SquareMeal Review of
A café-diner aimed at hot-deskers and E8 slackers by day, Martello Hall morphs into a party bar at night. Local beers, Italian artisan wines on tap and a louche first-floor cocktail lounge draw evening punters into the strategically distressed Edwardian premises (formerly The London Fields pub). Many of the cocktails depend on east London-produced booze, doctored with homemade tinctures, sherbets and cordials. Martello gin (distilled on-site) underpins a Bramble (£11) and a twisted G&T, but we prefer the Mexican Negroni, Ginger Caipirinha Royale and miniatures to share – Punchy Cosmo for four at £20, for instance. Absinthe is another speciality, favoured by dissolute dandies who also come for the live music and late-night DJs. Comfort food, served in a groovy Brooklyn-style diner out back and in the ground-floor bar, has Italian leanings: Bologna-style dumplings; and wood-fired pizzas with novel toppings (roasted squash and beetroot, say). Similar ventures are planned across London.