• Bars and pubs
2 Love It
© Jamie Lau
© Jamie Lau
© Jamie Lau
© Jamie Lau
© Jamie Lau
© Jamie Lau
Bethnal Green

A hotly awaited revamp of cherished Hackney boozer The Marksman, with high-calibre cooking and must-try on-tap offerings.

The first-world conundrum of whether to dedicate Saturday night to fine dining or serious drinking is tackled head-on by the folks behind the relaunched Marksman. This is the latest addition to Hackney Road’s swelling crop of new and refurbed bars and restaurants. 

The owners decided have made few changes to the interior of this much-loved boozer, which means that the bar has retained many of the locals who used to prop it up. What has changed is the food, courtesy of head chefs and joint owners Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram, whose CVs include stints at St John, One Leicester Street and Fifteen.

Starters of devilled crab on toast, or beef and barley bun with horseradish cream (the house speciality) are attention-grabbing options, but our fried salt hake and potato rissoles stole their thunder: perfect morsels with delicately crisp exteriors that gave way to butter-smooth centres. Mains stray even further from the gastropub script: curried duck with sourdough roti and tomato chutney (£16) was deliciously savoury, rich in ghee, and extraordinary in texture; the type of dish that stays in your thoughts. For dessert, a brown butter and honey tart was so light it was a mystery of culinary engineering. 

If you can’t get a table, must-try on-tap offerings and excellent bottled beers should soften the blow. Opt for the seasonal specials or the Duchesse de Bourgogne, with a hint of tang from balsamic vinegar. 

The Marksman isn’t cheap, but it’s good value for the calibre of cooking. Although there are plans to move the dining room upstairs come autumn,it’s great to get such confidently prepared food in such a convivial, low-maintenance environment. Dinner here is like having your low-end/high-end cake and eating it too. 

Venue name: Marksman
Address: 254 Hackney Rd
E2 7SJ
Opening hours: Open 11am-midnight Mon-Sat, 11am-11pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Hoxton Overground
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £95.
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Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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As a local who liked the Marksman as a boozer where everyone was welcome be it the old time East-enders to the blokes who've just finished a post work game of footie in Haggerston Park, I was pleased to see they've left the downstairs as it was and open to all - no need to book here. But they've also created a beautiful upstairs dining room with textiles lining the ceiling, bright lino on the floor and wonderfully dipped silver light bulbs. The food is outstanding. Fresh, innovative and downright scrummy. The roast chicken I had was the most tender and juicy I've ever had. My only comment of what was a fab experience - the staff were not so welcoming. My party had already arrived and were seated upstairs. I was stopped by two members of staff trying to stop me from going upstairs demanding what my name was and who I was with. Not the greatest start but soon forgotten. I'll not affect their star rating because of this because the place is so nice and the food so damn tasty. 


The Marksman should be touted as the apex of the ultimate Sunday in East London. It's located on Hackney Road, just off the corner of Columbia Road Flower Market so it's perfect for a long, boozy Sunday lunch and then an amble down to the flower market to pick up some cut price blooms. The downstairs is an old-fashioned boozer; the kind that looks like it's always lamplit. The upstairs dining rooms are airy and spacious and decorated in a clean and colourful Scandinavian style. But that's by the by when you get food of this quality. Pub roasts are always a gamble but this is a gamble that paid off. The meat was beautifully cooked and incredibly tender; the potatoes were crispy, salty shards without and fluffy within; and the famed brown butter and honey tart is as amazing as everyone says. It comes plated on its own which is a sign of the kitchen's confidence in this confection: no need for the distraction of cream or any other accoutrements. All you need is the taste of flaky, butter-rich pastry and ethereally-light custard with the caramelised notes of brown butter. 

David Clack

Very good food but very disappointing service. Drinks orders were forgotten, things were brought at the wrong time, items that weren't ordered were delivered. Still, that mutton curry is absolutely epic and the desserts (particularly the brown butter and honey tart) are out of this world. Beautiful setting, too – it's just a shame the staff don't do the place justice.