Westfield Stratford City is a polarising place. It’s always busy and filled with fairly happy people, so it must be doing something right. But that also means it can be a nightmare finding somewhere to eat amid the packed food court. That’s why an invitation to dine on the third floor of the Hyatt Stratford hotel piqued my interest. I generally loathe shopping centres – get me in and out of there in five minutes before I lose all sense of direction and fall on the floor in despair – so a bit of lunch doesn’t go amiss when there are errands to be run.
The Elondi Restaurant, Bar and Terrace is part of the hotel, which is located right outside Westfield. That doesn’t make it any less of a pain to find, of course. My dining partner and I were ten minutes late as we swerved between latte booths and crowds carrying ice cream. But the contrast with the food court was remarkable. At lunchtime on a Sunday, it was completely empty. Respite.
The restaurant has a bit of an Art Deco vibe. Bold colours on the comfy seats are set off by a backdrop of ultramarine blue. The lunch spot – if it can be called that – has a cracking array of cocktails, including alcohol-free ones. Their English spritz, made with Gusbourne English sparkling wine, is a winner. Take a deep sip and you forget you’re basically sitting in Westfield. I had a lychee martini – one for sweet-tooths like me.
For starters, the aubergine salad was super-tangy and fresh with a healthy dose of pomegranate and pistachio. Not boring, to say the least. I was still feeling the impact of a birthday party in Camberwell the night before. There are two ways to deal with a hangover: go worthy, or go debauched. I tried to go worthy, choosing salad. My dining partner tucked into a scotch egg, which was probably a wiser choice – a decadent interior and a very crispy, crunchy exterior. Just what the doctor ordered – probably one about to be struck off.
I’m experiencing a trend with these recent London restaurant trips: spot-on starters but disappointing mains. The Elondi’s rigatoni, complete with burrata, was on the bland side, in contrast to the zingy salad that came before it. I found myself reaching for the pepper mill and grinding furiously to add some flavour. The steak though, was simple but well-cooked.
This isn’t a particularly bargainous lunch on a shopping day – the sirloin was £28 while my rigatoni was £16 – even though you get rather posh cutlery, if that’s your thing. So if you go you might skip the main and jump to the lemon posset, presented in a jar with crumbly shortbread biscuits. It’s a hard dish to get wrong, but these example was excellent nonetheless. Tart and creamy. There are few better combinations.
The Elondi’s terrace overlooks a rather large shed, but also offers a view of Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We caught the only five minutes of sun that day with coffee and homemade iced tea. To find the restaurant, don’t go through the shopping centre and ignore Google Maps, which is useless. Instead, approach via the main street around Transport for London’s 5 Endeavour Square head office.
The slightly empty Elondi deserves to be fuller. The food is good, the drinks even better. Stop for a cocktail on the terrace and see if you fancy their lunch menu while you’re there. Afterwards, If you don’t want to return to the retail chaos, there is to the park to wander. And for now, enjoy the calm of this yet-to-be discovered dining oasis.
Josiah Mortimer is chief reporter for Byline Times and writes occasional food and drink reviews for On London on the side. Follow him on X/Twitter. If you value On London‘s output, become a supporter or a paid subscriber to editor and publisher Dave Hill’s Substack. Thanks.