Hackney is no longer the home of just the latest cool pop-up. Today it’s brimming with a cornucopia of great restaurants, from authentic ramen joints to Michelin-starred restaurants that won’t break the bank. Here, we’ve rounded up the very best London’s so-called ‘coolest’ borough has to offer.
Any bona fide East Londoner will have booked in for one of Bistrotheque’s weekend piano brunches, where resident pianist Xavior accompanies your dishes with some pop hits on the ivories. Our favourite brunch dish? The soft shell crab benedict. Yum.
Undoubtedly one of East London’s top restaurants, Morito offers food inspired by the cuisines of southern Spain, northern Africa and the eastern Mediterranean – think of it as a holiday in the heart of Hackney. Book a table at the horseshow-shaped marble bar to watch and smell the magic happening in the open-kitchen. Top tip: the restaurant offers vegan Mondays so book in then to make the most of their dedicated plant-based menu.
One of our favourite restaurants in London, not just Hackney, LARDO is all about seriously good sharing plates and simple seasonal ingredients. Everything on the menu is delicious, from their famous pizzas to their moreish zucchini frittis. But it’s the menu of daily changing specials that really come into their own – if you ever spot their slow cooked rabbit pappardelle order it immediately.
Proving Michelin stars don’t have to mean blow the budget, Pidgin is one of Hackney’s foodie gems. What the location might lack in size, the plates make up for in flavour, as each week the team launch a new four-course tasting menu. Fun and seriously impressive fact: in the three years they have been open, they’ve not once repeated a single dish. All the more reason to keep going back.
Step inside this Clapton restaurant and you’ll be transported to what seems like a secret Shanghai bar with coloured lanterns, light up signs and even a washing line of traditional Chinese children’s clothes hanging above your head – sounds strange, but trust us, it works. The specials change daily – the cod cheek and squid ink dumplings are a must if on the menu – but we’d happily eat anything on their small, usual list. A special shout out must go to the pork belly dish – one of the best we’ve ever tasted. Charming, unique, but hard to get a table – so go early (or late) to avoid disappointment.
Is there a better way to nurse a hangover than with than a steaming bowl of spicy ramen? We think not, and Tonkotsu is one of the most authentic ones you’ll find in the capital. Can’t make it to Hackney? They also have restaurants in Battersea, Ealing, Soho and more. Top tip: you can purchase their killer chilli sauce to take home (and we highly recommend you do) to pimp salads, soups and everything in-between.
From the mouth-watering tuna sashimi to the miso aubergine skewers, Uchi’s menu is small but perfectly formed. Plus, the interiors are seriously Instagrammable – think clean lines, gold table tops and washed out wood.
There may only be a handful of tables at the Hai Café but nab one and you won’t be disappointed. This is some of the best and most authentic Vietnamese food you will find in the East End. A secret spot only true Hackney dwellers will know about.
Soho’s Ducksoup restaurant has a little sister in the form of Little Duck – The Picklery on Hackney’s Dalston Lane. Dedicated to all things fermented – how painfully on trend – the menu is simple, seasonal and good for your gut. All of the fermented products are made in-house and can be bought to take home too – ideal gifts to impress any foodie friends.
As the name might suggest, Mare Street Market is so much more than a foodie haunt. Go in to dine at the Open Kitchen – we rate the burrata with courgette, chilli jam and capers and the super succulent lamp chops – and come out with some flowers, interiors or even a record or two. Ideal for a Saturday browse on a rainy day. Their vegan, veggie and roast menus are also worth a shout out.
It’s rare to find a pub with food this good. The old-boozer-turned-hipster-hangout’s food menu can really hold its own thanks to the offering of sumptuous seasonal dishes. Their sharing pies are a favourite amongst regulars and you’d be mad not to book in for a Sunday Roast – without a doubt one of the best in London. Don’t believe us? It even got a thumbs up from hard-to-please food critic Jay Rayner.
Those with a penchant for pizza (well, that’s everyone then?) should head to Hackney’s Yard Sale for some of the best bases and toppings in town. So enthralled with the pizza joint are Hackney regulars that they brand even sell their own merch – niche but cool. Vegan and gluten-free options are available too and they’re on Deliveroo for lazy nights in front of the TV.