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.
254 Hackney Rd
|Opening hours:||Open 11am-midnight Mon-Sat, 11am-11pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Hoxton Overground|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £95.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:1
As soon as I stepped in the door I knew this place was special. It has an old school mahogany charm from the original Marksman signs to the waiters waking around with an old fashioned arm behind their back and blue apron.
Apparently this place is always booked up but we managed to sneak a table for two at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon because we were lucky. I would recommend sharing a roast as the chicken we picked was phenomenal! It was £29 for 2 courses and came with lovely things like roasties and bread sauce. This place is in a league of its own and a stones throw from the other pubs on Columbia road.
Amazing food and atmosphere. Retains the charm of a traditional pub plus has exceptional food to go with it. I love the contrast between the dining room upstairs and the more sympathetic pub look downstairs.
Don't order the roast beef for Sunday lunch. Was really tough and virtually inedible.
Starters were ok.
Let down by failure to execute a good main course - and they didn't like it when I told them. Their Sunday lunch pales in comparison to the Bull and Last and even locally Resident of Paradise Row is much better.
Overly hyped up. I would give it a miss if your thinking of trying it, and try somewhere else you fancy instead, rather than chancing it at the Marksman.
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.
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