The menu is inspired by the food of Southern Italy and to be honest I wanted everything off the menu. I have to be honest though, I was catching up with one of my bestest friends and we were so eager to get started that I don’t know if we actually ordered as well as we could have done. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but I did have major food envy looking at the tables next to us.
We started with the Pea Gnudi with buffalo ricotta, peas, sage, parmesan and butter. Gnudi are a meltingly tender gnocchi like pasta dumplings and they are heavenly. the crisp sage leave added texture and a zing and I could have carried on eating this all night
We also shared the mixed small fish and squid. This was the order I regret, as it was pretty run-of-the-mill and we definitely should have gone for one of the other gorgeous pasta dishes – the gnochetti with slow cooked sausage looked divine.
We had heard amazing things about the hanger steak and it did not disappoint. My knife cut through the steak like butter and it was smothered in a smokey chilli sauce which was delicious.
To go with the steak we chose the monk’s beard and lentils. As a lentil junkey, I can tell you these were nop notch and the monk’s beard was a great addition.
The pork and veal meatballs were, we decided, really quite salty, which we both love so completely devoured them. They were in a particularly good tomato sauce. Also, how gorgeous is the bowl?
Pudding, was not necessary at all, as we were both pretty full, but it goes into a different part of your tummy doesn’t it?
We shared the nespole and almond tart with creme fraiche. This is my dreamy sort of pudding at the moment, I just can’t enough of almonds. I love the texture they give to puddings. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what a nespole was either – but it’s sort of a cross between an apricot and a peach. And they’re delicious!
The chocolate cake with honeycomb, crushed pistachio and soured cream was out of this world. Less of a cake and more of a rich chocolate mousse, not that I’m complaining, it was perfection! Chocolate lovers should make a pilgrimage to Dalston for this alone.
Modern Italian food at it’s absolute best, you must go!
434 Kingsland Rd, E8 4AA
020 7249 9081