Lahpet, E8 3SB
- 020 3883 5629
- 5 Helmsley Place, E8 3SB
- Mon: closed; Tue-Fri: 6pm-10:30pm; Sat: noon-10:30pm; Sun: noon-5pm
Despite its location in an ex-industrial unit, it's light and airy inside, helped by the double-height ceiling and full-glazed patio doors at the front. Greenery is everywhere, from the pot plants perched on plain wooden shelves alongside kilner jars of preserved ingredients, to the plastic vines draped over the suspended strip lighting above. There's seating for around 40 people, half of it on normal-height tables and the rest on high stools.
Kake visited on a Saturday lunchtime in June 2017. There were just four or five other customers when I arrived around 1pm, though a party of five more turned up while I was there. Dance music was playing, not too loud.
Shrimp and watercress fritter (£3) photo had plenty of shrimp and watercress, and a decent enough flavour. It was bound with cornflour, which gave it an interesting, almost chewy, crispiness around the edges and perhaps just a touch too much softness in the middle. The accompanying tamarind dip was fairly thin, the tamarind flavour diluted with soy sauce.
Braised aubergine (khayan dhi hnut; £10) photo came with a side of green beans, but rice (£2.50) was extra. It was OK, and had a decent amount of chilli heat, but got a bit samey after I was about halfway though. The garlic chips scattered over it helped a little, and were nicely executed, being well-browned without going over into burnt. The green beans were fine, though a couple of them were a little stringy.
Service was helpful, if a little nervous-seeming. A 10% service charge was added to the bill.
Kake's verdict: I wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped, but I'd give them another chance. I'd particularly like to try their lamb with lahpet (pickled tea). It might be better to come with more people and share the different dishes.
Accessibility: A steep and somewhat bumpy ramp to get in. No steps to the toilet, though access is a little narrow.
- Photo of the menu as of June 2017
- Hungry Onion thread
- Evening Standard review (Grace Dent)
- The Caperberry Collective review