Test Driving Manteca as it finds a permanent home in Shoreditch

Manteca Shoreditch restaurant reviewThe main dining room at Manteca

So, what do we need to know about Manteca?

Manteca's arrival in Shoreditch marks the end of a two-year journey for the team behind it. They started back in the summer of 2019 as 10 Heddon Street's first restaurant pop-up. Such was their success that months later they took on a much longer residency on Great Marlborough Street. But now they've found a permanent home in EC2. Heading up the team are chef Chris Leach (ex-Kitty Fishers) and David Carter from Smokestak.

Where is it?

You'll find it on Curtain Road, just off Great Eastern Street (it used to be a Pizza Express). The nearest station is Shoreditch overground, but Old Street's not far either.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

You've got the Mondrian just down the street with its various bars which is probably your best bet. But if you do start the night here then we had two cocktails from a short list (that's going to get longer soon) that we can recommend.

Manteca Shoreditch restaurant reviewLots of folk seemed to be ordering the negronis here - but this Pisco Punch and its boozy maraschino cherry hit the spot perfectly.

What's on the menu?

If you haven't been to either of Manteca's previous incarnations, then you should know that the menu focuses on nose to tail cooking, along with amazing homemade pastas, open fire cooking and homemade charcuterie.

We roamed most of the menu (with the exception of the salumeria) when we visited. Here's a taster of what we had:

Manteca Shoreditch restaurant reviewPig head fritti, pilacca, pickled celery (£5) - the fritti was great, but the pilacca (fried chilli pepper sauce) was even better.

Manteca Shoreditch restaurant reviewPig skin ragu, parmesan, crispy skin (£6) - double up on your piggy starters and scoop up the ragu with that giant pork scratching.

Manteca Shoreditch restaurant reviewClam flatbread (£8) - a perfectly formed, soft as a pillow flatbread all fishy and smoky. Who wouldn't want this?

Manteca Shoreditch restaurant reviewTonnarelli, brown crab cacio e pepe (£9.50 starter portion) - this is probably the dish you'll see most on Instagram and there's a reason for that - it's VERY good.

Manteca Shoreditch restaurant reviewMore of that pork put to good use - Saddleback pork with January cabbage and house miso (£29)

What about vegetarians or vegans?

There are plenty of interesting options kicking off with the wild farmed focaccia, and there's an apparently amazing kale salad along with house-made ricotta crostino. And two out of five pasta were veggie on our visit including this must-have:

Manteca Shoreditch restaurant reviewCappellacci di zucca, house-made amaretti (£9 starter portion) - sweet pumpkin filling matched with very moreish amaretti crumbles.

Room for dessert? 

We really must do better at leaving room, as our waiter seemed to be physically pained at the thought that we couldn't find room for the apple frangipane. But we did manage one of these between us.

Manteca Shoreditch restaurant reviewChocolate tart with whey caramel and olive oil (£7). This rustic tart had a perfectly thin, crisp base and we liked the fact that the whey for the caramel was a bi-product of the ricotta they make in house. You're practically saving the world by ordering this.

And the wine?

Roaming wine consultant Emily Acha Derrington is responsible for the two lists here. There's one covering the wine on tap, by the glass and carafe - and another that's split into classic and "down the rabbit hole". We needed a guide through that and were pointed towards the most wonderful organic Fiano from Luigi Maffini in Campagnia (£54).

Overall thoughts:

This is one of those restaurants where you genuinely can't decide what to have on the menu because everything sounds so enticing. Spoiler alert - it's every bit as good as it reads. Already an instant hit with its many fans, along with new Shoreditch guests, Manteca looks like it's going to settle down quite nicely here in EC2.


More about Manteca Shoreditch

Where is it? 49-51 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT

How to book: Book online

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @manteca_london.

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Manteca. Prices are correct at the time of publication.

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