It’s just a bit too cool for school, the Hackney Road, where old pubs and corner shops shoulder up against wine boutiques and studios with blokes selling hand-whittled wooden spoons for six quid a throw. And then there’s Mr Buckley’s, a coolly understated two-level space serving high-concept, internationally influenced ‘small plates’ to the sort of well-dressed people who want to eat that sort of thing in east London.
There’s nothing really wrong with any of this, but the food is hit and miss, the flavours so intensely concentrated that your taste buds can give up in confusion. We had the recommended three dishes per person. Only one dish – sweet and sticky jerk steak with smoked paprika and mango butter and sweet potato crisps – really delivered. Lobster mac and cheese, in theory a fun idea, just tasted odd and jarred with everything else – items such as ragstone goat’s cheese or asparagus and quail eggs, which by themselves might have been more pleasant to eat.
Desserts were better for being one per person: notably, a moreish banana cake with peanut butter. Order carefully, or perhaps stick to the basement cocktail bar to get some of the hip local vibe.