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Mayfields in Hackney - we test drive a neighbourhood gem

Mayfields in Hackney - we test drive a neighbourhood gemWhat can you tell us about Mayfields?

It's the lovechild of a liaison between Borough Wines and Claire Roberson formerly of London pop-up Shacklewell Nights. Chef Matthew Young has a flipping brilliant cv - his last job was as Head Chef at the Wapping Project, but he's also worked as places as varied as the top London gastropub Anchor & Hope and Danny Meyer's Grammercy Tavern.

What kind of food does it do?

Ultra seasonal with a menu that changes every day depending on what's best and freshest. Expect to see some unusual combinations - octopus and eel dashi for example - as well as a brilliant but short wine list courtesy of the collaboration with Borough Wines.

Where is it?

Tucked into a small parade of shops on Wilton Way, this building started out life as a greengrocer - which is what it's named after - but you can see its more recent incarnation as a greasy spoon from which apparently the Krays held court.

Where should I meet up with friends?

Why not do what we did and pop across the road to Borough Wines for a quick pre-dinner cocktail or glass of wine? Alternatively just down the road is the Cock Tavern, owned by the people who also run the Southampton Arms in Kentish Town. They have their own micro-brewery and serve a range of interesting beers and ciders.

Where should I sit?

If the weather's great there are a few tiny pavement tables, but we enjoyed our window table where we could watch the world (or its hipster equivalent) go by.

What should I eat?

The menu is pretty short - there were 10 small and medium sized dishes on it as well as three desserts. Most are meant for sharing, Claire told us, with prices being a rough-ish indication of their size.

Two of us happily devoured five dishes - starting with an immaculate dish of perfectly ripe mozzarella and peach with an unbilled (but welcome addition) of air-dried ham (£8.50). That was followed by one of our favourite dishes of this summer - just-cooked fresh sea trout with broad beans offset by a slick of yoghurt (£8.50). Really great beef carpaccio was given a seasonal accompaniment of blackberries and samphire - although it could have done with a little more salt (£10)- and a fine piece of turbot came dusted with dried seaweed, with a burnt onion and served on a borage puree (£14.50). Sweetbread with olive and carrot (£6.50) proved a little too wobbly of texture for one of us to manage, but the other devoured it happily.

For dessert we enjoyed a generous portion of Pierre St Pouligny (from Mons Cheesemongers in Borough) pressed with anise (£6.50), but the dessert we ended up fighting over was the brown butter ice-cream which came rather brilliantly paired with passionfruit (£4.50).

What about drinks?

Given their association with Borough Wines you'd expect the wine list to be interesting here - and so it proved. We kicked off with welcome glasses of cold Cava (£5.30) on the steamy summer's evening we visited, followed by glasses of both rosés - one knock down value from the Luberon at £3.70, the other from Lebanon at £5. We finished off with a glass of Anjou Blanc from the Loire - a real find at £4.80 - and if you really like it you can nip across and buy a bottle of it across the road in Borough Wines for £13.

Overall thoughts?

When setting out their stall, the people here said they wanted Mayfields to be both the kind of place locals drop in for a casual bite as well as the kind of place you'd cross town for. We reckon they've nailed it. With the menu changing so regularly, Mayfields merits numerous repeat visits too. Lucky old Hackney residents to have this on their doorstep.

Mayfields is at 52 Wilton Way, London E8 1BG Find out more about Mayfields


Prices were correct at time of writing. Hot Dinners were invited to eat at Mayfields.