Rightly so, as Patrick Powell is a brilliantly creative chef whose cooking is exhilaratingly original and beautifully crafted. And, yes, it is worth venturing to what seems like a less than alluring E20 postcode. Harry Handelsmann, creator of Chiltern Firehouse where Powell was previously head chef, has canny form for the unlikely areas going up in the world. The V&A East will have a new museum here, Sadler’s Wells East will open a theatre space and a hip-hop academy, the BBC will have a new state-of-the-art music studio and UAL's London College of Fashion is moving in, creating a new campus for teaching and innovation in areas including robotics, smart cities, conservation and culture. Handelsmann is also generous in sharing his private art collection with his dining public at The Stratford.
What makes Patrick Powell such a chef’s chef is that he wears his classical training lightly yet the balance, finesse and confidence of impeccably crafted dishes shines through. A daring sharing main dish of wild turbot braised in sake with the added umami nuance of congee (Asian ultra-savoury porridge), comes with a cheeky little bowl of crisp chicken-skin shards and one of cashews to scatter as a finishing flourish. This is one of the most thrillingly original combinations. Do order at least a double portion of divine, silky chicken liver parfait filled pistachio choux buns with candied kumquats to snack on. Among starters a Sakura tomato (a fragrant, rare Japanese variety) tart with wondrously fine, melt-in-the-mouth pastry confirms that there is a genius pastry chef, Hannah Catley, who has also joined from Chiltern Firehouse, and whose name may be familiar from Bake Off: The Professionals.
As all the best restaurants do now, Allegra, named after owner Harry’s daughter, has its own farm ensuring the produce is fabulous, exemplified by the fresh and pickled crudités offered at the start of the meal and wonderful vegetarian dishes including roast and pickled carrot salad, cultured yoghurt, puffed grains followed by pain perdu confit egg, wild mushrooms and pickled celeriac.
Desserts give Hannah Catley another opportunity to flaunt her original verve. Confit apple mille-feuille with salted caramel is ravishing.
Naturally, there's a superb wine list and a walk-in glass wine room for guests who wish to have a detailed embibing recce before choosing with the sommelier. The wine room and restaurant open onto the striking seventh-floor sky garden with wildflower meadow, water features and cedarwood cantilevered roof.
At lunchtime main dishes are all under £20, making this a must seek out destination for dedicated followers of the latest gastronomy. Patrick Powell at Allegra at The Stratford is definitely one to watch and likely to win some prestigious accolades.
|What||Review: Allegra at The Stratford|
|Where||Allegra at Stratford London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 International Way, Stratford, E20 1FD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Stratford (underground)|
02 Nov 19 – 02 Sep 20, Open every day for lunch and dinner
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|