- Location: Dane’s Yard Kitchen, 133 High Street, Sugar House Lane, Stratford, London, E15 2RB (nearest tube station is Bow Road)
- Date of Visit: Wednesday 27th February
- Time of Table: 7.15pm
- Deal Bought From: Wowcher
- Deal Price: £22 for Two
- Dinner Companion: Twin sister, Jess
Getting More for your Money?
This dinner deal includes:
- Two Starters
- Two Main Courses
- Two Desserts
- For Two People
What we ate…
- Starter: Confit of Duck Terrine, Onion and Chilli Jam, Raisins, Melba Toast
- Main: Roasted Wick’s Manor Pork Belly, Caramelised Apple and Walnut, Savoy Cabbage
- Side: Chips (not included)
- Dessert: Chocolate Fondant with Honeycomb Ice Cream
- Starter: Grilled Goats Cheese Salad, Thyme Roasted Vegetables, Peppered Honey, Balsamic
- Main: Sea Bream, Onion and Tomato Fondue, White Beans, Vinaigrette
- Side: Chips (not included)
- Dessert: Chocolate Fondant with Honeycomb Ice Cream
What we drank…
- Pistachio Martini (not included)
- Dane’s Raspberry Fizz (not included)
- Mystery Trademark Cocktail (not included)
What did we think?
Having adequately explored both central and west London with a gastro gusto, tonight we were having our first foray nearer to home, in the streets of east London – Bow Road to be precise – with our first Wowcher voucher clutched in our hungry hands. Relatively new to the restaurant scene, we were heading to impressive establishment Dane’s Yard Kitchen. When walking from the tube station, you could easily be mistaken into thinking you have taken a wrong turning – surrounded by roundabouts, dual carriage ways and flyovers, you don’t imagine it is going to be the most picturesque dinner venue, however, once you locate it, you sincerely realise that you couldn’t be more wrong.
The first thing you spot, is an imposing, illuminated, wrought metal work tower, stretching up to the stars, its changing coloured lights boasting. The restaurant is on a lower level to the pavement, and since the entire front wall is made from glass, you look directly in to the slick and modern interior, that is peppered with retro twists, such as slightly mismatched furniture. Red showgirl style lights on this wall blaze the restaurant’s name down on to the pavement – now we just had to work out how to get in. Striding past a Great Dane motif and along a giant red wall, we found the entranceway, and stepped through on to an area of wooden panelling, the glowing tower now right in front of us. A set of large sweeping stone steps led down to the door of the restaurant, but this whole enclosed area, trimmed with trademark red wall, was the largest outdoor patio area I have seen at a dinner destination. The amount of space was impressive and provided so many possibilities. With summer just around the corner, we couldn’t help but comment that this would provide a fantastic enclosed area for a party. The fact that the red wall outlined the minimalist garden zone is so well thought out, as not only does it block any view of the unsightly roads, but it also helps to drown out the sound.
Already more than impressed by the exterior, we were rubbing our hands together with glee as we entered, eagerly anticipating a continuation to the high quality finish of the place. Considering the building used to be a printing ink factory and then a sugar refinery, it has now been brought bang up to date with masses of streamlined steel and revealed metal. Despite the stark nudity of the walls and furniture, the atmosphere was strangely warm, casual and comfortable with a very relaxed vibe. The plain brickwork and mushroom coloured walls were jazzed up with abstract primary coloured art pieces, focused around letters of the alphabet, but other than that, artwork was at a minimum. With no airs and graces, Dane’s Yard Kitchen is definitely catering to be the popular hang-out spot for friends galore, providing space aplenty yet food and drink to tantalize the taste buds.
Since our visit was on a quiet Wednesday night, the place was pretty empty, so for our comfort, we were given a large circular booth at the very back of the restaurant. The large leather brown seats were really squidgy, the silver metal table very roomy for just the two of us. We could spread our belongings out to our hearts content, with none of the normal squashing required.
I was so pleased when I spotted this voucher, as not only was it a bargain, but it was also very encompassing. We were due three courses, and these were from their full price menu, and to be honest, it was rather refreshing to be given a regular menu rather than a special discount one for a change! The choices available were so impressive that we were stumped for a good while deciding what to have. Whilst pondering food, we drove straight into the cocktails – an exotic selection bypassing the classics for some new and interesting combinations, for only £6 a pop. I opted for the Pistachio Martini – a very luridly green concoction that had a great sense of fizz. Tinted with vodka, pistachios and the warmth of vanilla, oddly enough the cocktail tasted like kitsch sweets Refreshers and was oddly moreish despite the stand-offish shade of green. Jess’s drink was more usual in colour – a deep pink with a bobbing raspberry a clear indicator of a safe and sweet flavour.
