Forming a crisp clean pocket on grizzily Cambridge Heath Road is Hackney’s latest café/restaurant This Bright Field. Following a successful one off pop up event, manager Phil took on the challenge to reinvent a low key flower shop into a stylish eatery.
The décor, like the food, is tidy but natural, with bare wood tables and flower pots. Huge front windows give the restaurant a light and spacious feel.
Like many of today’s London restaurants, there is a strong focus on local produce, which means the spontaneity of an ever-changing daily menu. The choice of booze at The Bright Field is extensive, with a range of naturally produced global wines and local beers. Some extremely so, made in Bethnal Green itself.
Despite a fancy presentation, the portions are hearty – even the small plates and starters. Our favourite dish of all was probably the tomato salad, with English mozzerella, which was the perfect starter on a warm summer evening. Both green and red tomatoes were perfectly ripe, jazzed up with the odd dash of sweet tomato relish.
On the menu for Thursday was a Brixham whole mackerel – delicious with a heavy squirt of lemon and served with some earthy mini beetroots and horseradish. The vegetarian option involved an old Cotsold legbar egg oozing onto a light potato bubble cake with Scottish girolles (or mushrooms to you and me).
For pudding we tried the – in their words ‘less Tory version of the Eton Mess’ – the Bethnal Green Mess. Usually you get a bit too much meringue but there was a good balance between strawberry, meringue and cream ratio. Although the strawberry ice cream at the bottom was possibly a bit too sickly sweet.
Fresh to the East End, the new eatery is only in its eighth week since opening, but is already building up a regular following from trendy Bethnal Green-ers and local creatives on their lunch break from around the corner at Vyner Street. The venue has also been benefiting from a steady flow of customers from the Olympics, especially at breakfast time.
Anticipating quite a few overseas visitors, Manager Phil and Head Chef Matt say they are keen to scrub out the UK’s bad reputation for food and hope that through their 100 per cent English-sourced produce and culinary skills can show off what British dining can really do. After paying a visit I feel their mission will be complete.
This Bright Field
268 Cambridge Heath Road
Tel: 020 8880 7080