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The eponymous Mr Buckley was an angry local who once set light to this building when it was a Victorian workingmen’s club, but modern wage slaves will find no reason to torch this
diner-cum-cocktail joint, which is tailor-made for East End tastes. Breakfast morphs into brunch (served until 4pm) as famished crowds feed on duck egg and soldiers, pimped-up pancakes, muesli and
porridge, crab cake Benedict and ‘skillets’ of eggs, potato, spinach, feta, tomatoes and pancetta. Later on, the culinary attractions could include tapas-sized lobster mac ’n’ cheese, nut-crusted
lamb cutlets, roast poussin or wild mushroom on blue cheese polenta, followed by pistachio cheesecake, perhaps. There’s also a selection of inexpensive wines, cocktails and savoury nightcaps to
explore – try bacon-infused, bourbon-based bloody Madison or gooseberry gin fizz until 2am in this moody, woody brick-walled duplex.
We admit if you are based anywhere central/ west London this place is a bit of a pain to get to, but trust me if you like East London hip restaurants that are off the beaten track, then this is the place to go. It’s unpretentious neon sign and bare brick walls in the small restaurant is inviting. The reception is small and they took their time to find the reservation but this adds to the charm. All of the minimalist furnishings suit the Hackney interior; simple, honest and local.The waitress explained that two out of the three options we fancied were sold out/un-orderable..damn. So instead for starter we ordered the bloody Mary tartare, and the smoked salmon with beetroot & rye bread. Although our previous orders were turned down we were satisfied as the tartare, as this was incredibly tasty with the deep red tomato and tabasco, The twist on this classic steak tartar worked well and I applause the chef for his originality. The smoked salmon was fresh, lightly smoked and salty served with rye bread. The only criticism was that we were disappointed that most of the dishes we fancied were unavailable/sold out even at 7.30 on a Saturday night...
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Judging from the fact there were two large groups, probably both marking a birthday and then us who were there to mark our fifth year anniversary, something about Mr Buckleyâs must appeal to those in the mood for a celebration. I hadnât been before but the pictures of their food and the menu sounded good, as well as what I was seeing on Twitter about it as a bar. I made a reservation at 7:45 and while it was quiet when we arrived, the two groups either side who soon joined created a bit of an atmosphere. I expected it to be more restaurant upstairs and more bar downstairs but in actual fact both levels rather leant themselves to sitting down. The place has a clean, stripped back look â bare yellow brick walls, wooden benches and tables. It appealed to us as soon as we came in and we made murmurings of approval to each other. Our lovely waitress (everyone was lovely in fact) came over and âexplainedâ the menu to us. They have, (like so many places these days) a sharing ethos but one that seems to work more functionally than just telling people to have three small plates each and divvy them up. Here you have jars, small plates, mains and sides so you could do a traditional starter, main, dessert combo if you wanted. What they recommend, however is a jar or two to share, a small plate or two to share (depending on how many jars youâve had) and then a main to share. And these really are designed for sharing. We had everything come together, which may have been a mistake as what we ordered didnât exactly complement one another. We also kind of ignored the sharing idea with our jars, which was also a mistake. They are pretty packed and a whole jar to yourself really does feel too much of one thing for one person, even if that one thing is nice. We had got one each because Stephen wanted the black pudding with thyme and Iâm not keen on black pudding. So I had the ricotta infused with basil with a tomato compote on top. They both came with e5 sourdough and crostini. To be brutally honest, the jars were not a strong point. The ricotta was, dare I say, too creamy and not cheesy enough. Even with the very nice compote on top it needed another dimension â some more structure or density to it. A different cheese perhaps entirely. Stephenâs black pudding was again way too much for one person (our fault) but it was also cold. He likes cold black pudding (and managed to somehow finish it all) but thought that in this case, if it was warm it would have been better â he missed the crispy edges you get with cooked black pudding.So the jars were nice, but I donât think either of us would order those particular ones again.The main â the lamb â howeverâ¦ And our sides of carrots and fennelâ¦ Lush. Iâm not one to get excited about vegetables generally although there are a few I do take quite a shine to. Carrots are one that I have had a relationship with since I was young â they were the only vegetable I would eat willingly. But only if they were raw. As I have matured though, I have started to appreciate the cooked carrot. And these were the best Iâve ever had I reckon. The natural sweetness of the carrot was brought out and they retained a bit of bite (I hate it when theyâre too mushy). The fennel gave a pleasing sharpness and it was all drenched with olive oil (or butter), negating any health benefits but ratcheting up the tastiness. And there was loads of it. Again â ideal for sharing. Iâd have those again in a heartbeat.And the lamb dish was splendid. Lamb two ways â lovely chunks of melt in the mouth morsels and then a âtotâ each of coarser lamb meat. These were accompanied by a rich, sweet redcurrant jus and parsnip puree and parsnip cube. It inspired us to have a conversation about which is our favourite meat, and made us realise that even though beef might immediately spring to mind, lamb has such an excellent, underrated flavour it should probably be awarded the top spot. Again, as a main for one it would have been perhaps a little too large â the symmetrical layout and amount were perfect for sharing. Very romantic. (Awful picture - see Mr Buckley's facebook for one that does the dish justice.)Trying not to stuff ourselves we decided against having a dessert, but I had treated myself to a cocktail with dinner. I couldnât decide between the equally tempting elderflower fizz or gooseberry fizz so I asked my waitressâs opinion. She said: elderflower so thatâs what I did. Very refreshing but enough alcohol to remind you it was a cocktail. However, I could have easily guzzled that and had to do my best to make it last the meal.Their menu changes weekly and every time I check the food sounds great. Our not-so-successful jars aside, Iâd love to make this a regular haunt. It was a lovely start to our night of celebration. Follow my blog with Bloglovin
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A little too hip for his Hackney Road neighbours, Mr Buckley’s is a welcome revere from the chicken shops and offies which line this busy street. And just a short stroll from Columbia Rd a perfect brunch, sheltering you from the throng.Dishing up an all day brunch menu, he really does know how to impress a girl. And the calibre is a lot higher than your typical London lad...
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