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Japanese cuisine meets Italian in a contemporary minimalist space: perfect for the discerning East London foodie.
56 Dalston Lane
When there’s a latest addition to Dalston’s oh-so-cool restaurant roster, there’s always a worry that something seriously cool will get lost in a sea of exposed brick and try-hard niches. Luckily, Angelina tows the line between East London, Italy and Japan incredibly well, making for a dining experience that’ll impress a date, parents, or pretty much anyone else you can convince to come.
Six months young, Angelina was born from an uncanny unity between Italian and Japanese cuisine; a series of parallels that intially have you laughing and shaking your head, but given more thought are the uncanny foundations on which Angelina London is built. Think about it: carpaccio and sushi both do their part to accentuate the divine properties of raw fish, in the same way that both tempura and gamberi fritti - let’s face it - are basically the same thing.
This unlikely union takes place on Dalston lane in front of high windows that reveal Italian marble lit by Japanese lamps. The front is adorned with classical acanthus and volute stone, but the door to the back kitchen is covered with a traditional noren curtain. It’s an aesthetic perfectly designed by none other than the director’s mother (shout out to Mrs Owens-Baigler) and is a wonderful nod towards the effortless culinary combination to follow.
“Angelina hides a secret we weren’t allowed to photograph.”
The menu is constantly rotating, meaning if you were to come every two weeks, you’d be treated to a completely different food experience. At £39 for five plates of food-geek pleasure - or just £9 for one daily special - it’s an incredibly reasonable night-out too, get the accompanying wines for just an additional £35, and you’ve won the hearts of your guests.
Angelina’s hides a wonderful secret, too. So secret, in fact, we weren’t allowed to photograph it.
We can write about it, though.
Around the back of Angelina’s, open only on particularly busy nights, hides their Japanese Golden Gai Bar; illuminated in purple with walls lined with spirits and inspired art. Designed to hold about six people and with a strict no-phones policy, we’re told that Golden Gai takes its intimate vibe from the Shinjuku district of Tokyo that they stumbled upon on their team visit. It’s an oasis of privacy that focuses on the human connection associated with food (one often lost in our busy city, perhaps we have a few things to learn from the Japanese).
Whatever your reason for visiting, whether it’s catching up with friends or losing your tastebuds in their menu; we hope Angelina’s doesn’t go anywhere, and, despite the vast geographical reach of its cuisine, has found its home in Dalston.
Words + Images : Hannah Crosbie