This Dalston Bar Is Serving One Of London's Best-Value Tasting Menus

Untitled Restaurant and Bar ★★★★☆

By Lydia Manch Last edited 28 months ago
This Dalston Bar Is Serving One Of London's Best-Value Tasting Menus Untitled Restaurant and Bar 4
The boneless sweet kimchi wings at Untitled. Photo by Lydia Manch.

If you've been to Tony Conigliaro's other bars, his new Dalston venture has some surprises in store. The drinks menu at Untitled is nearer the precise, scientific experimentalism of 69 Colebrooke Row than Bar Termini's elegant, Italianate vibe. Cocktails here are small, powerful and finely-tuned; our favourite's the waif — a compelling balance of sweetness and bitterness, tang and kick (some alchemy teased out from rhubarb, rose vodka, silver tea and champagne).

But while Termini and 69 Colebrooke Row are small and perennially packed-out, Untitled Bar's larger — and on a Tuesday evening, emptier and more echoey. The upstairs is pared-back and simple, all clean wooden lines. Downstairs is stark, all squared-off edges and silvery-grey.

Another difference setting this apart from other Conigliaro venues is the food — substantial, not-just-bar-snacking food, which so far only Bar Termini Centrale of the Conigliaro venues also offers. While BTC serves up a series of lovable Italian classics (read more about Fat Tony's pasta dishes here), the menu at Untitled... it's the sort of food that people call challenging, admiringly.

Small, Japanese-influenced sharing plates make up a list that you can pick and choose from — or, like we do, go with the Eat The Whole Menu option, with a series of 10 small plates to share (and bonus cocktails, if you book here via Tock), that comes in at £52.50 for two people. Compared to most London tasting menus, that's pretty impressive value — rising to ridiculously good value for somewhere pouring this much energy and rigour into experimentation.

The menu changes regularly, with monthly supperclubs acting as executive chef Rob Roy Cameron's testing ground for new ideas. But highlights from our visit are both strange, compelling texture-flavour mash-ups: shiso pear — draped with something cobwebby that turns out to be seaweed dried into lacy strands — and lamb-stuffed brioche, topped with a gingery, gelatinous disc embedded with micro-sage.

Relentlessly inventive: mussels in a yuzu beurre blanc. Photo by Lydia Manch.

And there are solid crowd-pleasers along with the more surprising combinations. Sweet kimchi boneless chicken wings are stickily tender. Long, cool strips of pickled apple smooth out the yakitori butchness of the sweet breads.

Not everything's as moreish (tofu-fig-kale salad, we're looking at you), and well after we've finished the mussels in yuzu beurre blanc, we're still chasing the odd foaminess around our mouths and trying to figure out if we like it or not. But Untitled is delivering a tasting menu that's at its best delicious, and even at its lower ebbs still thoroughly memorable.

The experimental supperclubs run monthly, and the next one is on 10 May — you can check upcoming dates and get tickets here.

Untitled Restaurant and Bar, 538 Kingsland Road, E8 4AH.

Last Updated 04 May 2018

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