East Finch - southern comfort with an uptown vibe
The sheer surprise of seeing something completely new and unique arise like a phoenix from the dying embers of lockdown would have been enough in itself to intrigue.
But a visit to this clean, green and comfortably-cushioned eatery speaks volumes more about the ambition and flair of the young and talented East Finch crew.
Sheltering up the steps to what was previously the much-loved Yeni mezze on N Hanover, behind All Bar One, these guys have smashed together with great success the vibe of an upscale NYC cocktail diner with Southern comfort food.
Perusing an interesting and varied list led to delivery of accomplished and assured quality cocktails, in everything from elegant Nick & Nora glasses to ‘juice boxes’, creating an appetite for more. There’s always an expectation of sweetness with American food and drink. All is, however beautifully balanced in both cases here, free of cloying aftertastes, just a skilful depth of flavour.
Naturally, these two tequila-heads ended up nursing a Ricky Martinez, warmed with just the right amount of apricot brandy, and their refreshing take on a Paloma involving grapefruit sherbet, guava & coconut along with both Patron & El Jimador silver tequila. That doesn’t mean to say we don’t want to drop in again at the very first opportunity to shoot the breeze over a Grasshopper - a blast from the past with its own contemporary twist.
They’ve gone to significant lengths to procure authentic supplies, and efforts have borne fruit.
Home-made Creole seasoning to switch up your spicing is on the table, but not necessary. What could have been an average Jalapeño Poppers starter was so much better than expectation, with crispy gyoza dumpling purses presented on a sweetly spiced tomato base dotted with green chile. Moreish. Fried Chicken Wings with hot peach sauce was so evocative of the deep South we just had to try. Initially looking like quite dry little parcels, this turned out to be the finest tasty crisp layer around meltingly tender meat, on plenty of delicious and unique sauce. They plan to bottle the Peach Sauce too.
Sharon’s Braised Ox Cheek on fine grade-one grits (think polenta, but tastier), is the epitome of comfort food, perfectly prepared and thoroughly enjoyed. By now a maple-soaked waffle with fried chicken breast was looking a step too far, especially having ordered a full green bean, blue cheese, walnut & iceberg chopped salad, which won the day as we fought over the contents (E.Bowman).
73 Hanover St, EH2 1EE
0131 370 3730
Weds-Sun from noon