On Wednesday night I dined and wined at Studio East Dining, courtesy of the lovely people behind Patrón, the alcohol sponsor for the event. I took with me a recently heartbroken Kiwi chick. Me and the leggy brunette hopped on the fast train to Stratford International and sampled the latest pop up venture by the Bistroteque team.
Sitting on top of the soon to be opened Westfield centre, Studio East is slap bang in the middle of the Olympic village. Open for three weeks the restaurant has been masterminded by Patrón and the Bistroteque duo Pablo Flack and David Waddington (of Flash and Reindeer fame).
Arriving involves meandering through the construction site.
A lift ride skyward and the doors slid open to bright early evening sunshine and a 360 degree view over the ‘in progess’ Olympic village. More impressive than it might sound. The dizzying height and security men in yellow jackets marking the roofs perimeter lent a surreal edge to the occasion. Wow.
With it’s back to the sun was Studio East’s front door,framing it in rays into which you’re welcomed by the statuesque host Gwendolyn – 6ft 5 in kitten heels.
Rumour on the night was that the restaurant has been built out of materials claimed from the construction site outside. I like the story and I love the decor. But my dad’s a builder and I have never seen scaffolding planks that clean.
Whether the wood’s former life was in the dirt or in the warehouse it still creates a beautiful lofty feel that is contemporary and welcoming in equal measure. I particularly like the recession friendly urban chandelier. Even if my dad did laugh when I showed him this photo.
Light gushed in from viewing points peppering the restaurant walls, lending an alfresco feel to the situation. Cocktails were summery and bright, a fusion of watermelon, basil and Patron tequila, erring on the dangerous side of ‘ooh doesn’t this almost just taste like juice’. Not what you’d expect of a tequila based beverage. Or a spicier coffee and chocolate tequila (which I discovered later is amazing sipped, dunked in coffee or toppled over ice-cream), sloshed with coke and a slither of fresh orange peel. Liquid Christmas. Surprisingly bloody quaffable any time of year. Always wanted to write quaffable in a review.
Seating is on long trestle tables with names like ‘music’ ‘fashion’ and ‘arches’, I’m still not quite sure why.
Sitting on the fashion table I feared only napkins and air on the menu. Not so. Here’s what we ate, all served on plates put in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves too. Communal feasting.
I usually get anxious in situations like this. A true survival of the fittest eater, I prefer to have my portion safely housed on my plate. But here, once plates were empty they were quickly refilled, so even though carbs made a small appearance (I was on a fashion table after all) there was certainly enough to fill even the greediest of bellies.
Top of my culinary list was the chicken – thick hunks of corn-fed white meat in a velvety sauce, the beaufort salad and the honey and thyme roasted peaches; oversized pouches of fleshy fruit dolloped with a thick unctuous cream. Divine. My compliments to (the chef) Mr Tom Collins.
But to be honest. Screw the food. Get me another glass of that coffee chocolate tequila, so dark it seems to suck the light out of the room, and suck the sobriety out of me and the Kiwi.
Studio East Dining isn’t a restaurant per say, it’s an experience and I think you’ll get as much out as you put in – chatting to folk on your communal table, bantering with the beautiful hostess, and getting on side with the waiters – ‘yes we would like the last 5 cocktails behind the bar’. Thank you very much.
Studio East Dining closes tomorrow. Keep your peepers peeled for what the Westfield’s next venture will be. And indeed where the Bistroteque boys may pop up next.
Here are the cocktail menus from the evening. Your round.