* UPDATE 160716: The restaurant has not been attracting enough customers so owner Byron Knight is drawing on his time as a co-founder of Beavertown Brewery to establish a microbrewery in a corner of Pond’s large interior. A tap room in which people can drink the ales on site will be featured. Producing craft beer in NE London is a crowded business niche. But Knight has some experience
ALOHA! The troubled Gillett Square project is about to be given welcome succour by, of all things, a Hawaiian restaurant.
Byron Knight, one of the businesspeople behind Off Broadway, Beavertown Brewery, Duke’s Brew and Que, is busy supervising the fitting-out of a large premises at the end of an alley on the northwestern edge of the square.
Pond Dalston will, he says, be a resto offering “New Hawaiian Cuisine” when it opens around the end of this month, August 2014.
The old cuisine must have passed most of us by – the new, he says, means whole catfish with citrus ponzu, charcoal avocado with macadamia salted coconut cream and pork with pickleback slaw. The dishes come from Hawaii’s
main immigrant communities, Chinese, Japanese and Filipino, but here cooked in a European way.
Seafood dominates the menu but Loving Dalston is told that despite its fleshy look vegetarians, and Muslims and Jews, will not go hungry. Let’s hope for the sake of for head chef Frog Wong they don’t all turn up to the same Saturday-night sitting.
General manager Rian Holland tells Loving Dalston that Knight discovered Hawaiian food when he lived in America’s 50th state and noticed the fusion of different cultures and their food.
Holland says: “It produced a good mix, just as it did in Indonesia when the Dutch were there.
“Byron took the cuisine back to the US and now he’s bringing it across the ‘Pond’, hence the name.
Somehow the the Pacific has been overlooked in that narrative, but never
mind, a restaurant with at least 60 places will be a boost for the square if scenesters take to it.
Almost 10 years of support from local business organisations, a short-lived link called the Dalston Hub and lately help from the Barbican have failed to overcome the area’s image as a haven for derelict people.
The promoters have announced Pond as “London’s first New Hawaiian Restaurant”, which is pushing it. Mahiki, anyone?
Still, businesses in Gillett Square will be hoping that Pond goes… well, swimmingly. And if it does, “the plan,” says Holland, “is to open another Pond in the US”.
David Altheer 230814
* Pond Dalston restaurant, Stamford Works, Gillett Street Dalston N16 8JH (020 3772 6727)
* Backstory: Can jazz give cred to Gillett Square?
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.