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Barge East restaurant awarded two AA Rosettes for culinary excellence

Hackney Wick’s floating Dutch barge has been recognised with two rosettes in the UK’s oldest nationwide restaurant awards as it launches two new menus this spring.

Hackney Wick’s sustainable floating restaurant, Barge East, has been awarded two AA Rosettes for culinary excellence. 

After an undercover visit from a mystery AA inspector, the team at Barge East was left waiting for a nervous two weeks to hear the outcome of the inspection. 

Upon hearing the news, founder and owner Stuart Thomson aka Tommo, said: ‘We’re really amazed and delighted about the award which is a testament to the high-quality food we’ve been serving for the last four years.

‘The award is specifically a food-based award, so it’s a really special hats off to our chef, Stefano Camplone. 

‘There aren’t many other restaurants in the area that have Rosettes so it really places us in the upper echelons of London’s dining scene.’ 

Barge East’s casual fine-dining menu of seasonal British cuisine features the best of local produce, with every starter and main dish including at least one ingredient grown in the Barge East gardens which boast 40 different varieties of herbs and vegetables.

The AA Rosette award, first awarded in 1956, was the first nationwide scheme for assessing the quality of food served by restaurants and hotels.

Though it is difficult to equate the scoring of AA Rosettes and Michelin Stars, it is generally thought that one Michelin star roughly equates to 2.5 – 3.5 AA Rosettes. 

Only seven restaurants across London have been awarded five Rosettes, which is the maximum number an establishment can achieve. Barge East’s Hackney Wick neighbour, Cornerstone, holds three.

There aren’t many other restaurants in the area that have Rosettes so it really places us in the upper echelons of London’s dining scene

TOmmo Stuart Thomson

The setting for the restaurant is a lovingly-restored 120 year-old Dutch Barge which was sailed over from Holland four years ago and now finds itself moored on the River Lee in Hackney Wick

On top of winning the award, changes are afoot onboard Barge East this March. The restaurant is expanding its menu to make it more flexible and accessible to a wider variety of budgets. 

As well as the existing four-course set menu, next week it is introducing an a la carte menu so customers can choose to have just one or two dishes, or a six-course tasting menu for those who really want to push the boat out. 

But if you’re stuck for choice we hear the ham hock and pistachio terrine, market fish and sticky toffee pudding were the trio of dishes that wowed the AA inspector. Surely there’s no better recommendation than two AA Rosettes? 

If you enjoyed this piece, you might like our food review of Lanterna in Fish Island. 

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