Hackney Bureau

Restaurants, Coffeeshops South Hackney
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(12user reviews)
3 Love It
Save it
Hackney Bureau
Celia Topping

A more highfalutin magazine than ours might describe Hackney Bureau as ‘under designed’. The exterior has been left so plain – not much more than a daub of white undercoat above the street windows – that the only indication you’re at the right place is a soberly lettered sandwich board outside advertising the associated gallery.

Inside, the interior is plain, but a little less spartan than the outside. Potted basil plants and scruffy piles of magazines decorate shelf-thin window tables along two sides of a room that’s full of light and the expected mismatched chairs and salvaged tables.

Importantly, the self-consciously drab look doesn’t interfere with the service, which was unaffectedly warm on our visit.

The food offer is simple – sandwiches, salads, pastries and cakes – but also provides a few surprises. With our toasted mozzarella and beef-tomato sandwich, we ordered a curious-sounding side salad of watermelon, tomato and crumbled feta. It was a summery success.

Despite lacking any discernible hit from the advertised chilli, roughly chopped mint nicely offset its fruity sweetness.

The sandwich was well seasoned, served on good bread (from the E5 Bakehouse) and with a generous amount of basil. A richly frothy hot chocolate and a flat white from La Marzocco hit the spot, but the raspberry and oat bake (a thin flapjack with a fruity layer) was disappointingly bland.

Andor runs weekly films alongside its gallery shows, and schedules occasional dinners that promise to be more elaborate than the daytime café staples.


Venue name: Hackney Bureau
Address: 3 Mare St
E8 4RP
Opening hours: Open 7am-7pm Mon-Fri; 9am-7pm Sat, Sun
Transport: Tube: Bethnal Greeen tube/rail or Cambridge Heath rail
Price: Coffee for two with snacks: around £14
Do you own this business?
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

You may be interested in:

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
1 person listening
Bonnie W

The service was definitely lacking on my visit to Hackney Bureau and as such, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the food. The vegetarian breakfast turned out to be excellent. Slightly different than the traditional veggie breakfast, this one included sourdough toast, smashed avocado and a delicious homemade veggie “sausage.” Despite the very slow service, the food was great and the price was reasonable for London (£8 for the vegetarian fry up, £8.50 for the regular fry up.)

Chantal L

This place is so nice. It's really low key and relaxed but with really lovely fresh food. I had the special rabbit leg and it was very well cooked. There was also a fantastic selection of wine. My table shared a bottle of Malbec, which was paired with our food by our lovely waitress Jane, who was very attentive. The service was excellent and very welcoming. Will definitely re-visit! I am looking to trying the breakfast menu next time I am there, it looked scrumptious!

Anna K

Went here a couple of weeks ago for dinner with some friends and was pleasantly surprised. Excellent value for money and the food was delicious! The pork belly I had was extremely tasty - I strongly recommend it. The atmosphere of the restaurant is nice and chilled out with lovely, friendly staff, all in all making for a relaxing and enjoyable meal. A great little find, I will definitely be going here again! 


This place is an absolute hidden gem. I went here for dinner with some friends on a Friday evening, a cosy atmosphere and the food was fantastic. The menu was very simple - not too many dishes to choose from but the decision was still difficult as everything sounded delicious (the salami plate to share was a particular favourite). I opted for the leg of lamb which was cooked to perfection and I was pleasantly surprised at the great quality of the food considering the relatively low prices. The staff were also very friendly, I would definitely recommend this to anyone and will certainly be bringing more friends for another lovely dinner!

Jane Geiger

I was here for dinner last Friday night and I had an incredible time, and if I hadn't been recommended to it I would never have known it existed. The whole place is really cool and very well thought out. It has some really cool art on the walls, and the fact they allow in dogs is something you don't see much in London. It has a lovely relaxed atmosphere. The drinks list is relatively small, but has some fantastic choices, lots of cool beers and a few signature cocktails, and very affordable wine. This is also the same for the menu, its not very extensive, but along with the specials I struggled to choose between the great choices. I had the goats cheese risotto; it was full of flavour, and very good value for money, then for dessert we shared a poached peach with saffron and zambione, which I couldn't recommend more. All in all I had an incredible evening; the lovely Irish waitress was very attentive and friendly, the food was great and pretty cheap, and the atmosphere was nice and relaxed. If you want good, honest, fresh food, this is the place to go. I will definitely be back.

Roger Wells

Three really great fresh prepared breakfasts on Sunday morning. It was so packed so we thought it must be good and weren't disappointed. We had to wait for a table but they kept the food warm for us until a table came available we had 2 full breakfast with home made baked beans and great ingredients and truffled mushrooms served on delicious rye bread. Very under stated building but delicious food just as it should be. Service was warm and friendly despite it being so busy. Best breakfast I have ever been served.


I hate being one of those people to complain online about a place, but I felt so strongly to do this after my breakfast here. London is expensive and you need to mark things up to make profit, but I was shocked by the portion size. I can go to 10 other cafes for breakfast at a fraction of the price - or even cook the same for myself at hom. Also it is never clear who works there and who doesn't so service is a bit unpredictable. Everyone is nice but no one seems ot know what's going on.

Baa bah

I popped in for a coffee and was thinking of asking for the evening food menu, as my wife and I live nearby and we were wondering what the food was like, until, I saw the chef (cooking for evening menu) drop some green leaved veg on the dirty tiled floor, scoop it back up in his hand and tossed it into a pot of water on the hob! Evening menu, perhaps we'll give it a miss!!!


Great coffee but some staff spend a bit too much time sitting outside talking with friends.


Proper coffee, lovely fresh herbs sitting on big wooden tables, great food (esp before 9am for the early bird special!) and free wifi. ie the perfect local cafe. the only criticism? way too many lovely people to stare at, so i never get any work done.


Great chi, lovely place to be. I like the abandoned building look!


Outstanding coffee and a really nice atmosphere. It's the kind of place that won't kick you out or pressure you to buy more if you just want to sit and do some work. They've got free wifi, art exhibitions, film screenings with a really good vibe (and popcorn) and food based events. I attended one of the friday evening meals and had an aubergine burger with lentil salad. Great value for money. The staff are also friendly and approachable. The only thing I'd suggest is perhaps paint the exterior sign as right now it looks like it's an abandoned building, which can't be good for business.