It is hard not to be jealous of those lucky people who live in East Village, where the former Olympic Village used to be: pristine apartments, spotless streets and wealth of sporting facilities in close proximity. Now even their local “pub”, Neighbourhood is a cut above the standard imbibing institutions that other Londoners have.
The space is bright, airy, the high ceilings are covered with warm-glowing light bulbs and the floor-to-wall ceilings gives the perfect vantage point to observe the passersby in their daily routines (although they might put you off from indulging too much, as it is a gym next door). The general orange hue of the venue gives a blissful and welcoming atmosphere.
We went along to try out their dinner offerings, even though they are open from breakfast times and have great options to keep you satisfied and entertained throughout the day. On a bitterly, cold night that we visited, the spicy mac n cheese was exactly the dish I was dreaming of: it was crunchy, yet creamy at the same time, the macaroni was firm whilst the cheese was suitably gooey. It was given a slight kick with some fiery tabasco and some substance with the marinated rotisserie chicken. It was so delectable, I would in fact order it whatever the weather. My guest ordered the beautiful looking chargrilled fig bruschetta; the fig and prosciutto were some of the freshest I’ve seen in a long time and the addition of Shropshire blue cheese undoubtedly made the dish even tastier.
I opted for their house special, the neighbourhood burger, which had an endless list of ingredients that made eating the burger with your hands nigh on impossible. What did make this burger stand out are the addition of pineapple and beetroot giving it a very summery feel, the fried egg was just cooked to the right temperature, where the yolk was still soft and seeped easily into the flavoursome beef patty.
My guest had tried plenty of steaks recently and the rib eye at Neighbourhood was certainly in the above average category. You can absolutely appreciate the difference of using a robata grill rather than a standard grill. The steak was accurately cooked to the right temperature, in this case medium and the beefy flavours are concentrated in the meat. What is to be congratulated is the fact both the steak and the burger came with chips and vegetables, unlike some venues that try to make more profits from selling extra sides.
Beer tanks offering fresh beer is the on-trend thing for gastropubs at the moment. Here they offer the first Krušovice tank in London. They do have an amazing range of craft beers and cask ales; in fact they also act as a beer shop should you wish to continue the party at home post-dinner.
You might not have an Olympic-sized swimming pool near where you live, but you can dream of a Neighbourhood opening in an area near you soon.