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The Light Bar, Shoreditch: restaurant review

The early signs at this revamped post-industrial gem, housed in an enormous split-level former power station, suggest it could be one of the openings of 2021

What's the draw

While it's technically a new opening, The Light Bar's recent history goes back more than a decade: the venue's previous life was as club, bar and events space named The Light, one of the cornerstones of Shoreditch's nightlife scene its inception in the year 2000 until its untimely closure in the early 2010s. The incredible, three-storied building was formerly a railway power station built in the late 1800s, and comprises three distinct spaces, the Engine Hall, Copper Bar and Timber Loft, and the team behind its revival and revamp (originally planned for early 2020) have made sure to reference both of its former uses in the design and menus.

What to drink

There's a great cocktail list here, much of it that takes cues from a few of the characters of The Light, like The Light Negroni, a white negroni made with Suze, Cocchi vermouth and mezcal, with a wine-like dryness and lingering, lip-smacking bitterness. Wine-wise, a carafe of assyrtiko from winemaker Kir-Yianni in Greece is a snip at £22, fruit-forward and floral, but with enough of that trademark salinity to make it versatile enough for the food.

Dishes at The Light Bar
The post-industrial interior of The Light Bar

What to eat

Food is from chef Johnnie Collins, who made use of lockdowns to get better acquainted with self-sufficiency in the kitchen's supply chain, so some of the produce comes from his own garden. Elsewhere there's a balance of seasonality with dishes that are eclectic in influence: spring and summer dishes like giant radishes in a slick of verdant wild garlic mayo; cappelletti in a pool of rich, savoury brown crab and chilli butter; and the unlikely star of the show, a chip butty, laden with fat, crisp chip-shop-style chips, pickles and a golden pickle curry sauce, the likes of which will make The Light Bar just as viable a destination for quick solo lunch as a blowout.

Dishes from £4, wine from £5 by the glass; lightbarlondon.com

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