Monday, 30 July 2012

Restaurant review: Homa, Stoke Newington

Church Street in Stoke Newington is home to every kind of food you could want to eat; whether you want a greasy spoon or a Mexican where the cocktails have you numb before the starters even arrive. In the year that I have lived here I have enjoyed many breakfasts, lunches and dinners along this road, but in reality I have barely scratched the surface. Homa resides in a striking, grand building half way along, sitting back from the pavement and the daily buggy rally that takes place. While the rest of the street has a mostly humble, family-run appearance, Homa has a polished, architecturally designed front, which initially I took for arrogance over quality, and avoided paying a visit. It was only last sunday that I finally got round to walking up the steps and through the door. 

The architects did a grand job; the inside is airy and light from large windows and beautiful hanging lights. Tables were spaced fairly to give a sense of privacy, but also gave the place a real bustle when filled. We were quickly allocated a place to sit and felt welcomed, and in my case, surprised that my initial assumptions might well have been wrong. 
The menu was both unique and enticing, and immediately noticeable was the promise of good food, and the price that would create a massive disappointment if it failed to live up. Booze with breakfast seemed apt for the setting, so we both opted for champagne with our juice and flat white, with Katie going for the muffins and eggs royale whilst I opted for the bacon and poached eggs with pea and mint cake. 

Once we ordered the drinks arrived quickly, and we enjoyed the ambience of sitting in a lovely space with the sun shining through the window, and the eager expectation of what was to come. The champagne was good, as was the coffee, but both were well exhausted and there was still no sign of the food. We couldn’t quite work it out, it wasn’t full and there were seemingly plenty of staff around, none of whom came to explain a delay. This wait proved to be the only slight downside of the morning, but having worked in these kinds of environments, I fully understand that these things happen. And like I said, it was a lovely place to sit, and so a ten or so extra minutes didn’t cause an upset.

Then the food arrived and everything was forgotten. I’m a huge fan of an over the top breakfast, one that sprawls onto two or even three plates and leaves you groaning. If it includes chips all the better. But this was a totally different class of breakfast; clean, elegant and dainty, leaving us simultaneously ‘wow’ing. The taste matched; my strong cured bacon balanced with the mellow, herby croquette and the rich, runny yolk. Despite mine being lovely, I also had food envy of Katie’s choice. A forked stack of her royale was a joy, perfectly brought together by a smooth and zingy hollandaise. 

We scraped every last bit off our plates, and had a touch of disappointment that it was over. But a stacked pile would have been out of place, and they have it bang on. The bustle had thinned by the time we finished, and with this the service was a breeze. I left eating my words, and wishing that I hadn’t left it this long before giving it a try. I will still crave a full english, but for a special occasion I will be straight back. I will also be back for dinner, which offers a casual pizza oven or more refined selection. Judging by breakfast, I’m sure it’ll be incredible.  

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