What? Mason & Company is the creation of Ed Mason, founder of Hackney’s Five Points Brewing Company and Rachel Jones, founder of street food Capish?
New? It opened last year as part of the new developments on Hackney Wick’s canalside. Mason & Company is one of eight new restaurants/bars/shops along the canal, which are all part of Here East’s innovation campus.
Where? 25 East Bay Lane, Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E15 2GW, www.masonandcompany.co.uk
On the Menu: What you get when you fuse together Italian and American cuisines…think Italian poutine, meatball subs and Italo fries available with Jalapeño salsa, basil aioli or chipotle mayo. On the drinks front it’s all about craft beers and ales including Five Points Pale and Railway Porter.
First Impressions: My journey from the station to the restaurant involved walking through what felt like, well, no man’s land, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that the restaurant was quite empty for a Friday night (all the restaurants along the canal were the same). Still, this didn’t diminish my expectations and certainly, once the area gains more recognition, I have no doubt the restaurants will all flourish.
The Look: Light, bright, clean and simple. I’m a sucker for minimal design so I particularly loved the tiled wall with beer taps (about 20 or so) arranged in a wavy pattern. The wooden tables and booths give the restaurant almost a diner feel – fitting for the cuisine.
What We Ate: We started with the meatloaf corndogs and the cacio e pepe spaghetti bites. The corndogs were lightly battered and flavoured with sage, so a little more refined than what you’d find in an American fairground, plus they came with a chipotle mayo which added a nice level of heat. The cacio e pepe spaghetti bites were great – what’s there not to love about fried spaghetti? They could’ve done with a little more cheese, but I like my cheese strong anyway and again, fried spaghetti…I’m not complaining.
Portion sizes were like that of America but despite approaching full just after starters, we ploughed on. The 45 day-aged steak ‘braciole’ stuffed with garlic, parsley, pecorino and chilli was beautifully tender, sandwiched between brioche buns with taleggio cheese, pickled red onions and aioli, it was an absolute winner of a burger. The eggplant parm could have, as before, done with some stronger cheese but the nuttiness of the kale worked well with the mellow flavour of the aubergine and the paprika salt was a nice smoky touch. With our burgers, or Italian subs, we had the Kale, Caesar! (feigning healthiness) and the courgette fries. The courgette fries were certainly the highlight; battered sticks of courgette with a basil aioli – I could eat a bucketful.
What We Drank: Beer is what Mason & Company do best. Our waitress took the time to discuss our flavour preferences with us, then brought us a range of beers ranging from hoppy ales to crisp lagers, going through each of them with us before bringing over a full measure of our favourites (not pints due to the higher percentages).
Go With: A friend or a few on a Friday or Saturday night, so you can sample all the beers without the dread of going to work with a hangover.
Final Word: Yes, the area is up and coming but it’s not there just yet. Once it is, I’m sure Mason and Company will snowball in popularity – it definitely deserves it!