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Thursday, 5 August 2010

Hemingway, Hackney

The decor at The Hemingway looks much as at similar refurbished boozers; all antiqued leather, flea market finds, statuesque art deco bronze lady-lamp and obligatory stuffed animal heads in a vaguely Victorian neocolonial-style parlour. The pub’s co-owners also seem familiar: did they once serve me at Quo Vadis? The Groucho? Soho House? Newly established in Victoria Park, their baby’s pumps dispense Deuchars and Broadside and there's merlot from £3.25 per (small) glass. An open kitchen does - whisper it! - gastropubby food. If these guys did work at swanky Soho gaffs, they've imported five star pricing. Moules (marinière...ish) and burger and industrial chips - done better and cheaper at nouveaux chains like Byron - are audacious at £13.50, no matter how well-heeled the locals. Rumbling us as away-dayers from ‘up-West, a loquacious Cockney salt claims 'yuppies' have pushed up house prices here.  ‘We’re the Highgate of Hackney, now,’ he says, managing to sound simultaneously pleased and regretful - nostalgic for the Krays, outside karseys and rickets. ‘In Queen Victoria’s day, the park was full of deer. Now it’s full of them festival lot from Lovebox what p***es in your doorway and nicks the guvnors’ brass companion set.’ he muses, motioning to the boozer’s salvaged fireplace. Can't tell you what he said about performer Grace Jones...lawyers and all...but I soooo don't believe it.    
84 Victoria Park Road E9 8510 0215