Heading to Brick Lane for most people means getting their fix of beigels and curry, but a recent influx of eateries (Crosstown Doughnuts, Blanchette, Enoteca Pomaio and more) has started to change the foodie landscape, especially at the northern end. I have mixed feelings about this, but if they’re all as great as Hopscotch then I won’t be doing too much complaining. Housed in the former Danger of Death site (there’s a cocktail on the list in its honour), Hopscotch is a “dining room and drinking den” that sneakily fits 45 covers on the ground floor restaurant, and 60 more in the basement bar. It’s not at all obvious from the street, but inside an atmospheric space awaits with superior small plates and booze.
Behind it all is Jonathan Cowley (ex-Chick N Sours, Street Feast, Bleecker) who’s assembled a top notch hospitality, bar and kitchen team including chef Luke Findlay (ex-Patty & Bun, Nopi, Hand of Flowers). The food (mostly cooked over oak and coal) is seriously good, if not always subtle on the senses. You should think twice before agreeing to share the smoked goat flatbread (with tamarind, bitter melon, bacon fat gravy, and fermented chilli) or the burrata (with oak roasted carrots and hazelnut) – maybe just order two of each. Elsewhere, grilled hispi cabbage is elevated by miso butter, parmesan and togarashi; and kohlrabi with za’atar, dill and cultured cream adds up to more than the sum of its parts. It’s all great really, and the menu will probably have changed by the time you’ve read this, so bring some friends and go nuts. P.S. The kitchen is open til midnight on Friday & Saturday. Post-booze beigels or burrata? Both? Both.
The drinks offering is equally strong, with a serious cocktail list to suit all tastes. You’ll find me with a Luchador #2 (mezcal, tequila, lime, ginger) or a Musketeer (cognac, rye, bitters), or if I’m feeling ridculous, a giant golden pineapple, aka the 24 Carat Colada. Both floors are cosy and candlelit but the basement bar is where you should settle down after dinner for a cocktail or three. That’s date night sorted. Can I come?
Hopscotch – www.hopscotchldn.com
202 Brick Lane, E1 6SA