Allegra Restaurant & Bar at The Stratford review: East London’s best kept secret


On the seventh floor of The Stratford hotel in east London, a stone’s throw from the Olympic Stadium, Zaha Hadid’s stunning shagreen swimming pool and the bright lights of Westfields shopping center, is Allegra, perhaps the secret best kept in east London. Here, a culinary genius is quietly at work to create refined and joyful flavors, in an elegant and friendly restaurant. That genius is Irish chef Patrick Powell, alumnus of Chiltern Firehouse, Wild Honey and The Writer of Dublin. Its modern European menu, influenced by local and organic produce, is truly a hidden wonder.

To reach Allegra, you climb into an elevator that is hidden as far as the eye can see when you enter the hotel lobby. Doors open to a glamorous restaurant, with perfectly tuned music, plants, and a romantic, minimalist stone bar. Outside you will find a rustic grill and a fire pit on the restaurant terrace.

We start with a welcome cocktail, a refreshing concoction of pale amber campari in a delicate little tumbler, accompanied by fantastic staccato snacks – a pistachio cabbage stuffed with a luxuriously creamy chicken liver parfait with tangy cranberries and oozing. The mini black pudding muffins with pickled jalapeño – the chef’s version of a McMuffin – are wickedly playful. It’s the kind of fare that makes you fall in love with food.

The true seal of approval

It’s asparagus and crab season, and for my entree, I dutifully nod. The perfectly toasted green spears shine with emerald, enhanced with notes of ginger and pistachio; the crab is fresh and delicious. Why choose between presentation and taste, when both can be sublime? Barbecued Cornish Mackerel is a master class so you never have to compromise. Stuffed with a sofrita of candied onions, garlic, tomato and saffron, its tail is delicately placed on a basin of perfect bouillabaisse. It’s a happy union of rich, meaty fish, crispy croutons and greedy aioli.

Grass-fed rib eye steak for the main course, which is reluctant to share, is a bold and festive comfort food. The ruby ​​red flesh is supplied by Txuleta, which specializes in 100% grass-fed ex-dairy beef. Old cows might not scream sophistication, but the higher fat content gives the steaks incredible flavor and texture. It is served with roasted bone marrow, tomatoes cooked with beef fat and glorious potatoes with herbs. It is apparently effortless and exquisite, filling and sincere.

A slight pause, then for the last movement of the evening symphony; a rich, intensely dense chocolate pie patty, offset by the comforting bases of salt and milk ice cream – much like a sophisticated mini-milk. It’s not always easy to please a chocolate lover who may have eaten more chocolate pies than hot dinners, but this one brings to his lips the involuntary smile that is a true seal of approval.

Allegra Restaurant & Bar at Stratford

A class act

The Stratford itself is located on the first six floors of the building, a 145-room designer hotel by the Scandinavian designer duo behind Noma and developer Harry Handelsman (the man behind the restoration of the St Pancras Hotel and the Barracks firefighters in fashion from Marylebone to Chiltern). It’s a cool Scandi masterpiece, fusing sleek pieces of modern and minimalist furniture into a classic old-fashioned hotel backdrop.

We stayed in the Manhattan studio, which is an impressive 65 square meters of floor to ceiling windows and sweeping views – although the blinds are down, and I half wonder if that’s to cover the view of the railroad line. and the mall (which I actually find quite nice). The bathroom is sleek in cool white stone, with its huge freestanding tub which is wonderful for a bath but the hot water could have been much hotter.

Allegra and The Stratford are a class act; both confident and glamorous in her grown-up, bustling east London home. Opt for sumptuous cuisine and a dream setting, spend the night in the sumptuous hotel and enjoy the vitality of the surroundings. Well worth a trip.

Allegra Restaurant & Bar, The Stratford, 20 International Way, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20 1FD;

The Stratford Hotel in East London

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