Hackney Wick draws the young and arty in ever-increasing numbers, but it’s still an uninviting prospect as you thread your way through the concrete landscape created by the mix of estates, industrial sprawl and dual carriageway overhead.
So the little enclave that includes the Pearl, an enterprising Argos-style vinyl shop, a bike shop and an architectural salvage store provides a welcome oasis, especially if it’s sunny and you can sit out on the street. The interior is equally delightful, a homely space that’s nailed the shabby-chic aesthetic to perfection. Would that the food were so spot-on.
A celeriac remoulade was richly perfect, a meze selection tangy and spicy, but the more substantial dishes were disappointing. Onglet with baked chips featured overcooked, flavourless meat, and the (gigantic) meatloaf that our friendly waitress assured us was the best she’d ever tasted turned out to be bland and underseasoned, its accompanying tomato sauce little more than, well, tomato sauce. At £12.50, we’d hoped for something a bit special.
Still, the huge wedges of cake are delicious, and the coffee is good, making it a fine place to stop if you happen to be buying a bike, a piece of architectural salvage or a record.