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Test Driving Hackney Coterie - a wine-focused haven in Hackney

roomLooking in from the front of Hackney Coterie

What can you tell us about Hackney Coterie?

It comes from a team-up of Anthony Lyon (the man behind Lyon's in Crouch End) and sommelier Kelvin McCabe (previously at Zuma, Roka and Adam Handling's Frog group). They've taken over what used to be the site of L'Entrepot to create a new wine bar and restaurant for Hackney. 

Where is it?

It's literally outside the entrance to Hackney Downs station or about a 10-minute walk from Hackney Central. It's a long thin room, with a larger table for about eight (also a sharing table), a decent-sized bar space and lots of seating down the back on the way to the kitchen.

roomKicking things off with a Hackney Spritz

Where's the best place to sit?

We sat at both the bar and the large table at the front (which gets the most light), and have a small preference to the bar. Certainly, it makes it a perfect space to rock up to for some snacks and a glass or two of wine. There are also plenty of tables out the front, so that'll be ideal if the weather's clement.

What kind of food can we expect?

In the kitchen is Dominic Auger, who has previously been at both HIDE and Scully - so he's got some interesting experience under his belt. They say there's no specific cuisine in mind, so think of it as a series of snacks, small and larger plates that roam the world's cuisine. We visited relatively early on, so you can expect to see the menu evolve in the coming weeks. 

Here's a taste of what we had:

roomGrilled flatbread and taramasalata served with beaten Graceburn (£6.50) - a feta style cheese from Kent.

roomFish crackling with smoked tofu dip (£6.50) - that smoked tofu dip is outstanding (it makes another appearance later on). This and the bread above, paired with some wine would alone make for a very pleasant drop-in to Hackney Coterie. 

roomA thousand layered Szechuan potatoes with black tea mayo (£6.75) - we've encountered many a confit potato of late, but the Szechuan seasoning in these is something else, pushing them to the front of the pack. 

roomOne of the "large plates" - dry aged soy salmon steaks (tear open the salmon to get at the steaks) with sambal salad and burnt lime (£22.50)

roomCured pork belly, Kisaichi pickled watermelon, smoked tofu (£22.50) - this divided our table a little, and could perhaps have benefited from being paired with some salad. 

roomCharred hispi, dashi ketchup, shrimp candy floss (£10) - we've also seen charred hispi elsewhere but once again, this is an exemplary take on it. 

roomOnto desserts - this is apple filo tart with hazlenut and koji crumble and tonka bean cream (£7.50)

roomBurnt butter set custard with fennel sable, sour lime and nettle powder (£6.75) - this is a dish that has apparently proved a little divisive but we thought it was one of the more interesting (in a good way) desserts we'd had in ages.

Potentially the menu could benefit from a few more obvious sides to go alongside the larger plates, but you can always pair those up with the hispi, potatoes or a pickled turnip and salted carrot salad. In addition to all that, there are also British cheese and charcuterie plates on offer.  

As for the vegetarian options, much of the menu is vegetarian with the other larger plate being a shio glazed celeriac steak with gari, crispy shallots and black garlic (£15). 

What about drink? 

Obviously, the wine on the menu is all just as worth exploring as the food (and it's all available to take home at retail prices too). The list, led by McCabe, keeps its focus on biodynamic, organic, and minimal intervention wines with an aim to showcase the lesser-known producers. There's a good choice by the 125ml glass/375 ml carafe, with things kicking off at £6.50 a glass (a Weingut 2019 Reisling), a fair few in the £30s and £40s for a bottle and heading up to a £300 price point if you fancy exploring the upper echelons of the reds.

There is a short cocktail list, but we'd suggest that Coterie is a great place to go if you want to try something new on the wine front - so make sure to ask for some recommendations. 

Overall thoughts 

Hackney Coterie is the kind of restaurant we find easy to like - wine-focused and backed with a menu that's a perfect accompaniment. It's early days yet, and the menu is going to grow a fair bit in the coming weeks. It's an easy recommendation if you're in the area - great wines, interesting plates and a lovely spot to while away the day. 

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Hackney Coterie. Prices are correct at the time of writing.  

 

More about Hackney Coterie

Where is it? 230 Dalston Lane, London E8 1LA

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @hackneycoterie

 

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