What's the draw
Despite being slap-bang in the middle of Shoreditch, Forge & Co is remarkably free from hipster beards. Instead you'll find a one-room restaurant subtly divided into bar, lounge and dining areas, all of which are chic, not pretentious. Food comes from head chef Timothy Brindley, whose CV boasts stints at the Tom Aitkens group and Caprice Holdings.
What to drink
Twisted takes on classics reign supreme: we opted for the Bethnal Green Blitz, a negroni made with grapefruit, and the chamomile sour, a delicate concoction of cachaça, lemon and cucumber. Both were delicious, and worked excellently as aperitifs. The wine list is solid, if a bit unexciting, and we were well served by a good house Borsao garnacha that complemented our mains.
What to eat
We'll cut to the chase: the homemade ricotta with truffled honey, grilled poached pear and sourdough is unmissable, although other starters worth noting include mushroom and truffle mac 'n' cheese, seared mackerel with beetroot, and steak tartare. Mains revolve around the restaurant's 'modern grill' concept, with a menu based on tasty, generous portions of meat and fish. We devoured the fillet of beef with bubble and squeak and mushroom ragout, and the wild sea bass with courgette and pistachio risotto was pretty good, too. If you've got room afterwards – we didn't, but we took one for the team and had dessert anyway – try the vanilla cheesecake; it comes with a zingy lemon sorbet that cuts right through all that richness.
Dinner and drinks for two, around £90. Forge & Co., 154-158 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6HU; forgeandco.co.uk.