I kicked off my meal with a confit of duck terrine, served with a swoosh of onion and chilli jam and a scattering of raisins. The melba toast was actually piled on top of the duck, which is different in terms of presentation. The terrine was really meaty yet flaky with a dash of herbs laced within. It had a nice texture and was light to eat. The jam was not overpowering in any way and was great smeared on the duck. The melba toast was light and crunchy, but I would have preferred a bit more to eat with the duck. It was an ideal size for a starter and the attention to detail in the presentation and quality heralded great things to come for the rest of our meal. Jess’s starter also looked fabulous, the huge hunk of grilled goat’s cheese making her eyes light up!
For mains, I had chosen the Wick’s Manor pork belly and when it arrived I was so pleased with my selection! Steeped in a rich dark coloured sauce, the large chunks of pork were perfectly tender but with a dazzlingly disguised crunch of crackling on top. The dish was served with apple, walnut and savoy cabbage, although in reality, this was one cube of apple, balanced on the top of the dish, underneath which hid a couple of leaves of green cabbage. Walnuts were definitely in the majority, swimming in the luxuriously meaty juices, but they added a fantastic bite to the dish, and the taste of the nuts worked very well with the pork. It really was a splendid dish, if a little on the small side. We definitely needed some extras to bulk it up and I was so glad we ordered the chips to share. They were long, crispy yet fluffy and tasted amazing in my pork sauce. I thoroughly enjoyed my pork dish and it was truly divinely delicious.
Dessert was also a winner, although we had to wait an age for it to arrive. The chef had gotten confused so had only prepared one dessert, which was brought out to us, with the second on the way. Since we had ordered chocolate fondant with honeycomb ice cream, Jess couldn’t really wait for my dessert to arrive as hers would spoil, which kind of ruined the flow of the meal slightly. However, once mine arrived, I was thankful to be eating it at all as it was amazing. The honeycomb ice cream scoop was plonked on top of the chocolate fondant, already oozing lovingly onto the sprinkling of pistachio nuts. The ice cream was slashed with sauce inside and was so tasty, the fondant, dark, rich and gorgeous, with beautiful depths of flavour. The texture was also spot on with a sensually soft centre encased with fluffy sponge. Really top notch dessert.
The attention to detail was fantastic at Dane’s – spotting our empty cocktail glasses from across the entire restaurant, the barman left his post. His mission – to tempt us with more alcoholic mixers. After asking him what he would recommend he mentioned a fruity number named after the tower outside that was a bit of a speciality (we didn’t quite catch the name). We ordered one to share just so we could sample it. Labelling it ‘girly’ he hit the nail on the head, as we absolutely loved it. Vodka and pomegranate were the predominant flavours but it was tainted with lime and fizz and it was fabulous. The prices for cocktails here are so very reasonable, that surely it provides an excuse to sample as many as one can muster?
Making a second reservation? Most definitely. The food was simply divine – it was so well prepared and presented, but not only did it look beautiful on the pristine while china, but it also tasted beautiful, full of complementing flavours and textures that made you want to eat until you were blue in the face. Granted, it came up small, but at least it meant we weren’t overstuffed at the end, and the walk back to the station was a comfortable one. Price wise, I am also impressed. As I have already said, cocktails were practically cheap for London prices, but looking at the food prices, they aren’t that unreasonable either for the high quality food you are being given. I believe the most expensive mains were about £16, which is also a price you would pay in many chain restaurants. I was also impressed by the Wowcher deal. We paid £22 initially and then £16 on the night, to cover the cost of our chips and our cocktails. Probably one of our cheapest dinner dates so far, yet also one of the nicest. It was relaxed, fun, trendy, new and young. I was so impressed by all aspects and I would love to return.
The Dinner Dates Opinion:
“I really enjoyed my visit to Dane’s Yard Kitchen. The environment was impressive, large and spacious with a separate bar area so it didn’t matter that there wasn’t much around because you could stay at your table or bar all evening! It was also a very easy journey from the station and being east end was cheaper to get to. The cocktails were lovely, I really enjoyed my options, I liked that they were slightly different to the usual ones offered, but also not too ‘out there’. My starter was lovely, having now sampled a lot of goats cheese salads to start, this one was the best. There was a lot of cheese, and not just salad with it but roasted veg too making it a really luxurious starter. My main was sea bream and it was very nice. The skin was crispy and the sides with the fish went well and it made a good sized main (the yummy chips definitely helped though!). The dessert was just gorgeous, the cake textures were perfect and so chocolately and the ice cream was also divine. Shame that the chef had a mix up otherwise it would have been perfect. Overall, it was a really good quality evening food, atmosphere and service wise and the voucher was a steal! I would definitely like to visit here again.”