Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Cornerstone

Gold Award

When a chef with a background in Michelin-starred kitchens chooses a location for a solo debut, Hackney Wick is unlikely to top the list – but it has for Tom Brown. The former head chef at Outlaw’s at The Capital has sited Cornerstone, his thrilling new small-plates venture, just a few minutes’ walk from the railway station among a little group of recently developed retail spaces.

Don’t be disheartened by the locality: there’s ample space for diners, and the vibe in the restaurant is cool, with black tabletops, retro wicker chairs and black walls (complete with requisite scribbles). Mercifully, the place avoids crossing over into hipster-satire territory thanks to the friendly young team at the helm. Guests are greeted by the central dining counter, behind which you’re likely to find Brown beavering away. Unsurprisingly, given the chef’s pedigree, his regularly changing menu champions seafood. The run of small plates we sampled, served in terracotta tapas dishes, were exceptional.

Our bubbly waitress recommended eight plates between two and the meal kicked off with a pair of sensational oysters, pickled for two hours in gherkin vinegar and served with a subtle horseradish cream. Next up, a mound of juicy potted shrimps arrived piled high on a warm crumpet, soaked with shrimp butter that melted into the holes. A perfectly cooked strip of succulent bream followed, elevated to luxury by hidden chunks of lobster and saffron. Desserts, too, are a force to be reckoned with. A light, fluffy pistachio cake with vanilla cream and a sticky mess of raspberries preceded a heavenly peach crumble well worth the 20-minute wait time: its crispy top layer breaking to reveal tangy cubes of fresh peach, completed by a dollop of cream and hints of lemon.

The drinks list provides admirable back-up, informed by on-trend cocktails and classy European wines, but prices as a whole can add up (£10 desserts are rare in Hackney Wick), and some diners might consider Cornerstone rather out of the way. Nevertheless, this is an accomplished, exciting debut from one of the capital’s most promising chefs – we can’t wait to see what Brown does next.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cool, Lively
One Michelin star
Food Occasions
All day dining
Special Features
Counter dining
Perfect for
Dates, Group dining [8+], Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


Does Cornerstone have a Michelin star?

Cornerstone has one Michelin star.

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Meet the team

Tom Brown


Born in Cornwall, Tom Brown is a protégé of two Michelin-starred seafood specialist Nathan Outlaw. After several years at Outlaw’s flagship, he was tasked with running the chef’s London outpost Outlaw’s at the Capital, a job he excelled at. As well as being a great cook, Brown gives off the same approachable, down-to-earth vibes as his mentor and it didn’t take long for people to notice: he appeared on Great British Menu representing the South West and was a hit.

Unsurprisingly, apron strings were cut and Brown now has his own place in Hackney Wick. Despite its out-the-way location, Cornerstone can be marked down as a smash hit, serving creative small plates at approachable prices with a focus on spankingly fresh seafood.


3 Prince Edward Road, Hackney, London, E9 5LX

020 8986 3922 020 8986 3922


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 12:00-14:00
Thu 12:00-14:00
Fri 12:00-14:00
Sat 12:00-14:00
Sun Closed
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-21:00
Wed 18:00-21:00
Thu 18:00-21:00
Fri 18:00-21:00
Sat 18:00-21:00
Sun Closed


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11 Reviews 


23 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Fantastic food, wine and service. An unforgettable experience!

Anila M

06 August 2019  
We came here for our wedding anniversary having read lots of rave reviews about the restaurant. We were rather disappointed to be honest - there were no stand out dishes and the food was bland. There are far better options in London; don't believe the hype!

Hannah M

10 July 2019  
Favourite restaurant in London right now. Outstanding imaginative food.

Spencer W

08 July 2019  
New and classy.

The B

28 June 2019  
Had a delicious meal here - exquisite flavours, charming but relaxed service. Mackerel paté was a standout dish. Would love to return for the tasting menu.


29 March 2019  
Simple food, done well. A small menu, celebrating fish and seafood mainly. Wonderful to see the Head chef so involved and his passion so evident on a plate. The most excited i've been to about food in a long time and I have eaten in a lot of Michelin starred restaurants.

Lloyd S

26 February 2019  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5
Amazing Lunch

This was our fourth visit to Cornerstone so you might be wondering why we love it here so much. Well actually it's very simple the fish dishes created by chef Tom Brown are amazing and the desserts by Kelly Cullen are delicious so when you match this along with the great friendly service the decision to keep coming back is very easy. It was also therefore no surprise when they received yet another award meaning they are now the proud holders of 3 AA Rosettes. The surrounding area in Hackney Wick where the restaurant is situated is being developed all the time which surely can only benefit this place as well. It's very easy to get to as its only a very short walk from the station and also close to the Olympic Village which in fact as it was a nice day is the route we took from Stratford. On our arrival we was given the usual friendly welcome just like our previous visits. Our table couldn't have been better as it was right opposite the pass where Tom completes and makes sure each dish is perfect before it's sent out. Our lunch started with a complimentary glass of bubbles courtesy of Tom. We were then given the menu which was full of fabulous new dishes to try as well as a couple of old favourites. On our previous visits we've always ordered the entire menu so after deliberating if we could leave anything out only to remember how good they were before we decided to once again order everything. This decision brought a smile to the managers face as she remembered that we did this the last time.

