The Two Lights neighbourhood restaurant in Shoreditch makes you think of rustic, Scandinavian juice bars when you walk in, but their food menu, which is changed bi-weekly (and the menu is further tweaked daily) in reality is what your grandmother would be making you in the year 2049. I don’t think there are many places in London where you can get punk home cooking like this, and we loved it.
The menu is based on Americana, but not the burgers and fries we all know. Wood pigeon, buttermilk chicken, lashings of ‘sunflower seed gravy’ and a yummy ‘yeasty sourdough’ featured on the menu when we visited. The menu has 6 main meals and several starters, all of which are unconventional but to those of us who adore alternative eating (i.e. eating a variety of different vegetables, meats and fats in order to satisfy all your nutritional needs) this answers all your prayers in one sitting.
We were given a potato bread to start with. Don’t worry, there’s no taste of potato whatsoever, and the bread would be dense if it weren’t for the fact it were straight out of the oven and fresher than a teenager at his first prom, but added to the warm butter, it made for cracking starter. We then tried to sourdough mushroom and egg starter. I’m not much of a fan of egg, but this was pretty good, and the Chantilly mushrooms were clearly not bought at the local supermarket because, well, they tasted of mushrooms.
For mains, I had the buttermilk deep fried chicken with sunflower gravy, jalapeno sauce and mayo. These were large portions my friend, so large that the good people at Two Lights gave me a doggy bag to take home and it’s not often I visit a restaurant and actually praise the portion sizes! The buttermilk chicken was piping hot, it was clearly fresh out of the fryer and the chicken was cooked perfectly. The sauces, which aren’t what you find on the supermarket shelves even at Whole Foods, are completely different tastes to what you might find on any other restaurant menu. It even came with what the Americans call ‘biscuits’ which are like scones but with less of the bicarbonate of soda taste. They were dunked ceremoniously in butter too, and by this time, I’d tried all the sauces on various pieces of chicken and was almost so full I forgot about dessert.
There were only two desserts on the menu tonight. I usually grade the success of a restaurant by whether it has any kind of chocolate item on the dessert menu. With only two items on the dessert menu, you’ll imagine my surprise to find Molten Chocolate Cake with Blackberry ice cream, and then my other most favourite of desserts – figs! The Fig Leaf Grantina and fresh figs were presented in a martini bowl with chipped ice, pieces of meringue and slices of fig, with a fig leaf sauce and fig compote layered beneath. Certainly nothing like anything that I’ve ever had before in any other restaurant, and for a fig lover, it was figgy heaven. The waiter told us that the supplier sources the figs from France and they’re the best they can find.
The staff in Two Lights are super lovely, and very attentive. They bring out tap water as well as having a full list of bar drinks and wines to choose from. The clientele around us were mainly date-nights and those eating before they went out to the clubs of Shoreditch on a Saturday night. The restaurant itself seats about 40 people and caters for all allergies – the kitchen prepares everything fresh.
We had a lovely time and really enjoyed both the atmosphere and the fact that everything on the menu was new to us and therefore a treat to try. No margarita pizza in sight, and the serviettes were real cotton!
For more information, to view menu or to make a reservation visit twolights.restaurant.
Two Lights Restaurant, 28 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, London, E2 8DA | 020 3976 0076