After opening late last year, Two Lights has quickly risen to the top of London’s food scene.
Their ‘fishtail hanging out of a white bread sandwich’ dish made them Insta famous, but their continued success (like making it into the top 100 list of British eateries at the National Restaurant Awards) has come from more than purely photogenic and quirky-looking food.
This is thanks to head chef Chase Lovecky, who has run the kitchen at Michelin-starred Clove Club for quite some many years now. This high-end East London haunt has been praised over and over again for its creative, surprising, and refreshingly laid-back dining experience.
And Two Lights mimics much of this. But instead of experimenting with British cuisine, Lovecky plays with more modern American flavours.
Take the crab on a beef fat chip for example. You get one large Lego block shaped deep fried potato chip topped with fresh crab, mayo and pickled elderflower. This bite-sized crunchy pillow of goodness is the perfect amuse-bouche for an evening of unusual flavour combinations and light hearted cooking.
The highly processed white bread sandwich filled with a crispy prawn cake, Yuzu mayonnaise and Thai basil just explodes with salty, creamy and fishy deliciousness, too.
It’s like a fancy fillet ‘o’ fish but so much more Moorish and special. Ordering a bucket full of these to your door on a hungover Sunday morning would be the total definition of luxury living in our minds. Just imagine. Next up is the massive whole roast artichoke, which has been slightly burnt and blistered for that extra smoky something, something.
Get your hands dirty with this one, scraping the fleshy innards off with your teeth, dipping it in and out of the sunflower seed and miso sauce.
The ritual of eating artichokes is always much loved, and this slightly Asian pairing just makes it that extra bit fresh and cleansing. Continue this hands-on eating experience by tucking into their famous fatty lamb ribs served with a good dollop of goat’s curd and caper sauce. The meat is cooked to perfection and the fat holds a huge pocket of salty, greasy and buttery flavour. Mop up all the drippings with some of their potato bread and prepare for the larger main dishes to come forth.
The marinated pork chops with hoy smoked tomatoes, bacon and mustard are reminiscent of a big ham hock dish you’d get in a beer house in Prague but is much lighter thanks to the tender lamb. And they don’t mess about with portions here. You’ll get a hefty pile of meat with this one.
The piece de resistance would have to be the roasted pollock. It is paired with a really unusual sauce made with mushrooms and brown butter. It was like a beef stroganoff but with fish – we said you’d be surprised. The heavy umami flavours perfectly balance the mild fish, while the peas and potatoes add a bit more colour and texture to the dish.
We had to order more bread for this dish, unable to let the plate leave the table with any remnants of that delicious mushroomy sauce. Oof!
All this delicious food works alongside some really well chosen wines and an eternally upbeat set of staff who help foster that relaxed atmosphere without losing the luxury elements.
Lovecky manages to blend his unconventional approach to cooking with unstuffy and care free sentimentalities – which almost seem tailor made for Shoreditch. It’s no wonder he has been leading the way in reinventing the East London dining scene, allowing for the likes of Lyle’s, Brat, and St Leonards to settle in the area as well.