The Richmond Hackney
316 Queensbridge Road, E8
020 7241 1638/therichmondhackney.com
I think that jealousy is an inelegant and destructive emotion and I try not to succumb to its seductive charms, but sometimes you just don’t have a choice…
The Richmond is a new gastropub just down the road from trendy Dalston Junction that has recently been launched by the stylist Mags Crow and chef Brett Redman. The interior is uncluttered with Tuscan tones softening the utilitarian pub interior.
Fiona from London Unattached and I had been invited to review The Richmond and to ensure thoroughness we headed to the bar for cocktails. Run by ex-Hix Soho head bartender Lewis Coburn I went for a Richmond Fizz (£9) -Beefeater, fresh lime, Pedrino (tonic with PX sherry), egg white, Angostura Bitters- which was long and cool, perfect for summer, with the astringency of the lime set off by the subtle sweetness of the Pedrino (a new product that I hadn’t seen before which is great on its own or as a mixer). Fiona chose the Sage against the Machine (£8)- a blend of Wolfschmidt Kümmel, Cocchi Americano, fresh lime and sage. As with my fizz this was beautifully blended with a perfect balance between the citrus, herb and alcohol.
The wine list at The Richmond has rather intriguingly been put together by Isabelle Legeron, the doyenne of the ‘natural’ wine world. Isabelle calls herself ‘That Crazy French Wine Woman’ and puts on the amazing annual RAW natural wine fair. We ordered a couple of oysters each from the raw seafood bar, a mix of Menai Rock (£3.50) Maldons (£2.75) and Cumbrae (£3.50) which were deliciously fresh and saline and which were washed down with the vegetal and herby Pinot Blanc Alsace Gerard Schueller 2013 (£7) and the appley fizzy Of the Domaine Bobinet, Les Gruches, Chenin Blanc Saumur 2013 (£9). Sauces for the oysters were delicious including a spicy Yuzu (a Japanese sour citrus fruit), the traditional vinegar and shallot sauce mignonette and a fresh herbal coriander and mint dressing. The Richmond does an oyster happy hour from 5-6 p.m. at £1 each which has to be the best deal for getting your zinc hit in London.
We ordered three dishes from the Raw and Starters menus; a delicate sea bass tartare flavoured by a mild oyster mayonnaise and radish (£9), a subtle Scallop carpaccio given a hint of garlic from an accompanying ajo blanco and sweetness from elderflower oil and grapes (£10), and a delicious English crab muffin with espelette pepper (£7).
Mackerel, couscous, olive tapenade and fennel (£16) was seared to within an inch of its life with butch flavours coming from the saltiness of the olive which cut through the oiliness of the fish.
Nduja spiced seafood stew, pasta shells and aioli (£19) with its deep, rich flavour given a spicy meatiness by the nduja. It was well-matched by Fiona’s glass of C Pacalet, Cote de Brouilly Beaujolais which had a fresh, fruity lightness but enough depth to match the nduja. I drank a chilled red Cabernet Franc from the Veneto, Lo Sfuso di Collina, that sat well with my fish.
Uncircumcised chips (£3,50) were perfectly crisp on the outside and floury inside whilst
a comforting dish of creamed spinach was given the mildest of kicks by Indian spicing (£4).
Banana Tart, which came with creme fraiche and caramelised macadamia nuts (£6), was so rich and delicious that I nearly proposed on the spot…
whereas a lemon mousse with English raspberries (£7) was a more refined and restrained affair. We tried both of the sweet wines available by the glass-a port-like Chateau Tirecul la Graviere Les Pins Montbazillac and a honeyed glass of Clot de L’Origine, Maury, Roussillon.
So why am I jealous? Quite simply because The Richmond isn’t local to me. It delivered a faultless meal with great wine and cocktail choices in a fun and convivial space-what more do you want… It’s the sort of joint you could hang out at several nights a week- for a drink or half a dozen oysters or for a bigger meal. It was very busy on the Tuesday evening that we visited and has already picked up a clutch of rave reviews so I suggest you go before it becomes impossible to get in.