The welcome: On hip ’n’ happening Upper Street, it’s hard to stand out, but 100 Islington manages just fine, buzzing with an invitingly confident air from the get-go. Staff are friendly, helpful, and laid back (though not too much!)
The room: With a glass front that completely opens up and tables that spill onto the pavement on sunny days and balmy evenings, the street side of the restaurant is infused with an airy, urbane feel. The back, a little darker, is more like an intimate cocktail bar, with some sweet decorative touches, like a fish tank made out of a television set that we recognise from the ‘90s.
The food: Though it’s labelled pan-Asian, which has become a slightly tired concept since the glory days of E&O, this fare – equal parts Asian and European – is anything but.
It’s a big menu from Ottolenghi's NOPI chef Francis Puyat, but it’s evenly inventive and worked to perfection throughout. Every single plate tasted like it must be the star dish; despite ordering seven dishes between two (two to three sharing plates per person is probably about right), each had its own completely distinct, delightfully surprising and achingly delicious flavours.
It’s hard to miss out any of the dishes we tried, but particularly spectacular was the rainbow trout, with smoked pineapple and shrimp, which tasted startlingly original. As were the toasted hazelnuts on the burnt eggplant, apple and coconut salad. The courgette and halloumi fritters with preserved lemon yoghurt melt in the mouth and are crunchy on the outside – in other words, perfect.
The cocktail menu is also refreshingly inventive, with a series of twists on classics like the No Passport Required, which riffs on a piña colada, adding ginger and home-beaked pineapple puree, or The Decider – a mojito plus pear liqueur.
Would we go again? Hell yes, with all our friends to help; after all, we haven’t even made it a third of the way through the menu yet.
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|100 Islington restaurant review
|100 Islington, 270 Upper Street, Islington , London , N1 2UQ | MAP
24 Jun 16 – 07 Jul 17, 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM
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