Restaurant Review: Angelina, Dalston, London

by Amelia Oliver

In the trendy Dalston neighborhood of London, Angelina excels.

“Is this your first visit to Angelina?” the voice came from the next table. Normally I’d regard this as a pickup line but, not this time. I had been eyeballing the menu for some time to make sense of the 10-course menu with my partner. Then we had to decide whether to add the wine pairing to the experience.

The question is, “Are you new to Angelina?” The speaker at the next table. Usually I’d take a phrase like that as an attempt at a pickup, but not in this case. It took me a while to decipher the 10-course menu with my partner. The next step was to decide whether or not to complement the meal with a glass of wine.

I looked at Bernadette and said, “Er, yeah,” abruptly ending our argument. In response, Colin, who was sitting at the nearby table, replied, “I’m jealous.” For two hours, you will be experiencing the awe and wonder that comes with seeing something for the very first time.

They were here for the third time. Their two hours were over, and they were ready to move on to the grappa. I felt my excitement level rise as I met the gaze of those smiling eyes.

Two young people are Angelina’s owners. Former player Joshua Owens-Baigler and lifelong friend Amar Takhar are both from the area and have known each other since they were little. Josh said that his father often took the family out to eat at Japanese and Italian restaurants. Usman Heyden, formerly of Ottolenghi, was stolen as their head chef. Still, the thought occurred to me: I wonder how precisely one combines Japanese and Italian dishes.


It was unclear to me how to feel when we first went in, since the atmospheres of a restaurant and a café are so different.

After a short while, we came to the conclusion that this is a cafe-style casual restaurant. The sleek black exterior conceals a stark white interior with unadorned tables, chairs, and walls except for paper lanterns adorned with Japanese characters.

Despite its laid-back demeanor, it manages to seem chic and modern.

Food & Drink

We went with the most extensive option: a 10-course meal of small appetizers paired with wine.

As the first course, a glass of Franciacorta Coupe Non-Dosato, Italy’s equivalent to Champagne, was presented. Made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this Lombardy nectar is as lively as it is delicious.

This tantalizes our taste buds in anticipation of the deep-fried artichokes, which are crunchy on the outside and tender and flavorful on the inside. There were two types of bread that arrived: one with creamy ricotta and the other with tuna Nduja, a mixture made of ground pork and fiery chili peppers.

The chawanmushi went well with that. Similar to crème brulee, this Japanese dish is steamed with eggs and then flavored with savory additions like sausage, tarragon oil, and ikura (Japanese salmon roe). The ingenuity of this opulent mashup made me raise an eyebrow.

The sea bream with marrow fat pea foam and wakame was accompanied by a glass of Asterias Tempa Di Zoe, Fiana, Capania, 2019, a light, dry white (seaweed). The highlight of the meal was this. And then there was this surprise wasabi kick at the finish, and the flavor waves just kept coming.

In this case, two Cornish Rock oysters were served chilled with yuzu granita and fried in sweet onion. These went down smoothly, but the flavors and finish lingered.

Egg yolk is the hidden ingredient in the ravioli pouch that comes with the asparagus and truffle meal. When asked what makes this meal uniquely Italian, Josh said, “Fresh pasta,” while also praising the dish’s use of Japanese dashi stock as a key flavoring ingredient. Approximately one hour is spent curing the yoke in soy sauce.

Zero Infinito, a wine made from the Solaris grape in the hilly area of Trentino, was chosen to complement the Pea Wasabi and the seasoned panko tongue. The sediment in this unfiltered wine gives it a pale straw color.

Pork belly and scallops, the heaviest dish, are an imaginative surf and turf in a subtle sauce. We recommend a Del Kiel Manincor red wine from Alto Adige, Italy, that is created from the Shiava vine. Chilled, this wine had a strawberry color and a delicious flavor.

Dessert was a somewhat jiggly pannacotta topped with shiso sorbet and prepared with egg whites, milk, cream, sugar, and gelatin. It’s lovely that Josh’s mom plants shiso, a Japanese herb of the mint family, on her roof. The average price of one of these leaves is four pounds, which, in soccer terms, is like scoring a goal in the back of the net.


This meal was genuinely two hours’ worth, with a few whoas thrown in, if you can describe the quality of a meal with oohs and aahs. An absolutely delightful evening, and I have no doubt that my partner and I will run across Colin again.

Download Angelina’s menu here

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