Wednesday 16 October 2019



Restaurants with set menus and multiple fancy sounding courses usually mean you are in for A hit to the wallet and likely to face a bit of a stuffy dining atmosphere. Not the case at new Hackney spot Casa Fofo

It may look like your typical hipster bistro, exposed bricks and the works, but the food here is of haute cuisine quality, both in terms of presentation and flavour, and the price for their seasonally changing set menu (£39 for 7 courses) is a TOTAL steal! You get all the trimmings of a high end dinner- fancy flavoured butter, amazing bread and attentive service that talks you through every intricate course, yet I never felt intimidated by their lovely waiters and the generally very laid back atmosphere that works a treat when combined with this level of cooking. 

Veggies and Pescatrians get custom set menus for the same price and I loved every single course, even if at times my flavour buds were pushed to the unfamiliar. The wine pairing is only an additional £25 which is totally worth it with a lovely selection of wines and generous servings as well as a very fun sommelier to talk you through each pairing.

Much like Pidgin, where the chef behind Casa Fofo cut his teeth before, this little gem proves that you can do cutting edge fine dining without a ridiculous price tag and I for one can’t wait to go back, even more so as the menu is constantly changing and evolving. Make sure to book ahead and go here for a special treat as this food will truly wow you!


I am always on the look out for a good quality brunch and was pleasantly surprised by this local spot, a stones throw away Hackney Central Station. It may not be super cool or have the newest and fanciest interiors but they deliver on what matter the most - the food! 

There is a good mix of sweet and savoury options and portions are super generous, especially considering their prices, a lot lower than most other East London brunch spots where one can easily end up spending £25 per head on brunch (without alcohol). 

My favourites were the amazing sweet potato fries, all kinds of crunchy and perfectly fried, served with mayo and sweet chilli sauce, and their signature French toast. This was not only beautifully presented but was also absolutely delicious- juicy brioche slices that came topped with clotted cream, maple syrup and plenty of berries, again amazing value for money with a big plate of the good stuff only costing £8.9. Service was lovely and the whole place had a very homely atmosphere, perfect to spend a relaxed Sunday afternoon at. Honest, tasty and without gimmicks - Paelette does brunch just as I like it.


I was more than a little bit surprised when we got to Emilia’s St Katherine’s Dock location for a late summer Sunday dinner. I mean the dock part should have given it away somewhat but I did not expect to feel like I was dining right by a harbour when I was basically in the middle of East London! 

And what a lovely location it is, overlooking beautiful yachts and the high rises of the city, really making you feel like you’ve stumbled across a hidden little escape and if the weather allows it I can only recommend perching on one of their outside tables to take it all in. 

The menu is all about pasta, which is made freshly every day, and though it was not the best pasta I have ever had, it was still very enjoyable and keenly priced, especially considering the wonderful atmosphere and location. My favourite was the smoked salmon carbonara, a very interesting take on the classic recipe, and we also enjoyed their flaked yellowfin tuna fillet with homemade tomato sauce, peperoncino and freshly chopped parsley. 

Their signature dessert ‘Emilia’s special’ is a must order - vanilla ice cream topped with honey, crushed amaretti and cantuccini biscuits, a perfect marriage of creamy, crunchy and sweet, offering the perfect end to a very enjoyable meal with a view I won’t forget in a while. 

Emilia’s does solid Italian cooking but wins with it’s location alone - a must visit for every East Londoner, wanting to escape and dine a little differently even if just for a few hours.

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