Tucked away in the middle of Hackney, Hackney Bureau is the kind of place that would be very easy to walk past without noticing. It’s set on the corner, dimly lit inside and filled with rustic wooden tables surrounding its small open kitchen.
Heed my advice: do not walk past. This is one of the most surprisingly great restaurants I’ve been to in London recently – one of those ones where you feel quite smug at having dragged everyone there! I went with two friends quite late at night on a Friday evening. I think if we’d hit it at peak time, we would probably have had to queue for a table as it was still quite busy even at 10pm (they close at 11pm).
We ordered a bottle of white (I forgot to note down what it was but it was a nice Chilean white) which was only £18 and definitely hit the spot – a bargain! We shared a whole baked Camembert (£7) which was served with a generous amount of toasted sourdough and garlic which was delicious. Excuse the bad photos – as I mentioned, the restaurant was very dimly lit!
We decided to share three mains as they all sounded amazing and we couldn’t decide between them. Our first dish was the marinated lamb rump which was served with a red wine sauce, fried polenta and pomegranate (£12.50). The lamb just fell apart and went so well with the rich red wine sauce whilst the pomegranate added a nice fresh twist to it.
Next were two dishes off the specials blackboard. The first was the shrimp and crab tagliatelle with red chilli and spring onion (£12) – which was (yep, you guessed it) also delicious! The amount of red chilli was just right and not too spicy and there was lots of fresh crab.
Second off the board was another pasta dish – spinach and ricotta ravioli in pomodoro sauce and pine nuts (£8). The pasta was beautifully silky and smooth and this is one of the best, but most simple, vegetarian dishes I’ve had in a long time.
By the time we’d finished our mains, it was nearing 11pm and the place had emptied out and they were ready to close. Unfortunately the chocolate mousse on the menu had sold out which I was gutted about but I will definitely have to return to try it!
The only slightly odd thing is that they don’t take any card payment, so lots of us were taking trips to the cash point a couple of minutes down the road.
The whole meal including service and wine only came to £21 each, which in central London was amazing value. This makes an equally great date spot and catch up spot, I’ve heard good things about their brunch too.
Nearest station: Cambridge Heath or Bethnal Green
Couldn’t find one but their Twitter is here – https://twitter.com/hackneybureau?lang=en