Dinner and Drinks at Darkhorse, in Stratford’s East Village

It’s remarkable how much living in Stratford has changed in the four years we’ve been here: in that time we’ve seen the former Olympic Village move from being boarded up, to having a few ghostly residents, to now being the full of life year round. For me and my greedy stomach, the highlight of this has been the array of great restaurants and coffee shops that have now popped up on our doorstep, including Darkhorse among others.

The menu is southern European inspired, but with British roots: think tiger prawns on a bed of swiss chard, roasted guinea fowl with gratin dauphinoise, pork chop with celeriac remoulade, and was all perfectly cooked and presented. The desserts were especially good. I opted for a bitter chocolate tart while J had the hot chocolate bread pudding, which he promptly declared the best he’d ever had. Another highlight for us was the interesting cocktail menu – I tried a bergamot gimlet while J went for a classic Aviation. Delicious, but one was definitely enough on a Wednesday evening as they were pretty strong!

Darkhorse’s menu has been designed so that you can go for the traditional starter and main combo, or make your own ‘picky bits’ selection built up from charcuterie and smaller plates which are fantastic for sharing. It made the perfect mid-week date spot and would be a great way to finish off your day if you’ve been shopping in Westfield and want to get away from all the hustle and bustle for a far more relaxed meal than you can otherwise find.

A review of Darkhorse in E20's East Village: the perfect grown up date spot

Our meal at Darkhorse was complimentary, but we’ll definitely be back (especially as I have my eye on the Baked Vacherin Mont D’Or to share) 

Stratford’s East Village | Tina We Salute You

A review of new brunch spot in Stratford's East Village, Tina We Salute You
For as long as we’ve lived in Stratford, one of my biggest moans has been that there is no where close by for brunch (yes, I know #firstworldproblems). I’m quite happy to stroll over to the Counter Cafe in Hackney Wick , but now Tina We Salute You has opened up on Olympic Park avenue, I’m happy to have a brunching spot available a little closer to home.

This is the second outpost of Tina, whose original home is over in Dalston. Facing out on a sunny corner towards the Wetlands, inside it’s all very grey walls and exposed lighting, with massive wall murals of Amy Winehouse. Worth nabbing are the giant soft leather armchairs,  which are a) super comfy and b) get the benefit of all the sunlight flooding in through the floor to ceiling windows.

Their menu is pretty limited at the moment but has a solid selection of brunch classics, with a twist or two. I had a bacon, bubble and cheddar butty which is quite possibly the best possible start to a Saturday. Filled with proper thick cut bacon, mustary bubble and cheddar tumbling all over the place, I figure no hangover stands a chance when faced with this. J went for the meatloaf and fried egg which he eloquently described as like a far more delicious sausage and egg mcmuffin. That’s a good thing in his world. Tina also gets bonus points for providing you with water as soon as you sit down, and for very delicious, super creamy flat whites.

It’s great addition to the East Village, which has been pretty barren to all things food and drink for the last couple of years, and we’re looking forward to heading back one evening when they switch from cafe to bar. Cheers to that.

Tina We Salute You, 2 Olympic Park Avenue, E20: £16 for two coffees and two breakfasts