photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
The idea of being camouflaged in London is a sometimes irresistible one. There are times when you just want to blend in. Invisible to all but a select minority (friends, family, dogs) rather than an all-encompassing majority (exes, ex-bosses, existential crises). A restaurant that hides in plain sight is also appealing, especially somewhere like Stoke Newington Church Street. And seasonal Italian place, Rubedo manages to do just that.
The first time we went to Rubedo, we realised we’d walked past it approximately fifty thousand times before. Think of that house in Harry Potter that’s invisible to muggle residents. Admittedly, this doesn’t say much about our observational skills. But it says a lot about the type of place Rubedo is.
This is an understated restaurant. It serves around eleven plates of simple Italian-ish food, five evenings a week. The chalkboard menu reads pork chop, beans, and salsa, but it feels like so much more. That’s because Rubedo feels distinctly un-London. You’ll sit at a wooden table with a glass of Puglian red and a bit of prosciutto covered gnocco fritto, and, basically, not think about anything. Close your eyes whilst eating a plate of pollock, cod’s roe, and cimi de rape and you may well smell the sea. Open them and you’ll see the Whole Foods across the road. It’s a bit Sicilian here. But it’s still Stoke Newington. That said you can walk two minutes down the road and be in London’s oldest (and finest) Wetherspoons, wondering if what just happened was a very delicious dream. This has not not happened to us.
On paper, restaurants like Rubedo can appear ten a penny. Living room sized, shelves of empty wine bottles, candles, burrata. This is what every student house in Rome is like for all we know. But few restaurants get it spot on. Too many overstate being understated. You’re going to get dreamy, oily, homemade focaccia here. But it isn’t served alongside a bowl of butter with an MA in ponce. You’re going to get a simple menu. But it isn’t full of one ingredient riddles. You’re going to get an evening hidden away from the rest of London. But it’s somewhere you want to be secluded with the people you like most. Because, sometimes, that’s just what you need.
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photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
Gnocco Fritto And Prosciutto Crudo
This is wine food. Bready, hammy, delicious, wine food.
Chickpea Pancake And Stracchino
This, again, is excellent drinking food. Which is the best kind of food, isn’t it? A nutty pancake with a load of cheese on top.
Burrata, Cicorino Torta
There’s almost always a burrata dish on here. It’s paired with salad or vegetables. It’s usually a safe bet.
Chicory, Pear, Walnut, Gorgonzola
A lovely, flirty little salad. The kind of thing you’d ‘throw together’ for guests after spending seven hours sourcing the ingredients and grimacing at the price of chicory at the greengrocer.
There’s always one or the other on. We tend to prefer the pasta.
Pollock, Cime Di Rape, Cod’s Roe
“It’s just so simple, and so delicious”. You can hear your mum saying it, can’t you?
Pork Chop, Beans, Spinach, Salsa Rossa
This plate of food should be under the dictionary definition of dinner.
To be honest, we’re usually a bottle deep by this point. And everything is generally fantastic.
Chocolate Mousse and Olive Oil
See above, but with chocolate.