A review of East Street, Rathbone Place, W1
East Street is a recently opened pan-Asian restaurant that offers superb street food from eight countries. Owned by David Fox and Nick Jeffrey, who also operate the Tampopo chain, which has sites in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Reading, here is a 100-cover venue that has the colourful, raw feel of an East Asian street market.
The canteen style dining space at East Street
The décor here is quirky and the touches clever. Airport tannoy announcements are played on a loop in the toilets and venting and illuminated signs hang from the exposed concrete ceiling. Diners sit at canteen benches alongside an open kitchen that allows them to enjoy seeing the chefs at work whilst Asian films are projected onto the walls.
The exterior of East Street
The menu is inspired by the travels of Fox and Jeffrey and covers tastes of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and Korea. I got to enjoy their “backpacker’s odyssey throughout East Asia” just after they opened in early December courtesy of PR maestro Alexa Perrin with a party who included the Implausible blog’s Farrukh Younus and I have to say I had a most enjoyable time.
Fox and Jeffrey introduced the group to a menu that is divided into small dishes, soup noodles, East Asian salads, wok-fried noodle and rice dishes, stir fried specials and sauce-based specials.
To start, highlights included Malaysian sesame prawn skewers with toasted sesame seeds and fresh lime (£5.25), Korean Bulgogi slices of marinated grilled beef with a fiery pickled cabbage named Kimchi (£5.95) and Japanese Gyoza, which consisted of five griddled dumplings of minced pork, bamboo shoot and spring onion (£4.95). Sharing is the order of the day at East Street and these dishes worked perfectly.
Amongst the extensive main course offering are Singapore noodles with rice vermicelli, prawns, chicken breast, spring onion and carrot (£8.95), Indonesian Tahu Goreng tofu wok-fried with mushrooms in a zesty tamarind and lime sauce (£6.75) and a Thai Nua Yang Manao salad with stips of rare grilled rump steak with fresh mint, chilli and lime (£8.95). I opted for a Japanese Katsu curry of chicken breast deep-fried in panko breadcrumbs that was served with a mild curry sauce and sticky rice (£9.25). It was packed with flavour, excellently presented and filling.
To conclude, I finished with a giner crème brulee (£4.50) that I found creamy and indulgent. A whole range of sorbets and ice-creams are also on offer (£3.60 - £3.85) as well as a Malaysian sticky black rice pudding (£4.50) and a fried banana dish of Vietnamese Caramen Chuoi Ran (£4.95).
East Street's authentic illuminated signage
The drinks list at East Street is somewhat limited but reasonably priced. Four beers are offered: Beer Lao from Laos, Japanese Asahi, Singaporean Tiger and Thai Singha (prices from £3.50 to £3.90) and wines include a house South African Chenin Blanc white at £13.95 a bottle and a Chilean Pinot Noir at £19.95. The real stunner, however, was the Saigon Negroni that is made with Bombay Sapphire, Martini Rosato, Aperol, lychee liqueur and chilli (£5.95.). This is a drink that must be sampled to be believed.
Perfect for the many shoppers, office workers and students in the locality, East Street is a friendly restaurant that is definitely worth seeking out.
East Street, 3 – 5 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HJ. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7323 0860. Website: http://www.eaststreetrestaurant.com
Follow East Street on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/EastStreetEats
To watch a video about East Street visit the Implausible blog at: http://implausibleblog.com/2011/12/14/pan-asian-hawkers-cafe-east-street