270 Upper Street , London , N1 2UQ
You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking Islington’s Upper Street didn’t need another addition to their already thriving selection of restaurants and bars, however, new residents 100 Islington Bar & Restaurant are set to prove otherwise. The Asian and Middle Eastern infused restaurant chain are steadily making their mark in N1 following on from the success of their Hoxton branch.
Led by executive chef Francis “Ace” Puyat, previously at Ottolenghi’s NOPI, 100 Restaurants delivers an inventive but simple food concept for mini sharing dishes inspired by Asian flavours and spices.
With a large retracting glass front window, modern metallic embellishments and muted colour scheme the understated decor fits in perfectly amongst the cool Islington vibe. The spacious layout sees a bar area in the front, opening up to the restaurant – a swanky slightly more intimate interior with velvet booths and dim lights reminiscent of an upscale vintage parlour. The statement well-stocked bar, built in the middle of the restaurant reflects the noteworthy drinks menu of cocktails, champagne and fine wine to gourmet coffees and fresh pressed juices.
Skimming through the bold and complex menu, it reads as a “what’s what” in the finest of asian fusion cuisine with eye-catching foods such as Braised octopus and Rainbow trout. There’s the Lunch and a Sunday Lunch with staple roast pieces and a touch of wasabi. We can’t forget the mouthwatering champagne and cocktail ‘Tipples’ selection – In-house concoctions such as the Silent Pool Martini – gin, elderflower cassis and lemonade to classics, martini and Pina colada. It gets better with the impressive dinner menu, 23 plates of glorious sounding dishes including chargrilled lamb belly, chili fried rice with chilli prawn sambal and desserts such as Mango, lemongrass and lime panna cotta. Hungry yet?
We stopped by to sample the unlimited Aperol spritz brunch, opting for the ‘Big Breakfast’. Served in a large beautifully presented plate, the “breakfast” consisted of familiar brunch favourites, fried eggs, bacon with an introduction of the insanely juicy sesame crusted pork belly, buttered portobello mushrooms, sweet and crisp spring onion hash browns and a side of homemade jalapeno salsa. For a nonchalant brunch, our Big breakfast was quite the elaborate dish, a star meal packed with flavour with the Asian twist setting it far apart from many brunches on the scene. Also on the brunch menu is Koroke – Korean cheese croquette served with bacon, poached eggs and sweet chili sauce and the Superfood breakfast – a vegetarian option of the Big Breakfast including power grain quinoa, sweet potato and mix seeds.
Must try – If you’re in a rush try their £5 lunch boxes and Lunch Happy hour discounted cocktails, negroni, prosecco and Aperol Spritz for only £4.75.
Verdict – 100 Restaurant offers high end cuisine with affordable prices. It’s a laid back, cool space for a contemporary twist on Asian cuisine. All dishes are also incidentally gluten free.
Price – A meal for two with drinks from about £70, Sharing menu from £30 per person based on 2 people.