Broadway Market has long been an East London secret but like Hoxton and Shoreditch before it, it was bound to get out sooner or later. Which brings us to the March opening of Market Café – new project from Hugo Warner of benugo fame – and set right at the market’s heart.
It’s been inspired by those classic Italian Formica cafés of the 1950s and promises rustic Ital-Lon fare: steak and kidney pudd, jam donuts and honey ice cream homemade on the Hackney Downs sit alongside hand cut tagliatelles and truffled rabbit.
Divided between a 60 seat dining room and more informal bar and café, décor is all reclaimed tongue and groove, booth seating, aforementioned Formica tabletops and a vintage chocolate cabinet salvaged from an East End sweet shop.
Warner who has lived in Hackney for over 20 years has always been fascinated by the Formica Cafés. “They lubricated and nourished a whole postwar generation of writers, artists, musicians and crime lords and galvanized British cultural life,” he enthuses. “These were places where ordinary people could afford to eat and experience what was in its day exotic food – the first espresso based coffee and handmade ice cream.”
Chef James Adams (Canteen, Fifteen, St John and The River Café) will be working his magic on fresh and seasonal ingredients to create Market Café’s evolving menu and there’s even talk of a Market Café Butchers opening on a site nearby. Sorry Broadway, your days of anonymity are numbered…
Market Café, 2 Broadway Market, Hackney, E8, 0207 249 9070