Saturday 14 February 2015

Toast E.D., Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, South London

At Toast E.D., it's all about the food and the wine. The decor is stripped back to bare brick walls and functional furniture. On a Friday and Saturday evening, the dining rooms are usually overflowing, but you might get a seat at the bar.  Although the quirky and unusual combinations on the daily changing menu may not look very appealing, give it a go and you will probably be pleasantly surprised. The chatty and knowledgeable serving staff advise you'll need two or three dishes (about £4-£18 apiece). Duck hearts with polenta and watercress is full of flavour, while the lamb shoulder with lentils and yoghurt is a lovely dish. Lamb, anchovies and cabbage also make for a delicious combination in the hands of the Toast E.D. chefs, but the partridge and butternut squash is less exciting. Moreover, the braised red cabbage (£5) with pumpkin butter is a bit too sweet. There is a lengthy and imaginative wine list that caters to most tastes and wallets, but the house wines are unusually good. The smooth  Syrah/Grenache 2013, Est├ęzargues, Cotes du Rhone, is great value at £14.55 for 750ml or £9.70 for 500ml. You'll enjoy being Toasted E.D. 8/10