Cristina's, IG11 8AW
- 020 8127 4329
- 8-10 North Street, IG11 8AW
- closed Mon; 11am-3pm, 6pm-11pm Tue-Sun
Steak restaurant in Barking, also offering a separate menu of Romanian specialties.
It seats around 40 people, at widely-spaced tables including a few large enough for groups of six or more. The room feels spacious and uncluttered, while the chandelier-style lighting and ornately-framed mirrors ensure it doesn't seem too plain.
Kake and friends (including a toddler) visited on a Tuesday evening in April 2014. There were already a couple of other customers in when we arrived around 6:45pm, and others turned up while we were there. Music was playing, not too loud.
The regular menu is based around steak photo, though it also has plenty of non-steak options photo including a few that looked potentially vegetarian. They also have a separate menu of Romanian specialties, though this wasn't mentioned on the other menu (or by our waitress), and the management later confirmed to us via Twitter that they have a policy of not offering it by default. Not knowing about the Romanian menu at the time, we all decided to go for the mid-week set menu (£15 for two courses, £19 for three, available Tuesday-Thursday for parties of two or more) photo.
A starter of grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto (£6 on the a la carte menu) photo consisted of well-chosen stems of asparagus, large enough to hold up to grilling but not over-large, and plenty of ham wrapped around. A minor niggle is that they should have peeled off the tough skin at the bottom of the stems. Bruschetta (£4 on the a la carte menu) photo featured some very nicely seasoned tomatoes, enlivened with fresh herbs.
Three of us ordered featherblade steaks (£14 for 10oz on the a la carte menu); two rare, one medium. The rare steaks were properly rare, and had a good crust on the outside photo. Our fourth diner chose the grilled salmon with mango, pomegranate, and avocado salsa (£15 on the a la carte menu) photo, which was again cooked well; not overdone, but with some good browning on the exterior.
Desserts were disappointing. Tiramisu (£5 on the a la carte menu) photo was huge and bland; it also contained no alcohol, which was handy for sharing with our toddler, but just added to the blandness.
The wine list photo was relatively short, but included two reds and two whites by the glass. We shared a bottle of Trivento malbec (£15).
Service was very friendly, particularly towards our toddler. No service charge was added to the bill.
Child-friendliness: They have at least one high chair, with tray, suitable for a toddler but perhaps a little large for a baby photo. Our orders were taken quickly, and starters arrived about 15 minutes after ordering. The floor is carpeted, making cleanup of dropped food a little tricker than usual. There are no baby-change facilities, and the ladies' toilet at least is a little too small to do a change on the floor.
Accessibility: No steps in (just a small ridge). Completely step-free once you're in.
Kake's verdict: I'd certainly recommend the steaks to any local meat-lovers, and they're probably worth a short journey too, particularly at mid-week prices. I intend to come back and try the Romanian menu (though I'm really not keen on the restaurant's decision to treat it like some kind of secret). I'd happily bring a child along again, though for younger children I'd think about bringing some kind of wipe-clean mat to put under the high chair.