Come to this City Farm café on a weekend at your peril; toddlers rule the roost inside and out, and while the food is appealing, nearby Broadway Market or Columbia Road offer better, more original cooking without having to eat it in a crèche.
But come in the evening and it’s a different matter. Then, the shabby space comes into its own, with candles and strings of coloured bulbs bringing out the natural warmth of the wooden decor. The menu is much the same as its daytime counterpart – all-day breakfasts, pastas, salads and roasts – but on Thursdays, an ambitious agriturismo menu offers a small selection of rustic dishes such as own-made pappardelle with asparagus, peas and pecorino, rabbit stew, stuffed squash, and seared duck salad.
The quality of both the produce and cooking is variable, and some dishes are overpriced at around £16, but on a warm evening you can get a very real sense of eating in an idyllic Italian hillside trattoria, despite being yards away from Hackney Road. Don’t come hungry though – courses are served around 45 minutes apart, and with no bread or nibbles to munch on, it’s a long night.