Sunday 27 April 2014

Toast E.D., Lordship Lane, south London

A stripped-back restaurant and shrine to wine, Toast E.D. puts flavour ahead of comfort. Although it is competing with a dozen or so eateries on East Dulwich's main drag, this new arrival seems to have no trouble filling its tightly-packed tables on a Saturday evening. As the prices are fairly high for south London, Toast E.D.'s popularity reflects the quality of its fare. The menu offers a mix of larger and smaller dishes, but none of them (even the £21 rump steak) is quite big enough to be a main course. Served rare, with a couple of fondant potatoes and glazed shallots in a rich gravy, the steak is delicious. There is enough meat, but the dish is short of carbs. The monk fish (£16), served with artichokes and in prawn broth, is cooked precisely. But the meaty flesh of this fish can be a little rubbery for some tastes. Among the smallish dishes, the moreish seranno ham, which comes with tasty bread and butter, is good value for £5. Another good dish is the asparagus (five spears for about £7.50), which is blanketed in parmesan cheese and enlivened by a sweetish dressing.

Toast E.D.'s wine list is very, very extensive - you could take an hour reviewing it and the shelves are lined with bottles. But you might find the acceptable house red good value at 500ml for just £8.60. The house white is a bit more pricey at £11.60 for 500ml. Toast E.D.'s service is very professional and helpful - the polished, young waiting staff seem to fly round the dining room, but they make time to answers questions thoroughly. 8/10