Six of One 30/6/2023
Lakehouse Hungarian Restaurant and five other recommendations
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Six of One is a new column dedicated to London restaurant recommendations. In each newsletter, we send out a tip from six writers for six different restaurants, bakeries, cafes or takeaways that deserve to be better known.
You can find previous Six of One’s below:
Six of One 26/5/2023 - Polentina and five other recommendations
Six of One 2/6/2023 - Inihaw and five other recommendations
Six of One 9/6/2023 - Kulcha Express and five other recommendations
Six of One 16/6/2023 - Triple One Café and five other recommendations
Six of One 16/6/2023 - Samak Seafood and five other recommendations
Todays recommendations are from Stephen Buranyi, Niamh McIntyre, Mia Nazareno, Zahra Al Asaadi, Rohan Jones, and Sejal Sukhadwala
1. Lakehouse Hungarian Restaurant
Once a year I ask the staff at my local Hungarian grocery – Paprika Store, on Green Lanes – to help me solve a mystery. In Hungary it is often said that London is our second most populous city, since so many people have emigrated there. And yet, I can count the number of Hungarian restaurants in London on one hand. Where are the Hungarian deli counters? Cafés? Country-style restaurants? Where do the Hungarians in London eat? “At home,” has been the answer they've given me for years. Which seems a little convenient for a grocer.
Thank goodness, then, for Lakehouse Hungarian Restaurant in Forest Gate, just below the Wanstead Flats. Small, charming and stuffed with Hungarian knick-knacks, it joins Shoreditch’s unimprovably named The Hungry Tummy in making the case that while London doesn't have much in the way of Hungarian food, what we do have is excellent. Cold cherry soup with sour cream, a personal summer favourite, is served sweet, tart, rich and subtly spiced, all at once. Thin cutlets of pork shoulder are first baked and then lard-fried on a griddle, and served still sizzling with sauerkraut on the side. Light and fluffy nokedli dumplings – meant to be a side – are good enough to eat with salt alone as a whole meal. The pickles are all homemade and each is sweet and crisp, but grounded with a dusting of earthy paprika.
The trick of good Hungarian food is in the little touches that allow a meal made entirely of objectively heavy components – meat, creamy dairy, complex starch – to lift off and become lighter than air. It's a manoeuvre Lakehouse pulls off again and again. This is perhaps most obvious if you order the fruit brandy (pálinka), proudly homemade by the owner Mihály. The strength and paint-stripping quality of one's pálinka tends to escalate into a bit of a ball-measuring content among Hungarian men (Mihály admits). But though his is over 100 proof, he rounds it off with a bit of rich honey and fruit syrup. It’s balanced and immensely satisfying. Stephen Buranyi
324 Cann Hall Rd, E11 3NW