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AW's top three little-known restaurants in London


21 Newington Green, London, N16 9PU

Jolene is a beautiful, candlelit space near Hackney with a bakery attached. It is a great date restaurant with immaculate service and a spacious converted bottom floor of a three-storey block of flats. The restaurant is known for its small plates, blackboard menus, and open kitchens, which are reminiscent of the owners' original venture, Primeur in Stoke Newington. The small evening menu is ever-changing, offering dishes like nutty brown jerusalem artichokes roasted in rosemary, a spelt-based risotto with sage-roasted pumpkin and crunchy walnuts, and fresh, lemon-enlivened tagliatelle with capers and oregano. The food is earthy, imaginative, and slightly saintly, with a dirty underbelly of oily, salty largesse in each forkful of spelt, cruciferous veg, or sustainably harvested starchy carb. Jolene also has an all-natural winelist, similar to Westerns Laundry, which made the colleague Jay Rayner fractious.

Jolene is a great place to have up your sleeve, being neighborhoody and welcoming but still slightly pretentious in places. You will leave well fed and possibly waddling after the praline choux ring smothered in chocolate sauce.



Stella's N1

101 Newington Green Rd, London, N1 4QY

Stella’s, the Newington Green protein-purveyor that’s widely agreed to be one of the finest in Northeast London, is more than just a butcher. Doubled up as an avant-garde listening bar called System, it serves as a butcher during the day, a restaurant at night and a music venue on Thursday and Friday evening. According to Resident Advisor, System features a Tannoy sound system from 1976 and is being run by Jojo Mathiszig, founder of Clerkenwell record store and radio station Kindred. Stella supports sustainable local farming, and offer a great selection of natural wines and beers.

With their restless, innovative and irreverent portfolio, Stella's and System undoubtedly exemplify the London style.



Marksman Public House

254 Hackney Road, London, E2 7SJ

Chef owners Harris and Rotheram reopened the Marksman pub in 2015 following a comprehensive refurbishment, including an elegant upstairs dining room conceived by Italian designer Martino Gamper. The lower floor is a popular destination for regulars and partygoers, exuding an atmosphere that seems to have remained untouched for many years. On the other hand, the upstairs dining room offers a more understated experience with a cuisine paying homage to London's culinary heritage. Standout dishes include beef and barley buns with horseradish cream, Tamworth haslet with celeriac and beer mustard, and native oyster and comice pear. If you are seeking excellent pub food in a traditional setting, accompanied by attentive service, then the Marksman is the ideal destination for you.