No style of food is quite as groomed as the tasting menu. It’s the Gillette of the restaurant world. There are foams and gels, tweezers for this, and drops of acid for that. Basically, there’s lots of sodding about. Unless you’re enthralled by the lineage of a single broad bean and the parentage of a peanut, this probably isn’t what you look for in a casual meal, but at Casa Fofo it feels different. That's because this Hackney neighbourhood restaurant is distinctly unpretentious. Yes, their £39 seven course menu changes daily, and yes, things will be poured into your bowl, and some dishes will not have the welcoming familiarity of, say, beans on toast, but it’s done in a way that feels soft rather than stiff. All of it makes for a very pleasant and at times very delicious meal - we’re looking at you oyster linguine and creamy pastry thing to finish. It’s best suited for a couple that likes to talk to each other, but doesn’t necessarily like to share.
More spots in HackneySee more
Martello Hall is an great bar-meets-pizza restaurant on Mare Street in Hackney. Bring your mates at the weekend, or visit it late night.
Chick ‘N’ Sours
The Haggerston branch of Chick ‘n’ Sours is the original, and still the best. Come here for cocktails and disco wings, and leave happy.
Morito Hackney Road
The Spanish small plates, the wine and the mood lighting makes you want to be cool enough to hang out at Morito, Hackney Road, all the time.
More Vegetarian spotsSee more
Mother is a cafe along the River Lea close to Hackney Wick, that serves tasty vegan food. Come for the juices, and stay for the relaxed ambience.
Indian Veg is a no-frills, all-you-can-eat buffet spot in Islington. It’s pretty good, and very cheap.
Mildred’s is a classic vegetarian restaurant in Soho, with an excellent atmosphere and an even better mushroom pie.
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