Saturday, 26 April 2008
316 Queensbridge Road
London E8 3NH
Tel: 020 7249 6727
Find LMNT on Google Maps.
LMNT (pron. element) is a beautiful anachronism. One of my dining companions remarked upon approaching the establishment, "I didn't know there was a museum around here."
And he should be forgiven his comment - this gastropub looks like no other I have seen - with its exterior and interior bedecked with memorabilia from the time of the Pharaohs. They claim to have "The most eccentric dining room . . . " And they do, with a sphinx here, a ra there, and hieroglyphics everywhere.
I have been here three times in the last month or so and every time I find it so refreshing to step into a London restaurant that is not self-conscious and self-important. In fact, it seems as if LMNT enjoys poking fun at itself, saying, "Look at me. I like to enjoy myself. I am not very serious."
The food, however, is seriously good. And at £9.95 for a main and £3.95 for starters (£7.95 and £2.95 at lunch time) this place is a also serious bargain.
It all starts with a creamy soft hummus served with fresh bread, compliments of the chef.
The quest for good quality is evident in the wine list as well as in their choice of draught beer - which is in my opinion the best lager ever - the Czech Budweiser, Budvar. The only place on the menu that follows the Egyptian theme is the cocktail menu. I am not normally a cocktail drinker but after watching the barperson meticulously concoct what I later found out was a Bleeding Cleopatra, I knew I needed to try one. I highly recommend this delicious and fruity vodka-based drink.
You could easily make a meal by choosing three or four different starters. The puy lentil and feta cheese salad is just perfection in its pairing of two simple and subtle savoury ingredients. The same could be said for their sardines on a bed of caramelised parsnips. They then take perfection to another level altogether with their holy trinity of a field mushroom, wilted spinach and poached egg.
And it continues with the main dishes. The confit of duck is amazing in its combination of crispy skin, fat and soft tender meat. The only thing that was not up to these high standards was the carrot and apple mash that accompanies the duck. It was generally agreed at our table that this accompaniment was watery and lacked flavour. I''ll forgive them this small sin - after all, the chefs seem to be perfectionists and I am sure will correct this in the future.
The pork belly is so delicious that I could seriously consider giving up all other meat for LMNT's version of this dish.
LMNT is a rising star on the East End food scene. LMNT II was recently opened in Clerkenwell and I wouldn't be surprised if we see more activity from these guys in the future.
OPEN Mon-Sat 12 noon - 11pm
Sunday 12 noon - 10.30pm