Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Hackney
Hardens guides have spent 31 years compiling reviews of the best Hackney restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 8 restaurants in Hackney and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Hackney restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Hackney Restaurants
1. Patty and Bun Burgers, etc restaurant in Hackney 2 Arthaus Building, 205 Richmond Road - E8
2021 Review: There’s “clear blue water between Patty & Bun and other wannabe mass burger offerings” – the only drawback is “you have to queue all the time”. Having started out as a pop-up, the small chain has grown to eight branches and two spin-offs: Smash Patty and Jefferies, a chicken specialist. The core of the offer is “burgers dripping in all the good stuff, loud tunes, friendly vibes and lots of napkins”. Top Tip – the “legendary lamb burger always makes me smile”.
2. Lardo Italian restaurant in Hackney 197-201 Richmond Rd - E8
2021 Review: This “buzzy”, well-known Italian (in the Arthaus building near London Fields) continues to inspire relatively limited feedback. Pizza is the most popular option foodwise, and reports say it “ticks all the boxes” for a good time. Its sibling Lardo Bebe is no more.
3. Tonkotsu Japanese restaurant in Hackney 382 Mare St - E8
2021 Review: “Healthy ramen bowls” and “the best karaage fried chicken in town” are the secrets behind the rapid growth of the cramped Japanese pitstops, of which there are now 10 in London – the most recent openings, in Shoreditch and Peckham, having followed a £5million investment in 2019. They provide “a meal that could fill you up for a day”, with “excellent service from a really friendly team who go the extra mile”.
4. Pidgin British, Modern restaurant in Hackney 52 Wilton Way - E8
2021 Review: “I don’t know how they do it, but every week there is a new, exciting and delicious menu that never seems to be repeated” at this genius foodie-mecca in Hackney, which has rightly won renown on account of its “uniquely delicious, complex-without-being-baroque” cuisine. “It has a Michelin star and, after a few mouthfuls, it’s clear to see why: the food is always innovative, mixing bold ranges of flavour and ingredients, focused on seasonal produce, all served up with a ‘too-cool-for-skool’ vibe”, by staff who “move around the incredibly-tightly-packed dining room with a balletic poise”. “The wine list is short but excellently curated”, but the major win is the value: “in Mayfair it would cost double”. On the downside, one or two regulars feel that the food has been “more hit-and-miss” in recent times, and the self-consciousness of the enterprise is a big turn-off for some folks: “a mixture of over-earnest staff intoning the menu without smiles, and sombre presentation of food as something sacred left us underwhelmed, on both visits”. “I think I prefer food to be more unobtrusive, so you can spend the evening enjoying it alongside friends and conversation, rather than having each dish explained and having to come up with the requisite ‘ooh, that sounds lovely, thank you’ with every course…”
5. Rosa’s Thai Café Thai restaurant in Hackney 381 Railway Arches, Mentmore Terrace - E8
2021 Review: The “lovely Thai food” at these reliable cafés is “impressively authentic given that they are a chain” – “excellent value” and “fast”, if occasionally let down by “iffy service”. Founded in 2008 by Saiphin and Alex Moore, who inherited the name of their first East End site, the group has 18 branches in London and expanded to Liverpool, Manchester, Reading (delivery only) and Leeds following the sale of a majority stake to US investors. The couple also have two spin-offs, Lao Café in Covent Garden and the new Chinese noodle bar Hoh Sek in St Katharine Docks.
6. Peg Fusion restaurant in Hackney 120 Morning Lane - E9
2021 Review: In early summer 2019 (just as our survey was getting underway), some of the backers behind P Franco and Bright opened this: another painfully hip, East End natural wine bar (on the former site of Hackney’s now-defunct Legs – geddit?). This time Australian chef Byron Fini is at the stoves cooking up a small menu of light, “Japanese-izakaya-style” bar snacks – including ferments and pickles, and majoring in grilled skewers (lots of them chicken-related) – which are served in a bright, stylishly-neutral, small space that’s very ‘now’ (communal seating, tabletops made from recycled yoghurt pots, vinyl soundtrack, etc). Foodwise, the odd disappointment is noted (“if you want Japanese, go to a Japanese restaurant”) but most reports are in line with the rhapsodic write-ups it’s received in the press, rating the dishes very good to exceptional.
7. Mao Chow Vegetarian restaurant in Hackney 159a Mare Street - E8
2021 Review: This mid-2019 yearling near London Fields is riding just about all of the current food trends: it’s a tiny (12 seats), no-booking, vegan, pop-up-turned-permanent BYO in east London – Insta-stardom is next, no doubt. The inventive Chinese-inspired food can also be taken away.
8. Mare Street Market British, Modern restaurant in Hackney 117 Mare Street - E8
2021 Review: “A wonderful addition to the area” – a 10,000 square feet market inside the transformed base of a formerly run-down, Hackney office-block, which is the brainchild of Marc Francis-Baum (owner of a string of bars and pubs). With its flowers, vintage design-pieces, artisan coffee, bar, open kitchen and ‘dining room’ he’s channeled hipster design pheromones to maximum zeitgeisty effect. It’s not a majorly foodie hotspot, but “the atmosphere’s buzzing, and the drinks are always flowing. Love it!”
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