Opened in Sept 2019, Allegra sits on the 7th floor of The Stratford, a 42-storey building overlooking east London. Inside the striking skyscraper (designed by SOM, the architects behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa) you’ll find a hotel, loft apartments and two restaurants, all the brainchild of developer Harry Handelsman, the name behind St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and Chiltern Firehouse.
It would be easy to let the views do all the work here, but the interior is carefully considered, with natural materials and soft grey hues working harmoniously to create a 72-cover oasis of calm against a bustling city backdrop. Designed by Space Copenhagen, (the team behind NOMA and 11 Howard in New York), a stone floor sweeps around the central bar, while wooden lattices and green foliage add a slight sense of separation to the dining spaces. The real highlight, though, is the Sky Terrace. Retractable glass walls open out onto a large terrace and garden overlooking the London skyline, where herbs for the restaurant grow among a meadow of wildflowers in the summer. We made a mental note to return at the first hint of sun for a cocktail in a spot outdoors to really drink in the view.
Head chef Patrick Powell (previously head chef at Chiltern Firehouse, working alongside Nuno Mendes) serves modern European with a focus on seasonal cooking. So much so that Handelsman bought land at Pale Green Dot farm in Sussex, which will supply many of the restaurant’s ingredients. There is also an in-house curing room so its charcuterie doesn’t have far to travel. The menu is divided into snacks, starters and mains, and the pistachio choux filled with liver parfait and topped with preserved kumquat is a perfect little parcel sure to get you excited for the dishes to come. The confit chicken wing with parmesan dumplings, wild mushroom and sorrel is delicate in presentation, but bold in flavour, with each component working to boost the others. For a humble dish expertly elevated, the braised shoulder cottage pie is a deconstructed offering of tender venison loin, roasted celeriac, pickled blackberries and trompettes served with a cast-iron dish of meat and mash. Pair it with a side of rustic pink fir apple potatoes, chives and sweet and sour onions for an excellent winter main. To finish, the salted caramel custard, ginger cake and brown bread ice cream provides an interesting end point, with just the right portion size, ensuring you’re not left feeling heavy and overloaded after dessert!
As you would expect from a restaurant that makes its bar the central point, the cocktail menu is interesting and extensive. Try the Just to Clarify (ABA Pisco, WP Rum, quince, Earl Grey tea, citrus) for a refreshing drink, or the Old Bee (Havana rum Edition B, Dewar’s 12yrs whiskey, honey sponge & spiced pecan) for something rich and warming. Allegra’s sommelier also has a glass-encased walk-in wine room at their disposal, so rest assured you’re in good hands should you want a glass of vino or two.
Three courses and drinks for two, around £120
Perfect for those nights that start off at the bar and carry on into the evening – Allegra is just as good for enjoying a great cocktail along with an incredible view, or for dinner with friends or colleagues over an excellent bottle of wine.
Allegra, The Stratford, 20 International Way, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park,
London, E20 1FD; allegra-restaurant.com