Mission, Bethnal Green
Bringing up marriage is a no-no on dates but there’s something about Mission that just screams Hipsters Getting Hitched. Housed under the arches by Bethnal Green tube station, with a giant palm tree right in the centre of the room and a mezzanine hosting ebullient private parties, this joint screams ‘Fuck you destination weddings, we love Hackney’. With its copper bar, slabs of concrete and chic interiors, Mission is a cool looking character with the enthusiastic heart of a geek. Nights here should be set to a soundtrack of “Celebrate” remastered by Krankbrother. Brought to East London by the wine folk behind Sager + Wild, Mission is the most charming Hackney dinner joint we’ve encountered since the culinary high five that is White Rabbit. Californian wine provides good vibes and hearty, stomach-warming food lends an air of happy accident to an already jovial experience.
Negronis to kick things off, then a hefty starter of rich duck ragu on pappardelle and beetroot, chicory, walnut and Stichleton salad. Mains are a domestic winter dream – a rich shoulder of lamb, aubergine parmigiana, garlic and rosemary roast potatoes and seasonal greens. And red wine – oh so much red wine.
Meet at Bethnal Green tube and meander down to Mother Kelly’s , a craft beer bar next door where the 8% half pint will set a heady tone. Soak up the 20/30something chiller vibes and then move next door for your meal. Make a mental note to take sex off the table tonight, so you can eat and drink to your heart’s content and resign to making spoons later on. Live the Commie lifestyle by ordering the same dishes and splitting the check – food envy or prescribed gender roles would be a sucker punch on a date here. Stay as long as you can then head to the Sun Tavern for a nightcap. Then hope you’ve missed the last train and Uber it.
The Faults The odd room-shuddering train rumble – perhaps part of the theatre?
Sex Factor 2. Pretty high on romance. Sky high on culinary and cool credentials.