Brawn // Hackney // London

Hackney, once a bit of an urban wasteland has now become a new home for the ever growing creative scene in London. As Shoreditch has undergone its gentrification, those who look for a more edgy vibe have made the move north-east. Broadway Market, Columbia Road and surrounds have become havens for pleasure seekers – with drinking, eating and relaxing high on the agenda. One now well established resident with a growing reputation for good food and drink is Brawn. A snout to tail sort of place and sister restaurant to Covent Garden’s Terroirs.

Brawn specialises in all things porcine and a great selection of offal. Expect charcuterie platters, terrines, rillettes, dry-cured salami, as well as veal brain, duck hearts and all kinds of liver. Plates come in small portions which gives you a great opportunity to try dishes you haven’t eaten before.

After several visits, we can safely say that you’ll be impressed with the dishes on offer, the relaxing atmosphere and the smooth and warm service. We were, and have upgraded it to a PLUS review. Though with a regularly changing menu, it’s difficult to make definitive recommendations.

Simple but well cooked – chicken livers, nestled into cocoons of endive leaves with a warming red wine reduction were a great balance of acidity, crunch, soft and richness. The Westcombe Cheddar soufflé was airy and delicate, and unusually served in a great sea of a creamy sauce, filled with softened leeks. Perhaps not the lightest of dishes, but certainly a table pleaser. Though best of all was the pretty plate of queenie scallops. Served in their shells with a luxurious piment d’espelette butter dressing, which was a deep, but not overpowering sauce for the velvety shellfish. The only down point that we encountered was with the rump of lamb, which had been overcooked a tad.

Despite this, the meal and team easily managed to impress. Comments on the lamb were seriously noted and reported back to the chef to make improvements. What more can you ask? Not much. We think you’ll find Brawn is a great place to find a little bit of pleasure for yourself and friends.

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