The venture is backed by Jonathan Downey, the founder of the Rushmore Group. Downey found the site and signed the lease before seeking out a restaurateur to front the project, which is where Parle came in. This is the first London restaurant project for Parle since Dock Kitchen opened in 2009. Downey was also responsible for introducing Spivey to the project.
Rotorino features a 60 cover restaurant as well as a 40 cover wine bar. It aims to offer a relaxed atmosphere for drinking and dining and focuses on using fresh ingredients to create dishes for people who want to experience a simple, gimmick-free style of dining.
Traditional Italian dishes become new classics
The restaurant is open for dinner and drinks throughout the week and has brunch, lunch and dinner menus at the weekend. Rotorino places an importance on no-frills cooking and has a focus on wood-grilled fish and meat, with the menu categorized into sections such as ‘Cured’, ‘Wood Grill’, ‘Stove’ and ‘Sweet’. There is also a large selection of antipasti and homemade pasta.
Sample dishes include Turbot with rosemary and vinegar oil, Sea Bream Carpaccio with squashed datterini tomato and marjoram, and Sasso Chicken with ricotta. Dessert options include Pastiera Napolitana and Cannoli with fennel seed, orange and pistachio.
Rotorino’s dishes are inspired by Parle’s travels around Palermo, Sardinia and Puglia and the menu has a British take on southern Italy, as the restaurant sources its fish from the south coast of the UK and gets its meat locally-cured from British breeds. Dock Kitchen’s current head chef Alex Jackson will be in charge of the kitchen at Rotorino.
Italian wines and a quality finish
The bar is separate to the restaurant and does not take reservations, but is open to drop-ins for wine or a bite to eat in the evenings everyday as well as opening for brunch and lunch at the weekend.
Street Vin and Wine Car Boot founder Spivey was in charge of creating the drinks list for the Rotorino Bar. There are over 40 wines on offer, half of which are Italian. The list is intended to be accessible and good value as well as drinkable, with many wines available by the glass or carafe. There is also a Prosecco available for £3.50 by the glass or £20 for the bottle.
Spivey said: “It’s fantastic to have a more grown up, wine-focused restaurant in this area of Hackney. About half of the space is given over to the bar, so you can pop in for wine and cocktails, as well as more relaxed meals, along what is probably the longest table in London.
“Not all, but a lot of Italian restaurants in London are pretty dated in their décor in my opinion. Rotorino is stylish and original in design, it’s a lovely space to spend time in. For a restaurant of its size, with the quality of the finish and a chef of Stevie’s calibre in the kitchen it is also incredible value. It’s got something for everyone.”
The restaurant was designed by Jonathan Mangham of Mango London Architecture and includes booth seating, cherry wood ceilings and geometric patterned tiles. Rotorino also has a semi-private dining room which seats 12-16 and an outdoor eating area that can be used in the summer season.
Rotorino is located at 434 Kingsland Road and is open until 1am most days and midnight on Sundays.