The problem with small sharing plates, is that …
One of the problems with small sharing plates, [aside from the fact(s) that, inevitably: the table will become crowded with dishes that come ‘when they’re ready’; which will be at a time when you are not; and the meal will be in an entirely unnatural order; and, add up to a hefty bill, given you only had a nibble,]
is that so many small ‘sharing’ plates are impossible to actually share, and so are totally unsuitable for the format.
Dear restaurateur, when your ‘concept’ was being conceived, did anyone consider whether plating items in prime numbers pleases only solo diners? Was the intention to target food lovers from the London Boroughs of Lilliput and Belfuscu? And is it really a good idea to shoehorn your South American-Polish-Alaskan-Thai fusion food into terracotta tapas bowls?
Round of applause, then, for the thoughtful team behind Morito on Hackney Road, who realised the best thing on their menu (probably) should be offered in portions of one.
Indeed, the One Good Reason for you to jet down to Sam and Sam Clark’s first non-Exmouth Market based restaurant and its Southern-Spain crossed with Turkish and Cretan inspired food, is because their outstanding, fat, juicy, charcoal grilled lamb chops topped with paprika and anchovy butter are served per chop.
No, “oh go on, you have the last two square centimetres of the smoky, rendered lamb fat and insanely tender and more-ish meat that I didn’t quite nibble, when actually wanting, nay, needing to sandblast and inhale every last bit myself.”
No, “no, it’s fine, I’ll just suck the last hints of lip-smacking sauce from my fingers and pick at the crumbs in the bread basket, maybe casually run my thumb through the cooking juices when you’re done.”
No, “no, seriously, it’s totally fine – I had one more olive than you did and I’m feeling quite full anyway. Yes, we should get desserts. No, let’s get one each.”
Damn they were good. Unsharable, in fact.
Other bits and bobs:
I love the style of the room, even though it is pretty clattery. It’s the next stage of modern, casual dining – where previously we were all brick walls, cramped seating and reclaimed furniture, here is a considered, stylish paint scheme, a remarkable curve of azur blue marble bar top ($$$), bespoke tables and chairs and and padded stools, all arranged in enough space to eat without being bumped. You get the feeling they enjoy their busy, quirky, tight Exmouth Market site … but were ready to start swinging cats.
Or quails. The pomegranate molasses-dressed chargrilled quail, which came with some sort of mulched pistachio condiment, was almost as finger-licking good as the lamb. Harder to share between three, though.
For the noise about this Morito being more about Crete and Turkey than the first, a number of dishes are simply tweaked from their older offer – like deep fried aubergine, date molasses and feta; beetroot borani; the awesome chicharrones, this time with added grilled peppers. But it shares the name, so there should be links. Plus why not, when things taste that good?
Gorgeous, smooth labneh dressed with preserved chillies and broad beans. A fresh, zingy chopped salad. Decent chips with harissa sauce and sherry vinegar (patatas bravas for the modern man). Neat, tight, fresh dessert offer … The only dud was a plate of confit tuna shrouded in a blanket of caramelised onlions; I felt the fish possibly a little meagre for the dollar, and in any event overwhelmed by those alliums.
But does any of that matter anyway? Just go and order the lamb.*
Morito, Hackney Road in 3 words
Lamb chops please
The lamb chops are £4.50 per portion.
And for a whole meal, you’re looking at £35-60 per head, depending on thirst.
* Oh, and you can book!
moritohackneyroad.co.uk – 195 Hackney Road, E2 8JL – 020 7613 0754