Before you go to a restaurant, what do you want — or need — to know most? In The Rundown, we’re sharing all the essentials about newly opened (as well as favourite) Resy restaurants in London.
The new restaurant perfectly captures the magic of the original Borough restaurant.The original Elliot’s in Borough Market is beloved for a few different reasons, not least for its keen hospitality, laid-back ambience, and fantastic small plates of exceptional vegetables, seafood, and meat cooked over live fire. In many ways, the restaurant was prescient in favouring this method and for leaning into low-intervention wines before both became popular buzzwords for many of London’s new restaurants.
Fans of the original Elliot’s, then, will be happy to hear that the new restaurant recreates the magic of the original. The site is located at the corner of Mare Street and Westgate Street, across from Mare Street Market and Bright, and minutes from London Fields and Broadway and Netil Markets. In other words, it’s in the epicentre of the neighbourhood for a certain set of folks – so expect it to be buzzing.
While the restaurant was originally intended to open in December 2020, it was pushed back throughout 2021 because of delays that have affected almost every restaurant in London – Brexit and a staffing shortage, to name two. “We’ve been lucky that Borough has been open the whole time in some capacity to keep the wheels turning and give us the space to let Hackney build and evolve as it needed to, rather than having to rush for it to open,” says co-owner Sam Lim.
In addition, Lim and co-owner Brett Redman, plus general manager Cameron Dewar, opened the site as a bottle shop and takeaway in January, proffering all sorts of goodness to locals and passers-by – including, but not limited to, an excellent tiramisu donut, crisp sourdough pizzas, and porchetta sandwiches. After going an extensive renovation (more on that later) and putting together a crew, it’s safe to say that they’re ready to roll.
As always, the drinks lead the way.
“Elliot’s has its own well defined wine program,” says Dewar (ex-Elystan Street, Londrino), who heads up the restaurant’s wine offering. “You should expect a selection of wines with elegance, purity and great balance. ‘Drinkability’ is the key word,” he continues.
While Elliot’s maintains its own identity when it comes to its love for low-intervention methods of production, Dewar still has plenty of scope to add a touch of his own perspective to the list. “We’ll be extending our cellar list at Hackney, which will give me more room to play around with special cuvees and small allocations at very appealing mark ups,” he smiles. “As always, we will be working with the leading natural wine suppliers; Les Caves de Pyrene, Tutto, Dynamic Vines, Vinetrail, but also we will be getting great diversity from the likes of Otros Vinos, Modal, Under the Bonnet and Ancestral.”
Spirits-wise, the restaurant will also stock agave spirits from Neta via Oaxaca-based broker Niki Nakazawa, who works closely with a network of twelve family-run mezcal producers out of Miahuatlán, Oaxaca. And perhaps best of all is a beautiful, curved zinc-topped eucalyptus bar that greets guests as they step into the restaurant – perfect for dropping by to sample a few of Dewar’s recommendations, or a martini or three.
The bottle shop will still be open for business, too, if you should wish to take home a bottle of the Gamay you sipped at dinner. “The bottle shop has been such a great addition to the business and has changed the way we price our drink-in wine list, which is the retail price plus £15 corkage,” Lim enthuses. “This keeps the wines way more accessible. There is such great value especially for those who know their wines and it means people can try more exciting things too.”
The wood-fired oven is the heart of the restaurant. But the menu can easily cater to all occasions.
While the food at Elliot’s can broadly be described as small plates, the offering has grown through the pandemic from southern European style dishes (gorgeous ingredients treated simply) to include crisp, chewy sourdough pizzas, playfully delicious pastries to go, and pre-batched cocktails. Like the vibe, expect the food to be largely as it is in Borough.
“There’ll be slight variances from site to site, but the essence of the menus will always remain the same,” says Redman. “We have a Middlewhite pork Milanese exclusively on the menu at Hackney, and a few other things that will come and go. We like to allow our teams some flexibility and, of course, when your menus are dictated by the suppliers, there’s always changes and new dishes coming and going just as quick.”
The rest of the menu is comprised of Elliot’s signature dishes that regulars return for, like an addictive snack of Isle of Mull cheese puffs, fresh langoustines and ex-dairy steaks given the wood grill treatment, and a faithfully reproduced wood oven Basque cheesecake to savour.
While it’s equally excellent for sharing a few mix-and-match dishes over a catchup or going all-in on a weekend blowout with larger plates and a couple of bottles, the most tempting proposal, perhaps, is the prospect of dropping in impromptu when passing through the area for a few snacks and a glass of wine, or a casual date night – in which case the Milanese or langoustines with a side of impossibly crisp, fluffy chips and aioli should more than suffice.
The brand-new space flows beautifully, with lots of gorgeous nooks and crannies.
That inviting eucalyptus bar is a hint of the overall energy of the new dining room, with the light-filled space begging to be filled for long lunches and golden hour cocktails. That, says Lim, is largely the work of their friends and the owners of international architecture studio Hesselbrand, who were commissioned to transform the space into a place worth celebrating.
“They have a really beautiful sense of style that is minimal, but textured,” she says. “When we first visited the space, there was so much amazing natural light and we really wanted to enhance that and keep the space feeling very light and breezy. While we wanted to make sure it had a connection to the Borough restaurant, we also wanted it to feel like its own space.”
Within the flow of the open-plan dining room, there are a few tucked-away corners for intimate parties, as well as a private dining area proper. Light woods and a neutral colour palette maximise the room’s plentiful natural light (especially in the afternoons), lending a gentle, casual elegance to occasions; meanwhile, a covered outdoor terrace is on hand for al fresco lunches while the weather lasts.
As one of the newest additions to one of London’s most tight-knit restaurant communities, are there any plans to work with the neighbours in future? “We’re Dumpling Shack‘s number one fans, so when we can figure out how to put soup dumplings on a pizza you’ll be the first to know!” Redman laughs.
Elliot’s Hackney is now open for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays, and from 12-10pm at the weekends. Make a reservation here.