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Monday, 20 February 2017

Martello Hall, Hackney

Replacing seen-better-days pub, The London Fields, this cafe/ breakfast/ diner spot aimed at hot-deskers and E8 slackers morphs into a party bar as the day wears on. Strategically distressed decor suggests a low-heeled hostelry circa Queen of the Hackney Empire,  Edwardian songbird Marie Lloyd. What’s to sing about at this mooted template for similar venues across the capital, are its local beers, Italian artisan wines on tap and a louche upstairs cocktail lounge. Many fixes depend on East London-produced booze, doctored with homemade tinctures, sherbets and cordials. Distilled on-site in small batches, Martello gin underpins a Bramble (£11) and a twisted G&T. We’re more for Mexican Negroni, Ginger Caipirinha Royale and miniatures to share - Punchy Cosmo for four at £20, for instance. Dissolute dandies drawn to disco DJ lates and live up and coming bands will flirt with the green fairy; absinthe from various producers drawn from Belle Époque fountains. Served in a groovy Brooklyn-style diner out back and in the ground floor bar, chow down on ‘humble comfort food’: Bologna-style dumplings (torta fritta); roasted squash and beetroot, ricotta, hazelnuts, beetroot pesto, mint and kale among ten edgy wood oven-fired pizza toppings, and meatballs, coppa, tomato, taleggio and oregano, king of the weekday po’boys. Weekend scran includes set £20 Sunday lunches and a £40 ‘Festa Italiana' blow-out.   
137 Mare Street E8 3RH 3889 6173 http://www.martellohall.com