Recently renovated, The Three Crowns in Stoke Newington has a prime corner location and huge windows, providing not only a ridiculous amount of natural light but maximum people-watching opportunities. It is also starting to make ripples in the foodie world with news of their excellent Sunday roast spreading fast. We headed over to check out their weekday menu and try some seasonal summer dishes.
Chatting food with head chef Ousmane Gaye was illuminating; it turns out he has not only worked at, but opened, many of my favourite restaurants over the years. His extensive CV includes 80s celebrity playground Asia de Cuba, Borough's Roast, Jacob Kenedy's NOLA-in-Islington pub Plaquemine Lock and a stint at the Holborn Dining Room with king of pies Calum Franklin. (Did I mention there is a pie on the specials menu that changes weekly?)
I started with the tomato salad, ajo blanco, oregano and balsamic vinegar, scattered with pea shoots and split with a herb oil. This was as tasty and refreshing as it was pretty. Ajo blanco translates as 'white garlic' but here the garlic has been added with a light touch, keeping the tomatoes the focus of the dish but adding a welcome brightness and complexity. I would definitely order this again.
The hot smoked salmon and shrimp fishcake is a generous portion (see the lemon in the picture above for scale) with a thin, crunchy panko coating, served with sautéed broccoli and tartare sauce. I would have perhaps liked a little more variety of texture in the filling but, as with all of Ousmane's food, the flavour was bang on and delicious. I had ordered the chips with parmesan and truffle oil before I saw the size of the fishcake, but was happy with my choice; light and crispy, they arrived piled high and melded together with melted parmesan like a chip version of a croquembouche.
The classic lemon tart for dessert was beautifully set, full of flavour, zingy enough to get your salivary glands going (vital for a good lemon tart) and served with a light dusting of icing sugar and simple crème fraîche to further balance the sweetness.
I now need to go back for both the roast and a pie, so was happy to bag a loyalty card - holders save 10% off both food and drink. Oh, and when summer decides to make a comeback, The Three Crowns also has air conditioning.
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Deputy Editor, Chatting Food London: Amanda David
Amanda David is a freelance food writer specialising in London’s restaurants, bars, exhibitions and events. She is the Events Editor and a contributing writer for London Cheapo and a regular contributor to Palate Magazine.
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