Hackney is an absolute trek from my North London home, I’m talking bus journeys, tube changes and doing the breaststroke across Regent’s Canal to get there (okay maybe that last one’s a lie, but it’s very bloody far). Not many places can lure me East but East London Liquor Company’s new restaurant caught my attention. Was it worth the TFL hell? Read on and find out.
Having sat outside, thanks to a surprise appearance from Mr Sun, we didn’t get to sit in the actual restaurant (sorry folks, but any sign of sunshine and I’m outdoors). Yes, this is a shame but I now have another excuse to return to ELLC. The outdoor area was pretty simple, plotted with wooden mahogany tables and some greenery, which ELLC are planning to expand might I add. Before I made my way to Regents Canal to breaststroke home I had a quick gander inside, and I was pleasantly surprised. The restaurant was a great length with a smattering of shiny marble tables. Brick work created a rustic feel to the place and fat windows let in plenty of light, making it super cosy. I can imagine this spot a fantastic hideaway come the winter months. In the Terminators voice: I’ll be back*
East London Liquor Company's restaurant is a classic eatery with a strong nod to Italian fare.
A friend of mine refers to ‘variety’ as the spice of life and I 100% agree with her. East London Liquor Company must think the same thing because their cocktail menu is loaded with great concoctions. I started the night with ELLC’s take on a Margarita - the Margarita as a Referring Point £10. It came served in a cute clay pot and a selection of green olives. You could really taste the tequila; it was strong and subtly sweet. My company opted for a classic Mojito instead, which was so good I dabbled in a couple myself.
Talking food, the menu was quite small, which was disappointing, but I can assure you that the quality of the food made up for this. Sharing the Smoked Burrata with Red Pepper £7.50, the Pork Belly with Beans and Pesto £8.50 and the Smoked Aubergine Lard, Flatbread £4.50 for starters, needless to say, we were spoilt for choice. The pork belly was meaty and tender but my favourite out of the three went to the Aubergine Lard. It was light, flavoursome and terribly moreish.
The only option for mains was pizza, which I had no qualms about. Afterall, who doesn’t love pizza!? Setting our eyes on the Bianca pizza with Prosciutto, Spinach, Garlic Polenta and Torn Buffalo Mozzarella and the Goats Cheese, Red Onion, Broccoli Almond and Rosemary Honey option, we were both happy with our choices. The Bianca held the trump card though - I’m a sucker for buffalo mozzarella and the proscuitto added a lovely salty flavour to each cheesy slice. The toppings were plenty on both pizzas, so if you’re aiming for a three-course meal here, arrive with an empty belly. The dessert section of the menu is quite bare at ELLC but luck would have it that we were able to sample a new dessert the chefs were working on. It was possibly the most indulgent dessert of 2016. I’m not one to ruin surprises, so you’re just gonna have to go down there yourself and see what I’m talking about.
Tenderstem broccoli on pizza? You might not think it works, but trust me, it does.
The Clientele and Atmosphere
Arriving around 7pm, East London Liquor Company was buzzing with that Friday feeling. Like us, the majority of people congregated outside and were casually dressed, slurping over summer cocktails and feasting on the ELLC’s new menu. The atmosphere was very easy going and apart from one touchy feely couple, the majority of tables were cluttered with groups of friends. If you find yourself East, and in need of some decent grub, this is your spot.
Summer evenings are made for food, friends and fun, and East London Liquor Company provided all three the evening we visited (bar the friend, I had to bring her). The Italian food was authentic, the service - flawless and the cocktails? Impeccable. So yes, I’m happy to say that East London Liquor Company was well worth the TFL hell. Now to plan my next visit...