What: The long-awaited seventh-floor restaurant within the newly opened The Stratford, a 42-storey tower in east London from the team behind stunning London locations Chiltern Firehouse and St Pancras hotel.
Who: Developer Harry Handelsman has brought in former Chiltern Firehouse chef Patrick Powell to head up the kitchen, with the Ireland-born chef leading a kitchen brigade of around 15. Powell trained under Derry Clarke at Dublin’s Michelin-starred restaurant L’Ecrivian and then went on to work with Anthony Demetre at Wild Honey in Mayfair before joining Chiltern Firehouse, where he met Handelsman.
The food: Powell describes the cooking at Allegra as seasonal modern European using ingredients grown at the restaurant’s organic farm a 40-minute drive away. Menus are split into snacks, starters and mains as well as dishes to share, with it kicking off with the likes of pistachio choux, liver parfait and preserved kumquat; and house bread with green sauce. Starters on the launch menu hint to Powell’s classical French training and include smoked eel pithivier, parsley and garlic, chilli vinegar; roasted scallop, aged beef broth, cep, horseradish and thyme; and confit chicken wing, parmesan dumplings, Scottish girolles and sorrel; while mains include Welsh lamb, sweet pepper romesco, pickled walnut and black olive caramel; baked celeriac, celeriac ‘ramen’ broth, egg yolk and black garlic; and Scottish lobster, courgette, lemon and cobnuts.
There’s a trio of bigger sharing dishes, meanwhile, at £60-£80 - heritage rib eye, beetroot tarte tatin, horseradish and smoked bone marrow sauce; whole roast cep-stuffed chicken, smoked sweetcorn, pickled jalapeño and tarragon; and a sake steamed turbot with roasted chicken skin, congee, kohlrabi and ginger. Desserts are equally enticing, including confit apple mille-feuille, vanilla and salted caramel; and honey cake with blackberries and caramelised pastry ice cream. For diners wanting something a little more relaxed, Allegra also serves a terrace menu of smaller dishes and more informal bites, such as grilled English corn with caramelised honey and togarashi; a fired chicken bun with pickles and aioli; and a grilled Cuban sandwich.
The vibe: The main dining room has been designed to ‘evoke the timeless grandeur of a Scandinavian farmhouse’ and features an open kitchen, a stone bar, stained oak furniture and a natural stone Montpelier floor. It’s a fairly muted colour palette that creates a calmer, more serene even, vibe than at Chiltern House or the more imposing St Pancras hotel. With autumn now in full swing, the outside terrace - with views over London - isn’t likely to get that much use (even though there is a heated terrace) but come next summer the cedar-cantilevered roof and fairy-lit pergola will come into its own during the lighter, balmier evenings.
And another thing: Allegra is located in a very impressive, award-winning 143-metre-high tower whose storeys are supported by a cantilevered perimeter truss system, meaning that columns could be removed in order to create a number of open sky gardens.
The Stratford, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 International Way, London