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food, travel, food culture

The Adam and Eve, E9 – Cornwall Project in the house

If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter (as you should, as I rarely get to post anything on the blog these days), you’ll know already about my love for The Adam and Eve. But even then, I thought it worth it to spend a few lines to share with my regular and casual readers a “hidden gem” in the truest sense – I find the term is quite often liberally used in the food press, as in, anything that’s not in obvious areas of Zone 1 is considered “hidden”. The kitchen takeover by The Cornwall Project has brought the Adam & Eve some press and social media buzz, yet it is still relatively little known outside the foodie circles – that are also quick to move to the next place once they have Instagrammed the hell out of it. More space for me though, so not complaining!

adam and eve homerton

Ambience and food from the Adam and Eve – quite the contrast, especially for the more innovative dishes (shown here: a beetroot and quail egg soup)

The Adam and Eve is a pub on Homerton High Street, and believe when I say, for all my being desensitised to the rough nature of E9, it is not the prettiest nor quaintest street in London (and some would say not the safest either, based on crime stats). And a very old neighbourhood pub it is – Edwardian, I am told – as the terracotta front, magnificent metal ceilings and dark wooden fittings  show. It feels well-worn, flaking in places and altogether lovely, without any of that “scrubbed cleaned and deodorised” feel of some places that rebranded themselves by another much overused moniker – “gastropub”. In fact I chuckle at the thought of someone pitching to investors “a gastropub in Homerton”…no, not quite something I can imagine.

adam and eve homerton review 4

 

The football is still on on an average night at the Adam and Eve, and the old Eastenders regulars are still sipping their pints. Sure enough, this is E9 and there are beards and skinny jeans – well in fact I am one of them, only 10 minutes away from my new Hackney Wick home – but overall it still feels like very much a part of its surroundings, not some spaceship landed straight from HipsterPlanet. Which is nice as it doesn’t make me feel guilty of “gentryfying” my own neighbourhood. Yet, I won’t play naive: the reason why I back here again and again is the fact that the food is everything but your average dodgy pub food, that I probably wouldn’t touch – but it’s not pretentious either.

Scotch egg, pork scratchings, burger and chips for a tenner – pub classics are all there waiting for me as a no-fuss, no-stress order after a long day at work when I’m all “hell no I don’t want to cook” (well, if I get there in time, at least – food has a tendency to sell out after 8.30 PM). But they’re all on another league compared to said dodgy pub food. I won’t try to describe the scotch egg – it won some awards apparently, if you’re into this kind of things. I just say go order it.

adam and eve sunday roast

And also, on the kitchen blackboard menu, a small but consistently good roster of meat and veggie mains, ranging from traditional but forgotten (aged mutton chops) to slightly more unusual (“pork ribeye with chard and barley”). I have eaten there once a week at least for the past three months, and I have never anything less than loved it – quality of the food, presentation and service all as good as they can get. There is a reason why we now have this silly joke about the Adam & Even being “the A&E” (see what we did there) and it has a lot to do with the mysterious restorative power of a proper scotch egg for a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

So what’s the secret? First, the fresh, seasonal produce that has made The Cornwall Project what the likes of Time Out would call “cult following”

The Cornwall Project, a collaboration between Cornish suppliers and London chefs. Up until now he’s been delivering the best meat, fish and veg to places like Pitt Cue, The Clove Club, Lyles, Pollen St Street Social and The Ledbury. The same produce will make its way to Homerton. (Hot Dinners)

Great ingredients are a good first step for sure – but sustainable, free-range, organic etc.  risk to stay an exercise in “politically correct” unless they are made delicious, and that definitely happens here. I love passing by the kitchen while going to my table and peeking at the crew busy by the stove, led by chef Micheal Harrison. The place is busy and it’s hard work but you can tell they genuinely love feeding us; recently, the chef himself pointed me to an off menu special of mutton steak and came to the table to show me the slab he’d cook for us with an infectious enthusiasm I haven’t seen or shared not even when they bring you the biggest lobster in some fancy Chinese seafood place (I know. I get enthusiastic about a slab of raw meat. Make of it what you will). There is also a mean Sunday roast, that suitable impressed a number of out-of-town visitors we brought there, and simple but scrumptious puddings for when I manage to leave some belly space.

adam eve food

Puddings at the Adam and Eve – always delicious, no wonder as all the dairy comes fresh from Cornwall

Food prices are very reasonable, with most mains around the £12 mark and Sunday roast at £15 with all the trimmings. The fact that locals still mingle with us newcomers is a testament to the fact that drinks are cheap and good, with a few good London brews (Meantime, Camden Brewery etc.). This being 2015 in E9, of course there are vegetarian options – actually, “non sad vegetarian options” even in these winter months.

I feel somehow a stereotype saying so, but I am a bit in love with the Adam and Eve and so happy to have it walking distance from my place – the bf and I were feeling a bit bereft thinking of leaving behind our next door favourite 8 Hoxton Square and the likes of Lyles and The Clove Club. But we are smitten with the modest charms of E9 and definitely the A&E is becoming an extension of our (still unfurnished) new living room. I hope you will pay a visit soon.

P.S. The Cornwall Project is now also also supplying the Three Crowns in Stoke Newington, which I plan to visit very very soon…

Square Meal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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