Test Drives

diningroomJust a lovely, lovely space - the dining room at Two Lights

So what do we need to know about Two Lights?

It'd be easy to answer that question with a single statement - it's the third restaurant from the Clove Club group. But, as with everything those guys do, this is way more interesting than simply another restaurant. They have a track record of supporting the folk who work for them into breaking out on their own and this is no different. Here, it's chef Chase Lovecky who's been given the boost. Lovecky was head chef at The Clove Club for three years, and, before that, was at momofuku KO, Jean-Georges and at Hugo’s in Maine.

Where is it?

It's at the Shoreditch end of the Kingsland Road - about halfway between Hoxton and Shoreditch overground stations and a shortish walk from Old Street tube. It's taken over what used to be the restaurant site of pizza place Amici Miei.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

You're practically next door to DreamBags JanuaryShoes, so if you're coming here for dinner that's an obvious call for a cocktail. The Spread Eagle across the road is good for a pint, or you could always go for the full Clove Club experience and head to their bar at the Shoreditch Town Hall before you come here.

breadKick off your meal with this - the softest potato rolls with bottarga topped butter (£4).

Where should we sit?

The restaurant is split into two rooms - we preferred the section looking into the open kitchen. There are a few counter seats up at the pass, as well as along the window, with the rest of the room being split into tables of two and four.

So what's on the menu?

Chase has said he'll be serving up "modern American food" at Two Lights. The menu's loosely split into snacks (£4-£6), smallish plates (£9-£14), larger dishes (£18-£24), sides and desserts (£8).

Here's what we had:

crabchipsYou get two of these gorgeous crab on beef fat chips for £4.25. You're going to want both of them, so don't make the mistake we did and order one of these between two.

burrataBurrata served on a bed of warm creamed kale and seaweed - such a good combo (£9.50).

grouseIf you ignore the 'Where are my sunglasses?' crockery, this grouse sausage with coco beans and figs is a super dish (£14).

carrotsNeither myself or my dining companion are big carrot fans, so the fact that we ordered - and loved - this side of carrots with lardo and fennel pollen (£4.50) says a lot. Super sweet with a nice little hit of umami.

rayProbably our favourite dish from our lunch tere - this roasted ray wing with dill pickle butter (£20.50) was a wonderful choice - beautifully cooked and layered with flavour and texture.

pieSome readers we talked to at the restaurant thought the smoked caramel sauce that came with the custard tart was a little too Rothmans for them. We actually thought it gave off the perfect bonfire vibe. (£8).

You'll notice we didn't have perhaps one of the most instagrammed dishes from the restaurant - the sardine katsu. We're not big sardine fans, but judging by everyone else around us when we visited, we were very much in the minority.

What are the options like for vegetarians?

Pretty good - with almost every section having a veggie option - there was also a veggie main we didn't order on the day which was Hen of the Woods with duse and egg yolk (£18.50).

And to drink?

The wine list is really short - just a handful of white and reds to choose from with one skin contact and one rose too. The cheapest bottle is £34. We played it pretty safe with a bottle of Provencal rose at £36 while we tried to pretend it was summer and not pouring from the heavens outside.

Overall thoughts:

We popped in for our lunch on Day 4 of their soft opening and, frankly, it felt like they'd been open for years. The space is nicely done out - tables aren't so close you can hear conversations - although you can eyeball what you might order next. And there was a palpable sense of energy and excitement here - everyone front of house seemed genuinely happy to be here to welcome you.

So, in short, wonderful food, lovely space and easy, personable service. Job done.

 

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Two Lights. Prices correct at time of writing.

More about Two Lights

Where is it? 28-30 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8DA

How to book: Most tables are for walk-ins but limited reservations can be made by emailing reservations@twolights.restaurant

Find out more: On their website or follow them on Instagram @twolightslondon 

 

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