Rita's is probably my favourite restaurant in London, I adore the food, the decor and casual East London vibe. I am more than happy to trek across London to eat here and ever since it started life as a pop up at Birthdays in Dalston I have been returning every few months. Even though I've visited quite a few times this was the first time I has my camera present so I could finally write a review. The menu changes frequently but there are a few dishes that always remain i.e. the patty melt, mac n cheese, chicken wings, devilled eggs and oreo pie.
I love the devilled eggs, we always order them whilst contemplating the rest of the menu as they're the perfect amuse bouche. The yolk is scooped out, mixed with mayonnaise and inserted back into the egg white. Sprinkled with sesame seeds and spring onions these are totally moorish with a rich, oriental flavour.
Our cocktails arrived, Steve went for his usual Dark n Stormy whilst I had the special Blood Orange Rita with tequilla which packed a sour punch, lovely. The cocktails here are always inventive and even though I'm quite fussy, opting for gin and vodka mostly, there's always a couple for me to try.
Rita's is about sharing a collection of small and large plates which is why I love it so much. Sometimes we try all the starters, a few sides and forgo the mains. Sometimes we go for a few starters and mains. And sometimes we go for a mix of everything. On this occasion we weren't particularly hungry so went for 2 small plates, one large plate and a side.
The pork and beef meatballs in tomato marinara are heavenly, so rich and succulent tasting I'd happily eat a main course size of these. The slice of crusty bread is perfect for scooping up the remaining sauce.
To my disappointment the herb gnocchi with broccoli and chilli was the first thing I've ever had at Rita's that I wasn't keen on. Maybe it was too 'herby' for my liking but this combined with the strong cheese was just a little overpowering for my taste buds.
The chicken roll i.e. fried chicken burger was wonderful. The batter was cooked perfectly crisp whilst the meat remaining tender and succulent in the middle, it is all you could ask for from a chicken burger. Not to mention that it comes with the most delicious crispy fried crushed potatoes ever. I love this main and will 100% order it again!
Without fail we always order the green chilli mac n cheese because it's just so damn delicious. Totally rich and cheesy, it is gooey and the chilli adds a delightful hot edge. It comes with a generous scoop of guacamole making it an extremely indulgent side. My favourite mac n cheese in London without a doubt.
We had gone for a very late dinner this time so when I tried to order to oreo pie and was told they had sold out I was beyond disappointed. This oreo cheesecake is the best I've tried and one of the reasons I continue to revisit the restaurant. Next time I'm going to go at a more reasonable hour to make sure I get my hands on a slice.
Rita's is the perfect mix of Southern American cuisine combined with oriental flavours, the sticky chicken wings is an excellent example of it's style and whilst it's Mare Street location in Hackney may not be the most convenient I 100% recommend you seek out the place as the food is the perfect mix of comfort, indulgence and American-Asian inspired flavours. I love it here!