Food: ★★★★☆ Service: ★★★★☆ Atmosphere: ★★★☆☆ Value: ★★★☆☆ Overall: ★★★★☆
Rita’s fried chicken has long been on my radar after I sampled some of their goods at the Tobacco Docks FEAST some months ago, so it was with great pleasure that I found out they had set up permanent digs near London Fields. And with fried chicken must naturally come waffles – a dish that Rita has not failed to include on their short but quite intriguing menu.
Thanks to @spparkle, I made my way to Rita’s Bar & Dining one slightly chilly Sunday for an Unconventional Breakfast with a host of other Yelpers. Thanks to her excellent skills, she had managed to negotiate a couple of extra tables as a bunch of late joiners realised the allure of fried chicken and waffles and turned up at the last minute. So we crowded in (and took over half the place) to test out the menu – who am I kidding, there was only one dish that we were here for!
London Fields is host to a number of cool bars so you can take your pick. There is a little café near the station that does cocktails in the evenings or go further down Mare street for a host of pubs/bars (the names of all of which escape me given my usual level of inebriety when I’m there on a weekend). There are also a couple of breweries (such as the London Fields Brewery) which serve up their own product in the tap-room and are definitely worth a look.
What to eat?
This should be no surprise, but our focus was the chicken & waffle for £11. For that you get two thin crunchy waffles, a boned chicken thigh fried in a more traditional batter, and a small wing accompanied by a side of honey and one of white gravy.
The waffles themselves were tasty on their own and spectacular with the honey drizzled over it. While I tend to like a fluffier waffle for breakfast, in this case the thinner waffle was better suited to being speared along with a chunk of tender chicken. The use of chicken thigh gives you a juicer, more flavourful bit of bird but it falls short in size to really fill you up. Given that thigh is also a cheaper cut, I’m a bit surprised Rita’s doesn’t double up on the meat and up the price by a quid or two. I’d happy pay £12-13 if I felt full at the end and it’s damn tasty stuff.
I finished off the meal instead with a ‘Rita pie which was a chocolate torte on this particular day. A light shortcrust pastry held in a semi-molten dark chocolate filling which was spot on. The mix of the harder set base and the creamier ganache on top was delightful and it did present a nice end to the meal. Although I’m not prone to including desserts with my breakfast, this was to be an unconventional one after all.
How about drinks?
Keeping in the theme, I opted for something out of my comfort zone and got the “green juice” which is a blend of green stuff – avocado & kale among other things. It was refreshing and I’d even go so far as to say tasty but the shreds of kale leant a chewy texture to the juice that I could have done without. If you are a “pulp” drinker when it comes to OJ, I imagine you’ll be fine with this too but it wasn’t for me.
Others in the group went for the pink lemonade which was a brilliant colour and full of fresh lemony flavour. Next time I’ll be going for this too!
Worth the dosh?
For £11, it was borderline but given the tastiness I’ll go with yes. I’d have preferred some more chicken but the flavour combination of the savoury chicken, slightly sweet waffle, and the drizzled honey was excellent. All in, for waffle, drink, and pie it came to around £18pp which is slightly steep for breakfast but perfectly reasonable for a brunch.
Find Rita’s Bar & Dining here
175 Mare St, London, E8 3RH
020 3096 1530