We started with the most amazing Sourdough Toast with Netherend Farm Butter which was quickly followed by two selections of Oysters. The first is the original Pickled Oyster with Celery , Horseradish & Dill and the new Native Oyster with a Seaweed Hot Sauce. Once we finished the oysters we then ordered a fabulous bottle of Certosa an Italian Rose Wine from the Island of Capri which was a real delight and accompanied the remainder of the dishes nicely. 

Next on the list was the first of stunning new dishes a fantastic Brill Tartare with Wild Garlic , Mushrooms & Egg Yolk. This was followed by Cured Gurnard with Grapes , Almonds & Sherry Vinegar. We finished this little section with a favourite the Mackerel Pate with Cider , Sea Purslane & heavenly Treacle Bread 

After enjoying a little break we were then treated to some fantastic St Austell Bay Mussels in a Cafe de Paris sauce just sublime especially when you come across couple of beautiful Clams hidden at the bottom. Following this was another fabulous new dish of Fried Jerusalem Artichokes with Cod's Roe & Hazelnuts before enjoying a couple of fabulous Hand dived Scallops , Coral Butter & Lime a pure delight 

We then continued to another old favourite with a slight change the Potted Shrimp Crumpet now with Kohlrabi , Gherkins & Parsley but still amazing. This was followed by two more new dishes the first being a fabulous Roast Cornish Hake with Celeriac , Anchovy & Chilli. Then came the highlight of the day a truly stunning Whole Monkfish Tail with the famous Chicken Butter Sauce. If you come here even for just one dish then this is it 

After enjoying the amazing dishes another rest was required. During this time manager then came over to ask if we'd like the cheese course or dessert. We looked at her and just smiled and she new what was coming as we said you may now bring the rest. This is where the amazing Kelly Cullen takes over starting with a fabulous Cheese Course consisting of a Blue Cheese , Honey Cake , Figs & Walnuts a perfect combination 

Now it was time for desserts and once again Kelly excelled herself with three absolute beauties. The first was a fantastic Sea Salt Praline Tart & Pecan simply amazing. Second was a stunning Pavlova with Rhubarb , Clotted Cream & Ginger. Then our last dessert was a fabulous Dark Chocolate Torte with Blood Orange & Creme Fraiche Ice Cream 

We finished with a coffee and Petit Fours which brought to end another memorable lunch here at Cornerstone. Before we left it was nice to have a chat with Tom who really is such a nice person. I'd like to Thank Tom , Christian & Kelly for the amazing food plus thanks to the front of house team for their excellent service. Another plus is that the menu changes often which is great if you are local and are able to visit on a regular basis. So yes I would highly recommend a visit as you are really missing out if you haven't been yet. I for one certainly won't be leaving it to long before I return and try more of this restaurant's amazing dishes.

Paul A

19 September 2018  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 3
Atmosphere 2
Value 3.5
Cornwall meets Hackney Wick
We found ourselves a bit confused here, a modern restaurant with a top chef in a fully open kitchen set amongst the road works of Hackney Wick and patronised by local noisy millennials who can hardly stop chirping long enough to feed their faces let alone appreciate the food and achieving a volume level almost the equal of that at Pollen Street Social. The quietest area in the place was the kitchen, with Tom Brown calmly passing on instructions as he finished the dishes to go to the pass. Indeed, the kitchen was an oasis of calm by comparison with the action front of house, where, with one Hibernian exception, the staff appeared unable to keep up with the hectic pace of service in the small plates regime and thus unable to interact with the guests. There was no tasting menu as such, but we discovered that the items on the carte marked with a star could be served for a set price, although it was not clear at first glance. The pickled oyster with crunchy celery, horseradish and dill made an excellent start, and this was followed by cured gurnard, an option familiar to Port Isaac devotees, along with almonds and grapes for texture and sweetness and a dash of sherry vinegar adding an extra tang. So far so good, and then one of the absolute highlights - cured mackerel with fish pâté, super separate and divine together, and supported brilliantly by seaweed broth, mild cucumber, dill and treacle bread perfect for mopping up the juices. The next dish was listed as chargrilled celeriac, but for us the feature was the superb cod’s roe backed up by a creamy dressing on a shredded celeriac remoulade and with crunchy hazelnut for texture. We had been looking forward to the potted shrimp crumpet but we hadn’t reckoned with the hit from the cayenne butter although this was balanced and alleviated by a kohlrabi cream. The perfectly cooked hake was elevated by a pumpkin purée which emphasised the taste and texture of the fish and matched the thyme dressing expertly. Blue cheese came as an accompaniment to a lovely brown butter honey cake and delicious warm fig. We finished off with chocolate fondant resplendent with peanuts, banana and a touch of rum, delicious but very difficult to share equally. Our mint tea to round the meal off was just that - no petits fours appeared. Our overall reaction was mixed because although many of the dishes were top-class, we reckoned that a good deal of them had been pre-prepped to provide the maximum throughput for the maximum headcount in any one evening - we had been warned of the possibility of having our table turned - and, given the enormous potential of the kitchen to furnish excellent cuisine along more classical lines, we did feel a slight let-down.

Mark H

21 July 2018  
Tom Browns first solo venture, brilliant dishes from the freshest ingredients.

Richard V

27 June 2018  
It's a chef striking out on his own for the first time and it is an impressive debut, with excellent food and friendly, informed service.
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020 8986 3922 020 8986 3922

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