Moio in Stoke Newington: A creative and cosy journey through Europe
Moio is the new addition to the very eclectic Stoke Newington food scene. Exploring European cuisine, they operate based on a seasonal menu that varies according to the ingredients available. The intention of the restaurant is none other than providing a cosy environment for the local community, in which everyone can feel welcome and enjoy a homemade, traditional dish with a twist. The founders, chef João Ferreira Pinto and sommelier Carolina W Seibel, have managed to translate their years of fine-dining experience into a more relaxed, edgier environment, maintaining an exquisite presentation and a great dose of creativity.
After sitting down and admiring the peculiar pipe-shaped shelves that hang from the walls throughout the open kitchen, we were welcomed by Carolina, who served up some seeded bread with coffee butter, fresh and sweet, quite an unexpected flavour but still a great combo to start with. As we normally do, we followed the recommendations of the chef, who guided us through the menu, picking some of the signature dishes for the evening. All Moio’s starters are designed for sharing, so we definitely advise the first-comers to select two to three of them. With the plates being so small in size, texture played an important role in each bite, providing the perfect example of how João combines European culture with high (standard) cuisine. Don’t miss out on the Portuguese morcela with soft plum cream and the red carrot salad; it was strong yet fresh and perfect to snack on and prepare our palates for the stronger mains.
We then enjoyed a delicious, crispy tomato salad with cheese ice-cream, the salty creaminess of it being the clear highlight – a go-to on a summery day. The marinated scallops arrived right after over a bed of savoury buttermilk panna cotta, fast to disappear from the plate and probably the easiest aperitifs we’ve had to rate in a long time: soft in the mouth yet complex in flavours, with a delicate spray of raspberry powder that gives the dish a beautiful pink finish.
For the mains, we had the pleasure of tasting the seafood barley with spicy bisque and seaweed, great for fans of prawns and for anyone that misses the taste of the sea; smooth on the top and runny on the inside, a truly unique design with a homey flavour. Secondly, we got to savour the slow-cooked short rib, which was prepared to perfection – not too rare, not too well-done – and directly sourced from North Yorkshire.
We accompanied all the food with an excellent Portuguese red reserve, Quinta da Romaneira, full of personality and layered flavours. Great for those looking for a drink with character and for anyone that feels like ordering the slow-cooked rib, or any other of their meat options.
The chef took the time to introduce us to each of the mains and desserts we ordered. The most memorable facts he shared were the places he sources some of his ingredients from, including Sicily for the heirloom tomatoes or Sweden for the raspberries, and as close as Hackney Downs for the wild flowers you’ll find in some of his creations.
Although we didn’t have much room left by the end of the meal, we couldn’t resist tasting the restaurant’s dessert specialities: the Queijinho de Azeitão and the chocolate lavender tart with melon and lime sorbet, the first being the more surprising of the two. Imagine the taste of a solid, egg-based dessert with a crunchy almond-based and mix that with the contrast of the bitter raspberries covered in sprinkles of salt – simple and incredible.
Moio is without a doubt one of the best new restaurant choices in East London. It’s a fantastic stop for the locals and a worthy commute for anyone who enjoys embarking on an exploratory dining adventure.
Photos: Diogo Cruz
To book a table at Moio, 188 Stoke Newington High Street Clapton London N16 7JD, call 020 7923 7119 or visit their website here.