Sometimes a restaurant reads well on paper/press release, but just doesn’t cut the mustard in reality. Such was the case on a visit to Shoreditch’s newest restaurant and bar opening, Far Rockaway. Named after a neighbourhood in Queens, New York, Far Rockaway promised urban décor featuring art curated by Ben Oakley of Ben Oakley’s Gallery and Kevin Martin of Hoxton Gallery, with a New York food inspired menu.
The night I go is in the lead up to Christmas and the place is suitably busy. The walls are packed full of said urban-style art with dressed totem poles and murals all styled within a cavernous 400-capacity space. Now, I get what they are trying to do, but it was a chaotic mish mash. As art is subjective, I won’t linger on this. The vibe didn’t help things either – think All-Bar-One with the 20-somethings clientele to match. I was expecting something grittier with a bit of hipster chic, but it came across as a tacky gimmick.
But the most disappointing thing about Far Rockaway is the food. The menu has the expected burgers, pizzas and mac ’n cheese etc. My meal went from bland Rock Crab Cakes, which I will rename potato cakes with a hint of crab, to way too salty Slow Roasted Baby Back Cola Ribs, so over seasoned and sickly sweet that you couldn’t even distinguish the flavour of the meat – it said pork, but who knows? – its only saving grace was that it was really tender and the meat fell off the bone. This was served with a side of crinkle cut chips, which were not far off from Mc Cain chips, and relatively decent coleslaw. My friend didn’t fare much better with her choice of Parmesan Popcorn Shrimps and Rolfie’s Spicy Meatballs, both all right, but who wants ‘all right’ when the popcorn shrimps are £10?
Desserts were actually OK, and so too were the drinks (Purple Haze cocktail). I had the Vanilla Bourbon Cheesecake and my friend the namesake Chocolate Brownie, but by that point the disappointment of the meal had left a sour taste in both our mouths. I went when it had been open 6 weeks, so would have expected any kinks to have been ironed out by then. I really wanted to love this place – I didn’t, I was Far Rockaway from it.
Starters are between £6-£10, mains up to £24 and desserts £6-£7.
Food I Fancy dined as guests.
97-113 Curtain Road,
London, EC2A 3BS
Tel: 020 8305 3090