Morito Hackney Road

Restaurants, Spanish Hoxton
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
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A follow-up to Exmouth Market’s much-loved Morito.

It’s hard to believe that the original Moro in Exmouth Market – which later gave way to spin-off Morito next door – opened almost 20 years ago. At the time, it was revolutionary, a blazer of trails that encouraged the patatas bravas brigade to embrace an idea of ‘tapas’ that looked beyond traditional Spanish dishes. That took inspiration from North Africa and the Middle East, too. In 2016, these same bold, smash-your-palate flavours have become all the rage. I can barely open a menu without finding a dollop of labneh or sprinkle of sumac on it. Morito’s owners couldn’t have picked a better to time to bring this, the third member of the Moro family, into the world.

Not, by the way, that the new site is anything like its namesake in Exmouth Market. They may share the same Twitter account, but this branch is a completely different kettle of salt cod. Over in EC1, the counters are bright orange (like eating off a giant smartie, I’ve always maintained), the space teeny-tiny and vibe ultra-intimate, with fewer than 20 seats. Here at Hackney Road the room is large and high-ceilinged, with cool clean decor: stone floors, steel Tolix chairs and two-tone walls of brilliant white and summery cornflower blue. Lights are painfully, see-every-pore bright (turn them down, please, I beg you!) but otherwise it’s a civilised, minimalist affair.

There’s an enormous horseshoe counter (obvs) but no kitchen behind it, so don’t expect to see chefs burning their thumbs while you watch. The drama, instead, comes from the daily changing menu.

Dishes may also be different, but the style is unmistakable: small plates and sassy flavours. Dukkah for dipping, pomegranate mocktails for sipping. Best of the night was the borek, a giant mutated spring roll of sorts, only with the golden pastry outer giving way to seemingly endless folds of pastirma (warmly spiced cured meat) and gooey melted cheese, plus tiny, delicious surprises: a cherry tomato, a sprig of dill. Eating it is like playing the best game of pass the parcel ever. A gutsy, gorgeous salad of thinly sliced green and yellow courgettes layered with briny anchovies, fresh cheese, black olives and fresh mint had me pause and let out a happy sigh.

Could I have lived without a so-what plate of chewy octopus and bland potatoes, or a fairly underwhelming pile of deep-fried okra? Probably. But staff were fresh out of charm school and the room abuzz with thirtysomething chatter: locals seem chuffed to have this slice of the Moro mini-empire on their patch. And who can blame ’em?

By: Tania Ballantine

Posted:

Venue name: Morito Hackney Road
Contact:
Address: 195 Hackney Rd
London
E2 8JL
Opening hours: Mon 6pm-10.30pm; Tue-Fri midday-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm; Sat 9.30am-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm; Sun 9.30am-3pm, 6pm-9pm.
Transport: Hoxton Overground
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £90.
Do you own this business?
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|4
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Tastemaker

It was meant to be my special birthday breakfast and since the Turkish eggs trial was long overdue, the so much hyped Morito was the place to be. We were welcomed by a smell of smoked paprika from the open kitchen and a friendly Thom Yorke type led to a pleasant quite corner (the place was quite busy on Sunday morning). Apart from the open kitchen they have a nice big bar in the middle and the staff is very attentive, yet not annoying. We ordered two versions of the Turkish eggs, one with sajuk sausage and one without. First I had to send back my toast as it was too burned to eat. Then I had to send my whole breakfast back as it contained meat which I didn’t ordered. They clearly rushed to replace it as there was a bit of egg shell in my second round. I think it was only my good birthday mood that didn’t make me leave the place at that point. The food, though on the smaller, was quite tasty and well spiced. The tea and coffee were excellent (worth the entire £3.5 & 3 each). 

Tastemaker

After reading the top two things on the menu, I was hooked. The tapas style sharing dishes are perfect for a girly catch up or a date with someone a little more special. 


Each dish has a both north African and Spanish culture infused into the flavors taking you on a little trip with each bite. And the cocktails accentuate the whole journey. Maybe getting you a little tipsy on the way. 


Keep in mind Morito isn't cheap, but for what you get the money is worth spending. The wait staff know exactly when to bother you and when to leave you alone, which is always a plus in my book. 


The only thing I would change is the booking system, walk-ins only suck if you're on a date. 

tastemaker

I'd heard great things about Morisot in Exmouth Market and it did not disappoint. The tapas selection was immense with good portions of fish, meet and middle eastern cuisine. They had fish specials and a selection of their main menu pieces and we mixed between them. The staff were a little rude and didn't know much about the food. But it was a good value meal in a lovely concrete and fish themed restaurant. I'd definitely go back.

Highlights fattoush salad was good, lamb chops devine and the fried aubergine with date molasses was like a dessert it was sweet - but so good :)

Tastemaker

I've been keen to give this hyped Hackney outpost a try for some time, but plans have been scuppered by my inability to secure a booking. I was pleased to discover, then, that they've just started serving breakfast. I'm assuming this is still little known about, as the restaurant was only around half full when we visited. The poached eggs were pleasing if not earth shattering, and the Turkish menemem was tasty but without the heat and heartiness of the versions served up and down Kingsland road (and about half the size). The highlight for me was a homemade granola with cardamom, yoghurt, pomegranate and pistachios. Less successful were dry Moroccan pancakes with a smear of sheep's cheese on the side. It's one I've wanted to tick off the list, but I'm not sure I'll be back.