Review: Towpath String Quartet Dinner
A good day for ducks it was, and not in the rain sense. Those lucky fellas on the Dalston stretch of the Regents Canal got to listen to beautiful classical music from a String Quartet as the sun set on last Friday evening. Towpath? String Quartet Dinner? Ducks? Ok, let me start from the beginning.
Towpath is a cute, very urban and achingly hip new-ish café on a stretch of the canal in Dalston. It’s space is tiny, just barely containing the counter, coffee machine, and essential bits like that. Another adjacent cubby hole houses some tables and a blackboard menu, and tables and chairs line the canal. Owned and run by Italian-American food writer Lori De Mori and her husband, food photographer Jason Lowe, expectations were high, but having previously enjoyed lunches there, I was sure it would be a nice evening.
What’s not to like? Good coffee, decent wine, good food, and you eat it all by the canal. A London canal I know, friend to many a shopping trolley but also a friend of mine. I miss the water having grown up next to the sea, and find myself down there a lot, walking to Victoria Park or sipping and dining at Towpath.
Last week, while waiting to be served I overheard a conversation about a looming String Quartet Dinner. My ears pricked like a cat, and when it was my turn to be served, I enquired after some spaces, afraid it was booked out. My luck was in, and that was how I found myself dining there last week. Well, clearly, I wouldn’t be writing this otherwise, now would I?
Dinner started at 7pm, the day was still bright, the air warm and starting to crisp. The String Quartet played as the sun started to set. Fresh and bright radishes and turnips with a mayo dip and Tuscan red wine kept us company as we listened on the water on a little – well it was almost like a tall raft with tables and chairs on top.
At 8ish we sat down and the String Quartet took a break. We were at a communal table perched at the end by an apple tree (on the canal!) and a roaring fire in one of those barbecue barrels. The table was set with gorgeous mismatched vintage crockery and tablecloths.
We started with a globe artichoke each with butter vinaigrette. Simple, lovely and soaking up the creamy, rich, slippery butter vinagrette.
Fish pie for mains was as good a fish pie that I have ever had. Served family style with large fish pies to share, we were very happy to get the biggest, greedy lot that we are. The eggs in the pie were perfect, not quite hard boiled, the sauce light, and the fish extremely fresh. The mash was fluffy and crisp on top. We had with it some beetroot and yellow beans, and I felt healthy. Until I had more wine.
The String Quartet started again, and we had more wine (why not, eh?), and chatted and warmed ourselves by the fire. September was here now. A perfect Tarte Tatin with cream arrived, and summed up exactly what Towpath is about. Good food, cooked well in lovely surroundings. So relaxing too.
And that was that. £30 a head, wine was £24 a bottle for the red with options of red, white, prosecco or rosé. Service was charming and so friendly, even allowing us seconds of the Tarte Tatin. The only thing that my evening missed was perhaps a pinch of some dessert wine, to go with the lovely Tarte Tatin.
You know, it even makes me smile to write this, and think about what a lovely evening Friday was. I do hope they do it again. If they do, I highly recommend that you check it out.