Patrick Powell is a chef with pedigree, having spent four years as head chef at London’s hot restaurant ticket Chiltern Firehouse and before that having worked at top places including L’Ecrivain in Dublin and with Anthony Demetre at Wild Honey, so it was no surprise that Harry Handelsman, the man behind Chiltern Firehouse, wanted him to head up Allegra at his Manhattan Loft Gardens project within The Stratford Hotel.
What is surprising given all this is just how good value it is to eat at Powell’s high-rise restaurant, with his eight-course tasting menu under £60 and the accompanying wine pairing a similar price (a more expensive menu is available). For cooking of the quality on offer at Allegra, this isn’t just a steal, it’s a full-blown bank heist.
For something a bit more casual there's also Happy Burger, Allegra's summer pop-up on its rooftop serving Oklahoma-style burgers, fried chicken and fried fish sandwiches as well as oysters.
There are more reasons to make the trip to Stratford, not least Allegra’s super slick interior (you would expect nothing less from someone responsible for the interiors of Chiltern Firehouse and the beautiful Booking Office at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in King's Cross) that feels a million miles away from the Westfield shopping centre hubbub on its doorstep. With a bar and outside rooftop terrace open in the summer, there a few finer places to dine al fresco in the capital, let alone East London.
Despite Powell’s pedigree and Allegra appearing on this list, the restaurant remains a hidden gem, with its somewhat incongruous location amid the hoards of shoppers for Foot Locker, Popeyes et al keeping it off people’s radars. But all that can be avoided by eschewing the tube and the resulting schlep through Westfield and taking an overground train to Stratford International (one stop out of St Pancras). The restaurant is opposite the station. You’re welcome.