I recently went to take advantage of the opening offer at Mildred’s Dalston venue, their latest branch. With V in tow we happily searched for the restaurant, more than eager to see what we might try this time.
It turned out to be reasonably hard to find from a walking perspective, because it’s tucked round the back of the station in the middle of nowhere. Literally – the view out of the large floor-to-ceiling windows is simply a lot of concrete and a few miserable trees, which is a bit of a shame. It’s not yet clear why they would choose to have such feature windows facing such a dismal view, but perhaps there is redevelopment planned for the area soon.
I had a Mexican bowl, which you will know is one of my particular weaknesses. This is how they described it on the menu:
Mexican spiced black beans topped with feta served with quinoa, raw corn salsa, corn chips, grilled pineapple and smashed avocado £12
V had some mock chicken, described thusly:
southern deep-fried buttermilk and polenta mock chicken with red cabbage, maple coleslaw, sweet potato fries and smoked chipotle dip £12
So, getting to the actual food. Mine was probably a little more lacklustre than I was expecting. The corn salsa I expected to be cold; not so much the rest of the plate. Generally speaking I would call this very much a standard Mexican food bowl. There wasn’t anything that grabbed my attention or surprised me.
The spiced beans were watery, the corn salsa was alright though a little dull, and the smashed avocado was as advertised. The black corn tortillas provided an aesthetic quirk only, not a flavourful one. I ended up not eating the grilled pineapple as it wasn’t to my tastes. I’m not sure I would have paid £12 for the food in another establishment.
V’s food, unfortunately, posed a much bigger problem. The fries were simply standard sweet potato fries as supplied by foodservice, it seems. Most of the plate was fairly unremarkable, if only because one of the elements demanded attention for all of the wrong reasons. Her chicken was so hard it was difficult even to cut, let alone chew. Some of it was hard enough to produce a satisfying ringing noise when tapped against the plate.
If we needed any confirmation of how hard the chicken was, it was the fact that it chipped a tooth. No real apology was ever forthcoming for this despite complaints, and the inexperienced waitress even managed to drop a card machine on V before we were able to get out of there. Who knows what might have happened if we had stayed longer.
A new opening is no excuse for laxity and unfortunately this latest offering simply does not measure up to the Mildred’s brand we know. One thing is for clear, though we may be going to one of their other venues in the future, there is absolutely no way we will be going back to Dalston.