Stevie Parle’s JOY at Portobello | Eat & Drink
After closing Dock Kitchen in 2017, Stevie Parle made a return to Portobello Docks with the all new JOY pop-up. Created in collaboration with Tom Dixon, the space includes a bar, a 70-seat outdoor restaurant called FLORA, a Canterbury’s The Goods Shed farm store, an Unchartered Wines bottle store and a honey shop with Parle’s own beehives.
FLORA herself occupies the outdoor patio which has been filled with hundreds of dahlias and flower arrangements created by Arthur Parkinson and Caroline Nevile, using flowers that would have been used at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. Not bad at all to be on a sunny day in London! In West London, you might even see the strange celebrity popping up from behind a flowerpot – we were dining next to none other than Kevin Spacey when we visited.
The menu is a simple, stripped-down affair, with seasonal produce from The Goods Shed processed without much fanfare. An outdoor grill is responsible for much of the cooking, with the smoky smell of fish, meat, and vegetables quickly filling the air. All this makes the choice of dishes quite difficult, but we can absolutely recommend the clams cooked with fresh peas and guanciale as a go-to starter. The watermelon, feta, fresh chili and mint salad is another good choice, ticking the fresh and light boxes, although it was potentially a bit too heavy on the watermelon ratio (unless you really love watermelon).
The star of the dish has to be the chicken, cooked over wood and stuffed with ricotta – the new potatoes and smoked butter are the obvious sidekicks. There’s also an excellent pork chop, served with anchovies and plums, as well as grilled sea bass in romseso, which are two good options for the main course. Finish with the American plum pie and you are sure to be delighted.
At the end of your meal, you’ll be able to spread the joy by adding the cost of a box of vegetables to your bill, which JOY will then donate to local charities. An excellent initiative.
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Portobello Dock, 344 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5BU