Claiming to be London’s most eco-friendly restaurant, a pioneering, if obscurely located, Shoreditch brasserie with a nice atmosphere and pleasant, informed service; on our visit, though, the cooking was in undoubted need of tightening up.

The team behind Acorn House, and now this Shoreditch newcomer, have a mission, and a laudable one too. They aim to demonstrate that restaurants don’t have to be the energy guzzling monsters too many of them are (and also that eco-sensitivity is not inimical to creating restaurants which will keep the punters coming back).

Either they’re mad, or they’re on to something. Tending to support the former view, the place was empty on our Monday lunchtime visit. Tending to support the latter, it had apparently been full for much of the weekend. Either way, we learnt on our visit that a site for venture number three has already been identified.

In a grungy bit of Shoreditch, it must be credit to the power of the press (though early reviews have been mixed) that this place ever has any customers at all. The idea of surfing the Zeitgeist obviously appeals, in this part of town at least.

So what do these surfers find? A harmonious modern bistro, nicely lit and comfortable, with linen napkins but no tablecloths. A canal-view too, of sorts. A friendly place, where everyone is very pleased to be involved in creating a better world. It’s even, à la Fifteen, something of a training-restaurant too.

With all these other virtues, it would perhaps be a surprise if the food were particularly remarkable, and we would have to record that ours was not. Nothing was unpleasant, but many dishes had a slight feeling of something missing. Bread was unremarkable. Starters of soups and antipasti didn’t quite make the grade. A risotto wasn’t quite right, and a dish of lamb and roast potatoes lacked taste. Towards the end, however, things picked up. A foodie guest raved about the ice cream, and the chocolate tart with it really did melt (in the very best way), and the espresso was excellent.

This is, we suspect, a place which really shines at brunch, in which, we understand, they are already doing very good business.

Recent News from Harden's

Share this article: