food + drink Aldgate

The Cardinal Bar & Kitchen, Aldgate

cardinal bar and kitchen aldgate eat london
The Cardinal London

BY GRACE REDWOOD

Recently opened restaurant, The Cardinal Bar & Kitchen is located within Hotel Saint, on the bottom floor as you walk through the lobby – but dispel any ideas of it being a continental buffet style venue. Polished decor with sleek wooden tables and elegant light fixtures greet you as you walk in, complemented with bursts of green and botanical flourishes dotted around the room. Alongside cosy moss-green velvet booths offering the perfect environment for both a romantic date night and larger groups looking for an evening of good food.

The menu takes inspiration from around the world – Asian banh mi bites and to Italy, the beef raviolo. We began our evening with a glass of Champagne and the Mezze sharer: three delicious dips served with freshly-baked pittas and crudites: the classic hummus, truffled baba ghanoush and the table favourite, Muhammara – a smoky, spicy and yet somewhat sweet blend of chilli, tomato, olive oil, nuts and pomegranate molasses. The ‘Forever Crispy Wings’ followed, and they certainly lived up to their name – each bite was crunchy, but the meat was still tender, which can be a hard feat to achieve with wings. The Gochujang sauce was flavoursome and we enjoyed mopping it up with every mouthful.

We indulged in the Stracciatella, which has always been one of my favourite starters and this version of the creamy Italian cheese didn’t disappoint. Topped with hazelnut dukkah, garlic croutons, sliced chillies and exquisitely slow roasted tomatoes – flavours that harmonised wonderfully with the cheese. Along with a bottle of Italian Pecorino, as recommended by our wonderful waiter – a dry but crisp and fresh white wine which paired perfectly with our food.

For the main event, we enjoyed the roast chicken with spinach served in a sublime truffle dashi sauce (a delightful explosion of flavour) alongside the decadent bone-in pork chop which came with buttermilk mash and a maple glazed apple. We chose sides of HP glazed carrots in a Romesco sauce and broccoli in a lemon and chilli sauce, bringing strong flavours of their own, so I would recommend thinking ahead about how well everything pairs together when ordering.

The evening finished with two spoons and one particularly delicious basque cheesecake with sparks of cinnamon in every bite – and of course, espresso martinis – the perfect mix of chocolatey and bitterness, but oh so creamy. The service throughout the evening was splendid, which helped to create the warm, friendly and convivial atmosphere here.

Ground floor of Hotel Saint, 9-13 Aldgate High Street EC3N 1AH London
thecardinallondon.com

 

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