Where to Eat in London: Rita’s

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Rita’s | Lunch & Dinner | London Fields, Hackney | Website
– reservations available –

Birthday’s can either be ridiculously indulgent, or something you would rather forget about entirely. Clearly, I favour the former. In fact each year I have a ‘birthday week’. It’s not an original concept, but it’s something I like to spoil myself with…because if I can’t do it for my birthday, when can I? My ultimate form of indulgence is food, so in the lead up to my birthday I book myself into several of the best restaurants I have on my ‘to-visit’ list. This year Rita’s was one of them.

Rita’s is a tiny hidden gem in the heart of Hackney, whose subtle pink hues transcend their website into the restaurant itself. I arrived with five friends on a Tuesday evening, after making a reservation several days earlier. The restaurant was quiet and it did get busier during the evening, although it still wasn’t at full capacity. We were seated at the rear of the restaurant, close to the kitchen and bar. Some might say it was the perfect location. I would agree.

Even after several days of examining Rita’s menu, I still found myself unsure of what to have. Everything sounded amazing, and I didn’t want to commit to one dish. So after a cocktail (or two), we all decided to share some sides, and promised that we would allow each other to sample our individual dishes. Our waitress helped me finally decide on the Patty Melt Deluxe (a firm favourite at Rita’s) with a side of fried cheese. The fried cheese was soft with a crunchy outer, and was seasoned well with a mixture of salt and herbs. When my PMD arrived I was a little confused as to how such a casual looking dish could be so popular. That was until I took my first bite. The beef melted almost instantly in my mouth. For someone who so often suffers from food envy, I knew I had made the right decision. The onion marmite and bone marrow butter add a completely new dimension to the American staple. The PMD is decadently greasy and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish my meal. Thankfully the salty, crunchy ‘crispy fried crushed potatoes’ helped cleanse my palette, allowing me to go back for more. This would be my last meal request.

Of course we ordered dessert, although again we all had to seriously consider our options. In the end we all went for the Dulce de Leche Beignets…because, who wouldn’t? Mine arrived with a birthday candle, and was presented by the chef himself who proceeded to grate foie gras over top (yes I went for the additional foie gras). The beignets were light and crispy, with a generous helping of dulce de leche. Honestly I could only finish one, so I took the other home for later.

Would I visit again? Of course! Although I know I would go against my ‘try something new’ motto and have the Patty Melt Deluxe again…and again…and again. Granted I would mix it up a little, as I have my eye on the Oreo Pie!You can read more of my restaurant reviews on Zomato.