Two Lights comes from an illustrious pedigree: it is the sister to the Michelin-starred The Clove Club that made the list of World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2017.
This more laidback and casual sibling is located on Kingsland Road. The decor is minimal and unfussy, perfectly fitting within the context of Shoreditch. The name Two Lights is derived from Two Lights State Park in Maine, US, from where the chef/patron Chase Lovecky (formerly at TCC) is originally from. The focus of the menu is modern American-inspired food with playful twists. There is a short but perfectly curated wine list, although at £7 for a 125ml glass, we found it a tad pricey. A slightly more affordable drink option might be the sparkling cider from Normandy, which we discovered for a fiver.
We took advantage of their Set Lunch menu (two courses for £17, three for £20), kicking off with an ethereal Chilled Courgette Soup | Ricotta, Black Olives and Pickled Fennel
The courgette soup was simply delicious; mildly creamy and savoury from the ricotta, the white cheesy clouds contrasting against the lush green backdrop of the blitzed courgettes. Glistening, verdant and velvety that practically dissolves in your gob, with some thoughtfully-added elements to make it textural; it was a seriously amazing bowlful. I wish I could have had two helpings of it.
The other starter of Smoked Brisket Croquettes | Hot Mustard & Pickle were deep, meaty little morsels with a delicious chewiness and punch from the mustard. Only problem? They were tiny and gone in one gulp!
From the mains, I opted for the Crispy Duck Leg | Borlotti Beans & Pickled Cherries. It was definitely a very soothing dish, oscillating between crispy, tender meat and smooth, dense beans with a bit of bite. It was a nice, big plateful with the cherries adding much needed sourness and contrast, although I wasn’t sure where the American inspiration came from. On the whole, a good duck dish if not sensational.
We were more impressed by the Fish Finger Sandwich | Hot Sauce Mayo and Garden Tomatoes. Fresh crunchy coleslaw, vibrant tomato and soft, warming brioche bun, all hugging three crispy fish fingers (engorged with hunky pieces of cod) in between them. It all came together very well, evoking childhood memories of devouring fish fingers by the sea (in Kris’s case). We particularly enjoyed the fries that had a bit of kick to them.
But the standout dish of the meal was an unassuming side of Potato Rolls and Salted butter which comes complimentary with the set menu. It combines two of my favourite things in one! They make it by adding creamy mash to bread flour, resulting in a softer loaf. It was accompanied by some seriously saltilicous butter. Truly memorable stuff!
As an offshoot to a Michelin restaurant, expectations were clearly high and Two Lights didn’t disappoint with its creative and ambitious small plates. However whilst we were impressed, we were not immensely blown away. Possibly it’s because the set menu comes with its own set of compromises and some of the more enticing dishes are part of the a la carte. Having said that, I was glad to have ticked this off my must-visit restaurants in London.
Location : 28 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DA
Other restaurants worth checking in the area : Dirty Bones, Shoreditch