Saturday, 12 July 2014

Rita's - Hackney

Warning: tenuous link below. I have had to be a little creative in search for a Cameroonian breakfast as I can't for the life of me find anywhere serving one in London. I have read a lot about beignets served at breakfast time in Cameroon. Originally a French dish beignet are popular in Cameroon, this is probably due to the cultural ties between the two countries. Served either with a sweet sauce or a pepper sauce they look like a fantastic morning treat. But beignets don't seem to be on many menus in London either.

They are probably most prominently associated with New Orleans in the US (NOLA if you are too cool for school). Here the famous cafe de monde serves beignets to foodies who come from far and wide (featured recently in the film Chef). And so it is this link that takes me to Rita’s in Hackney.

Alongside a plethora of Vietnamese restaurants on Mare street is Rita’s; you have to look hard though, I walked past its very simple fronting, twice! That theme of simplicity is carried through into the restaurant with pink seating and bare white walls, this Hackney eaterie allows its food to do the talking.

Rita’s doesn't have a breakfast menu and you will find the beignets on the dessert menu. So I skipped some of the interesting mains and went straight for the beignets served with dulce de leche and foie gras. Yes, no spelling mistake here. You can only get American style filter coffee here, which was not the best to be honest. But soon the main event arrived.

Beignets are a bit like doughnuts in as much as they are deep fried, they are a made from choux pastry rather than flour dough. These particular ones were crisp on the outside with a fantastic doughy bite, dusted in icing sugar and the finely grated fois gras on top. The contrast of the salty fois gras and the sweet sugar alongside the doughy texture of the beignet made for a combination like no other.

They were rich filling and delicious and 
I was glad I wasn't eating them as a dessert after a main course as I was stuffed by the end.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend these as a breakfast but they are definitely worth a go and to have the creativity to include the fois gras is a stroke of genius.

The verdict
Innovative and ambitious dishes in trendy Hackney, maybe not for breakfast though!


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