Friday, 19 March 2010
The Hackney Pearl, Hackney Wick
Hello! What’s this? Negroni, Whisky Sour and pukka Pouilly Fuissé on offer in a menacing locale that is just a disemboweled corpse away from being a set from Jack The Ripper? For that’s the spooky crepuscular vibe abroad when, eventually, I track down The Hackney Pearl to a prosaic industrial estate, eerily deserted at weekends. Worth the effort? Deffo! For their chutzpah, I applaud both this new café-bar - and next-door neighbour Martabelle-K, a funky French traiteur-cum-café - pioneers in a bleak hinterland. Simple as you like - painted breeze block walls, wooden packing crates as shelving and a skip-load of seen-better-days dining suites - the joint is a cut-price cutie. To a sultry Etta James-y soundtrack, sweethearts knock out plausible cocktails, uncork - or rather, ‘unscrew’ - better-than-gut-rot bargains and prepare highly affordable and consistently edible all-day scran: zingy bacon green bean and boiled egg salad, panini, grown-up comfort food and ‘more tea vicar?’ cakes with served on someone’s Auntie Beryl’s mismatched china. So who frequents this lovely wee local? If the gaggles either side of us are representative, smug, thirty-something, organic granola-crunching, self-congratulatory, PC peabrains; their cultural references lifted, wholesale, from the Guardian. Not so much engaged in conversation, as in loud competition - ‘Did I read you my mission statement, Hattie? It’s fantastic!’ - they contrive to get on my (Hackney) Wick. Faux-ney Eastenders aside, the Pearl is the nuts.
11 Prince Edward Rd E9. Tel 8510 3605