Located on Queensbridge Road – perched between Dalston and Haggerston - I lived just a stone’s throw from The Richmond for the best part of five years, but it wasn’t until recently I’d actually ventured in to try it out for myself. Promising a fresh range of seafood, quality meats, delicious cocktails and London’s first raw seafood bar, The Richmond made some big changes over the last year or so, solidifying it as one of East London’s most noteworthy hidden gems.
Having undergone a substantial renovation in 2015, The Richmond is a lot more impressive inside than the exteriors might suggest. Once you're in, the Victorian-esque floor, big windows and dainty wooden furniture create a fresh dining ambience, isolated from the bustle of a busy Queensbridge Road. The majority of the space is used as a restaurant, with a small bar area at the back of the room primed for cocktails. On speaking to the manager, he mentioned there are plans to extend the bar and walk-in offering, with a view to attracting more drinks-only clientèle - so look out for that. We visited on a Sunday, early afternoon – and the atmosphere was relaxed, light, and though the food standard is high here, completely unpretentious. A welcomed change from the often-stuffy Dalston scene.
The Food and Drink
The food really steals the show at The Richmond. On top of their raw seafood bar, the menu offers a range of delicious plates, using locally-sourced, fresh ingredients for every dish. They have a real focus on thoughtful flavour combinations and seasonal menus; and it certainly pays off. I am not a fussy eater in any way, shape or form – but have never really been on-board with oysters. But, in for a penny and all that, I opted for the Wild Blackwater oyster, which was actually really flavoursome, meaty and dare I say it, moreish. Our waiter had a really good grasp of the different textures and tastes, so if you’re a bit of a novice like I am, definitely hit them up for suggestions beforehand.
For starters I went for the Frito Misto (£9) – a bold red mullet, monksbeard and fennel dish, packed with delicious notes. After that, the Herdwick Lamb, artichoke, borlotti bean and green sauce (£18); a perfectly pink dish with an interesting mix of tastes, then the beautifully-presented white chocolate mousse (£7) to finish. Every dish was as aesthetically pleasing as it was delicious, with real depth of flavour too. The team in the kitchen here put so much effort into the menu, and it certainly didn’t go unnoticed. Drinks-wise, the Richmond also has a heady selection of cocktails to enjoy, plus paired wines and spirits. We went for a few boozy cocktails to start, and then let the waiter suggest two glasses of wine to go with our mains - which unsurprisingly, were spot on.
It’s really hard to believe more people aren’t shouting about this understated foodie haven in Dalston – it’s head and shoulders above any other similar offerings in the area, and coupled with the knowledgeable staff and varied drinks menu, The Richmond is well worth discovering if you're in search of London's best off-kilter places to eat.