They had me at brown crab butter. The Laughing Heart roared in to the old Mr.Buckley’s site on Hackney Road in late 2016 to rave reviews from the likes of Fay, Marina and Grace. That they all seem to be very familiar with owner Charlie Mellor (formerly of Elliot’s, Primeur and Brawn) could explain the enthusiasm across the board, but having never met him myself I would still highly recommend a night of fine food and wine at this excellent new restaurant and bar. Just be prepared to spend a small fortune on the booze.
On Sunday nights, chef Tom Anglesea’s menu is filled with Chinese delights. Greens in xiao xing; leeks and miso; glorious dumplings; sprouts with chicken hearts, bacon and sichuan. Then there’s the baguette sprinkled with brown crab crack – don’t miss it. And those sexy fried olives, stuffed with Thai-spiced pork. To finish, basque cheesecake, a pot of valhrona chocolate, and a superb raclette with quince and buckwheat were a terrific trio. If budget is an issue, restrain yourself on the vino during the meal, and then buy it all from the well-stocked wine shop downstairs on your way out! N.B. They’ve recently turned the private dining room downstairs into Bluebird, a beautiful space for guest chefs to show off their skills.
The Laughing Heart – thelaughingheartlondon.com
277 Hackney Road, E2 8NA
P.S. It’s open til 2am!