89 Shacklewell Lane E8 2EB
0798 386 2258
AKA: The front-room bistro we want to move in to
The deal: Who knew the flip side of the Dalston Strip would end up being so successful for restaurants? Just a mere 100 metres walk from the main drag boasts an increasing number of great eateries - the original Mangal, Jones & Sons, Mouse & de Lotz - and Floyd's is definitely no exception. It's been a neighbourhood favourite since it first opened its doors back in 2012 (ah, the BYOB days, we remember them fondly) and has never had to shout about its appeal - the small, 20-seater restaurant with decent, modern British/European food made with love means the venue is pretty much fully booked most nights of the week. When we drop by on a Friday night, it's like stepping into a cosy, Scandinavian den as fragrant fresh pine branches and fairy lights line the walls - "They were for Christmas, but everyone seems to like them, so we've kept them up, " says the co-owner, Nathan Miller. Good call. Around us, groups of friends huddle around the tables to enjoy a long, leisurely meal - it's a little like eating in at a mate's house, and easy to forget that you're not when those delicious cocktails keep on coming.
The food: Finally - we think we've found the restaurant to stop the 'small plates' trend in its tracks. Floyd's: we salute you. The starters are hefty enough on their own to function as a main dish, but don't let that stop you tucking in. The slightly festive chicken liver and brandy pate (£7) comes in a sizeable pot of a rich, moreish spread with plenty of wholegrain toast and a side of rocket leaves, fig chutney and cornichons. The smoked yellow split pea soup with walnut and herb oil (£5) was warming and filling while the honey roast pumpkin (£6.5) was also turned up to 'decadent' with the addition of Stilton, chestnuts and cranberries. Mains focus on good quality meat and fish with veg that wouldn't be out of place on a Sunday lunch. The slow-roast pork belly (£16.5) had perfect crackling to it and was stuffed with apricot and walnuts, served with swede, cavolo nero and a fennel and cider gravy. See, told you it was hearty. The lamb chops (£14.5) were tasty and juicy and paired well with the olive, mint and basil crushed potatoes and savoy cabbage, served with a hint of spice with a star anaise jus. The pan-fried mackerel (£14.5) was a touch lighter, with beetroot and spiced cauliflower picking up the dish and the horseradish adding a little kick of warmth. If there's any space left unoccupied in your stomach following that, we suggest the chocolate souffle cake with pistachio nuts and Chantilly cream (£5.5) - not served warm as expected, but its rich sweetness is just enough to set you off into that food coma.
The signature dish: Go all out on the slow-roast pork belly
The chef: Konrad Lindholm
When to dine: Floyd's is only open for dinner during the week, so we recommend a mid-week munch, or a weekend evening - be sure to book, as it gets busy. Their brunch service from midday until 4pm on Saturday and Sunday looks pretty tasty too.
Damage to pocket: Starters are about £7, mains average at about £14, and desserts at £5.5, so a three-course meal with wine will come in about £35 a head
File under: Celebrate good times, Date night, Payday blow-out, Brunching, Weekenders