316 Queensbridge Road, Hackney has been home to an eclectic array of eateries over the years. Two years ago, the space was inhabited by almost as many Ancient Egyptian objects as The British Museum. Whilst, yes, you could dine in a giant urn on mid-range modern French cuisine (admittedly a slightly confusing affair) staring at a Pharaoh statue, LMNT had nothing on 316’s latest incarnation: The Richmond.
A neighbourhood bar and restaurant, created by Brett Redman and Margaret Crow, it offers a perfectly hand-picked selection of natural wines, classic cocktails, and traditional, locally sourced comfort food. It is also – perhaps most importantly – home to East London’s first (and only) raw seafood bar. Read: it’s oysters galore.
Fittingly, oysters are how we began our meal, opting for the Maldon Mumamoto’s which were small, sweet and ever so slightly meaty – washed down with a citrus and roasted shallot dressing. Were we more experienced oyster-consumers, then perhaps we would have tried either the Menai rocks – a fresh, sea-salt drenched offer, or the Cumrae – with a deep minerally flavour. The oysters we enjoyed were set of, so perfectly, by Nefertiti cocktails – the last remaining Egyptian tradition at 316. With a violet flower, and a mix of sparkle and liquor, it was the perfect aperitif to what was to be, quite the extravagant (yet modestly priced) meal.
For starters, I opted for the sea bass tartare; succulent, fresh and accompanied by an oyster mayonnaise, naturally. My date enjoyed the hake and cod croquettes, which we doused in deliciously light lemon mayonnaise. Building up an appetite as we went along (luckily for comfort-food was on its way) we shared the Hake, bacon, broccoli and sour cream and a hearty fish pie. The Hake was perfectly firm, with its classic flavour brought out by the salty, crisp bacon, whilst the smoked haddock, salmon and hake pie certainly warmed the cockles on a sub-zero winter’s eve. Though wonderfully satisfied post-main, we did – of course – manage to squeeze in a spot of desert. For myself this was a satisfyingly big slab of Persille Du Beaujolais, a blue goats cheese, whilst my partner opted for the chocolate mousse with coconut and pistachio. What better way to round of a meal, than a rich and mellow sweet wine – in this instance a Clot de l’Origine, Maury, Rousillon which settled us wonderfully.