In an effort to stay relevant and not fade away from the Brisbane dining scene, I figured I needed to visit more fresh and newly established venues. London Fields opened up not too long ago, ironically near where I used to live. Well, I no longer live there so it took a bit of a journey to get there but that's something we expect after moving out from the inner city ring. I had heard some positive feedback about London Fields and was curious to make my own assessment.
We visited last Friday night without a booking. There were a few functions going on (birthday? Christmas parties?) but we were able to find a spot to sit without dramas. I don't think there's too much in the way of actual dining tables but we scored a low tabletop with stools surrounding. For finger food this is fine but you would definitely want a proper table if you had something that required knife and fork.
London Fields has a bit of an obscure location away from the central hustle and bustle of West End. We caught a cab there and it was literally dark, dark, dark, residential and then boom... a sliver of light indicating a restaurant. I would say it was reasonably full but not packed for a Friday night. People wouldn't just stroll in; you would need to plan to go there to end up there.
The layout is quite welcoming with some covered outdoor space and a bar and more seats inside. It was smaller than I gathered from the exterior of the building.
Mayfair Affair - Belvedere vodka, grapefruit, honey, yellow Chartreuse, basil, Chandon, soda
Being a Friday night, we dived right into the drinks menu. The boys ordered beer and Jenny and I chose a cocktail jug 'Mayfair Affair' to share. This arrived in a teapot that looked petite but was enough to get us through the night. I thought this drink had savoury herb notes that I liked, but Jenny disagreed and found only to be a strong honey flavour that she liked. I guess it doesn't matter as long as at the end of the day, we liked what we thought we tasted.
For food we chose an array of light meals to share. In hindsight they perhaps weren't the most shareable options (how does a burger get split between 4 people?) but we managed reasonably well. The food was brought out almost all at once after we ordered and it was a challenge fitting things on the tiny table. Luckily with enough shuffling and rotating, we managed to Tetris each plate into place.
Mussels with white wine, tomato, nduja and chili
The mussels had a decent amount of spiciness but Jenny and I couldn't get over how under-seasoned the whole dish was. Just a pinch more salt would have made a world of difference. We glanced around for salt shakers but there were none in sight so we made do without. Jenny also commented at how small the mussels were. Each one came in a shell but somehow managed to be smaller than fingernail size.
Roast beetroot, marinated goats cheese and Swiss chard
We chose the beetroot, goats cheese and chard salad because this featured on the bar menu and on the full menu so it caught our eye twice. Mork thought this was too acidic. I agreed but found the goats cheese to provide a nice balance. I think I'm guilty of picking out all the goats cheese because that's what made the salad tasty. The others complained that the rest of the salad was boring without the goats cheese. Sorry guys...
Wagyu beef burger with tomato, lettuce and shoestring fries
Jaws inhaled the burger before the rest of us got a taste. His feedback was that it wasn't very good but I'm not sure if that was just to justify not saving us any. I tried some of the chips and they were fine... kinda like freshly cooked Maccas fries (which I personally love but aren't exactly hard to get).
Ploughman's plate - cheddar, parfait, leg ham, mustard, pickles, chutney and bread
Our final item of food was the ploughman's plate, which was my choice. Jenny found this to be boring and I guess at some level it is 'only' meat and cheese but I found it to be the most satisfying option and the easiest to be shared among our group. Aside from cured meats and cheese, the plate also comprised of pickles, pickled garlic, pate, grain mustard and breads and crackers.
We had an overall disappointing impression of food at London Fields. If it's primarily a drinks establishment, I praise them on a thorough drinks menu, nice looking bar and overall cool atmosphere (industrial but all white so it seems somewhat classy). However if they're trying to dip into the gourmet food market of Brisbane, there's a lot of hefty competition out there and what we ordered just didn't cut it.