The East End is now quite rightly firmly established as the new foodie centre of London. It probably all started way back with Henderson and Gulliver but then really took off a few years ago with Viajante (unfortunately no longer open), a Michelin star in Bethnal Green was unheard of before Nuno Mendes arrived; The Clove Club, Ten Bells, Cat & Mutton, Royal Oak, Lyle’s, The Typing Room, Ritas, all followed and the list goes on.
The latest & much anticipated addition, The Mission, opened this week and is set to strengthen that reputation and also set a new benchmark for caterers in the area. The brainchild and second venue of Charlotte & Michael – Sager & Wilde the Mission is a California inspired wine bar and kitchen. Both drinking and dining are relaxed, informal and professional. Charlotte and Michael have created a contemporary, comfortable and accessible space equally at home for a single person dropping in for a glass of wine and some nibbles, meet your mates, boozy dinner or get together, this ain’t the place for a romantic dinner or holding hands there’s just too much going on and you won’t be able to hear her say “I do”.
The Mission features open-plan dining, a terrace, space for drinkers, a mezzanine function/private room and long bar. Decor is simple and the set up works really well. Charlotte and Michael have taken the successful formula from their wine bar Sager & Wilde in Hackney, together with their love of and work in California to create The Mission. The most impressive thing about both outlets is the wine list. Just putting this list together is a lifetimes work of sipping, sniffing and spitting out! There must be 50 different wine suppliers! Like at the Sager & Wilde the wine service is superb; Reidel glasses, wines treated with respect, right temperature, attention to detail, modern decanters, and presentation but served without pretence, not stuffy and absolutely no snobbism. In keeping with the Californian theme wines from Napa and Sonoma feature strongly including Anthill, Rudd Estate and Kistler vineyards. Outside California there is great selection of very well-chosen wines from all over Europe including a strong showing of super Tuscans, Rhones from Clape and Jamet and Burgundy from Ramonet, Dujac and Leflaive. You could drink a different wine here every day and never get bored or get to the end of the list, new bottles arrive all the time. Unlike most wine lists there is no plonk, no padding or window dressing and mark ups are very reasonable. Yes you can spend £800 on a bottle of Romanee Conti but you don’t have to drink outside your budget to taste some exceptional, unusual and delicious wines. The list also includes 24 wines available by the glass.
The Mission also serves a selection of great house cocktails, artisan beers and awesome coffee.
Unlike Sager & Wilde the Mission has a great new kitchen and a great new chef. (Sweet Baby) James de Jong, formerly of The Drapers Arms, has opened with a fresh, ingredient led menu that is very “now”. He is creating trends not chasing them and many of the other “celebrity” chefs in the area have already been in to check out what he is up to. His food is honest, low on frills strong on flavour. There are no dehydration units, rotary evaporators, water baths or sodium alginate in this kitchen cooking techniques are traditional, flavours intense, presentation casual but dynamic.
Menus at The Mission cater for all sorts….. there is Brunch, Granola and Bacon Sarnie for sure but also Soft Polenta & Girolles for the more adventurous, all day bar snacks include anchovies, charcuterie and cheese board but also Crispy Pigs Head £6 or Artichoke with Bagna Cauda £7.50
The dinner menu really gives James the chance to showcase his cooking. The current menu features Octopus, Farro, Tomato & Aoili £8.50, Salt Ox Cheek, Lentils & Salsa Verde £14, Grouse, Liver Toast & Fig £25. There are also hot sharing dishes for 2 or more, desserts include Buttermilk Pudding, Peaches & Cantucci £5.50 and Dulche de Leche Cheesecake £6.00. Like the wine list prices are good value and portions are just right.
I dined at the bar, without doubt the best place to be, had to have the Roast Grouse which was perfectly cooked (and I am quite fussy) and drank 2002 Cigare Volante which was in perfect condition and every sip just amazing. Next to me were a couple of foodie/wine collumnists on a research mission sipping and slurping a very generous caravan of wines with lots of mumbled “wows” and “ummms” whilst chowing their way through most of the bar menu. By 7.30 the place was full and buzzing!
The staff here are relaxed, approachable and know what they are doing. ‘Nuff said!
The Mission is open Mon-Fri 12-12 | Sat & Sun 10-12
Bookings by telephone: 02071231234
or via the website: http://www.missione2.com/
205 Paradise Row, London, E2 9LE
Nearest tube: Bethnal Green