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THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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The Engine Rooms

82 – 92 Great North Road, London, N2 0NL
Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick
Published on December 9, 2021
www.theenginerooms.co.uk

Mains Selection The Engine Rooms Mains Selection PHOTO: CHARLIE MCKAY

Hexagon Classics in Highgate have been selling collectible classic cars for decades. Now they also boast a restaurant and event space. It is fabulous! The bar overlooks the showroom with a mind-blowing selection of Mercedes, Porsche, Lamborghini… a boy dream! The rest of the space is beautifully designed, indoor and out. It’s contemporary and artsy while keeping the industrial showroom look.

I was greeted by Jac who usually works at Bottles ‘N’ Jars, the luxury food and wine shop on the premises. She is a brilliant hostess and mixes a wicked martini. The sight of an Aston Martin inspired my choice of drink. A dry Berto gin Martini, shaken, not stirred! (£14). It was heaven.

In the restaurant, head waitress Amina ran the show. At 19, she is already a star. Her innate sense of hospitality and knowledge beyond her years is very impressive. 19??!! I have socks older than that!

Engine Rooms The Engine Rooms

Head Chef James Harrison has based his menu on the Mediterranean while taking advantage of UK bounty. Devon handpicked crab cake (£14) is a perfect example. Light and fresh, highlighting the sweet crab meat and served with a delicately picante brown crab dressing.

Mackerel (£12) is beautifully cured in citrus and served with a zingy tartar of mackerel, cucumber and horseradish. A great balance of fresh and fish. The skin is quite rubbery and would benefit from a light torching.

A glass of AA Badenhorst Secateurs Riviera, 2020 (£9.10) paired brilliantly with the mackerel. The orange wine from SA is dry, full of citrus, peach and just a hint of tannin structure.

Scottish hand dived scallops (£28) are fresh as can be and served in their shells on a bed of toasted fregola (tiny pearl shaped pasta). Nduja butter adds a touch of heat and breadcrumbs a bit of crunch. I loved every mouthful but only 3 for a main seems a bit meagre.

Cornish gurnard and seafood cacciucco (£24) won the prize. Gurnard is a gorgeous fish. Light and meaty, it works wonders with the cacciucco, a tomato based fish stew of squid and mussels. Chef Harrison’s version of this Italian classic is absolutely delicious. In the states, it’s more commonly known as cioppino.

A bottle of Mandrarossa Frappato Costadune, 2019 (£29) was excellent, especially for the price. Medium bodied, very fruity and a nice hit of spice at the finish.

Vegan chocolate mousse (£9) wasn’t creamy enough to call itself mousse, but the dark guanaja chocolate worked a treat with caramel infused banana, salted peanut butter and olive oil. It’s difficult to make a dessert without eggs, cream or butter and this was a good effort. If it wasn’t called mousse, I wouldn’t compare it to one.

Champagne and clementine jelly (£9) is Harrison’s take on a trifle. Grand Marnier soaked genoise, charred clementine, crème patisserie and pistachio and bucks fizz granita is a fresh, light and very tasty combination.

Now about that Aston Martin…

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