Screwdriver in Dalston: Simple Spanish-inspired dishes bursting with flavour
There’s a new Spanish-influenced restaurant in town and not enough people are talking enough about it – yet. Opened by the Ross brothers (Alexis and Emmanuel), Screwdriver is here to bring you the freshest produce, cooked up in an assortment of simple but delicious dishes. Their preferred cooking method is the grill, better known as “a la plancha” in Spanish: from prawns to peaches, the changing menu plays quite a bit with the technique, which more often than not manages to bring the best flavour out of every component.
The idea of Screwdriver – situated in the middle of the Dalston market, right in front of Kingsland station – was born from experiencing Spanish cuisine and cooking first-hand. The chefs’ year-long travels between San Sebastián and Vigo inspired the character of the menu, which brings honesty and simplicity to the table to provide a pleasant experience that respects the value and quality of the ingredients.
When it comes to the produce, the Ross brothers make sure to purchase all their vegetables and fruit from the Dalston market every day. The animal products, instead, are directly supplied by a long-established provider in central London, so you can be sure to expect the same sensation for your taste buds that you would get from better-known restaurants like Polpo (where, by the way, Alexis has previously worked).
Among the plates on offer at the time of our visit were green olives – which we sampled as starters – followed by a generous portion of Padrón peppers, accompanied by a nice glass of Red Boar Bobal (Galician wine) and an oaked cocktail with a sweet yet subtle taste, balanced with a touch of lemon. We also had the pleasure of trying a drier red from Catalonia and a second citric cocktail, The Driver, in which the cava bubbles and orange scent made for an incredible drinking experience.
Getting onto the main dishes, all of which were served in small tapas portions, we started out with the a la plancha chicory with garlic oil and grated manchego cheese, which was light and satisfying, offering a great combo of flavours.
The Mackerel with Beetroot and Radish Salad came right after and refreshed our palates. The fish was marinated and prepared in a way that really brought out the smooth buttery texture and fresh taste.
Another highlight of the night were the prawns brought to our table together with shaved courgette and fennel salad, which offered an understated celebration of high-quality ingredients. Prior to dessert we had to try the lamb chops, served with a parsley, lemon juice and brown anchovy sauce, a very interesting twist on salsa verde and a perfect match for the meat.
The Grilled Bellini (peaches) topped up the evening with a sweet and sour note, complemented by a soft, lightweight yet silky whipped cream. The fruits are kept in an almíbar of cava and sugar and then thrown directly onto the grill, creating a very nice contrast between flavours and temperatures.
If you are a sucker for Mediterranean or Spanish food and you find yourself in Dalston, do yourself a favour a visit Screwdriver. You won’t regret it.
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at Screwdriver, 23-25 Ridley Road London E8 2NP, call 07733 106567 or visit their website here.