Walworth Road in south east London, despite being a main road, has always been lacking something. A decent restaurant with a menu to impress. A cool drinking den that doubles as a live music venue. This is the kind of gap Louie Louie’s trio of founders (Chris Greenwood – background in music, Jack Wilkinson – creative visual designer, and Hanne Cole – set up the kitchen for Power Lunches in east London) spotted, opening up the cafe-cum-restaurant-cum-bar-cum-live music venue just last week. I must admit I was surprised that it was still so young because every table was full! Word gets around fast. Clearly this was the kind of place the locals had been screaming out for. “We’re already considering introducing a reservation system,” jokes Chris.
A masterstroke for the Louie Louie founders is bringing in Telv Aviv-born head chef, Oded Oren. Having honed his skills in his city of birth and carving out a name for himself among his hometown’s seafood restaurants, Oded made the move to London in 2011. He had a good summer last year, running his own pop-up in east London’s Oval Space. And now he spends four nights a week (Weds-Sat) running the Louie Louie kitchen.
Dishes on the menu have been inspired by his native country and come in tapas-size portions, ideal as you’ll want to sample many of them. The Burnt Beets with Soured Cream and Olive Oil is very pleasing on the eye and equally satisfying on the palate. A very refreshing starter. The Seared Beef Carpaccio, meanwhile, is fantastic in quality and taste, receiving a punch from the fresh chillis and a genuine taste of the Mediterranean from its bed of olive oil.
Not for the faint-hearted (excuse the pun in advance), the menu includes a skewer of Chicken Hearts, which might not be to everyone’s taste but it certainly proves Oded’s boldness and creativity with ingredients.
The highlights for me on the menu have to be the two kebabs: Lamb and impressively, the Hake and Sea Bass. We’re told that Oded uses no ingredients to bind his kebabs with, such as egg; it’s all done through his personal skill of hand. Impressive in technique, aesthetics and in flavour.
When you add to this fantastic menu a wine list the staff are proud of, a partnership with STROMABAKES who supply Louie Louie daily with varying vegan goodies that are free from gluten and dairy, and a proposed move to begin hosting live music events downstairs soon, Louie Louie is the new king of Walworth Road.
For more information, visit louielouie.london