No. 90, Hackney
On paper No. 90 ticks a lot of boxes for a hip Hackney restaurant – interesting warehouse space, emphasis on art and music as well as food, plus easy access on the Overground. It has the makings of a great Saturday night date – and didn’t disappoint.
The start wasn’t that auspicious. The waitress couldn’t find the booking, the house music was drowning my attempts to make myself understood, and a woman who I assume was part of the entertainment repeatedly asked me to attach pieces of lego to her lego dress. But once we got seated, I started to get a handle on things. There was a rowdy mixture of people drinking, dining, and even dancing, which sounds weird but actually created a relaxed, anything goes atmosphere, perfect for getting to know your date. This was reinforced by the upbeat but diverse music selection, which gave the impression of having dinner at a credible high end musical festival.
Firstly, the staff here are great: knowledgeable, irreverent, hipster-beautiful, and eager to please. We even met the chef, whose tattoos match his artistry in the kitchen.
Dinner itself was a real delight. We kicked off with some local Hackney ales while the waitress talked us through the menu. All the starters looked interesting but we eventually settled for the prawn spring rolls and crispy soft shell crab, both of which were winners. The lamb croquettes off the specials menu were a curious triumph. Under the waitress’s supervision, we had the sea bream special for main. It was a sizeable portion, but delicately prepared, and worked well with a fruity Chenin Blanc. It’s quite a meat and fish focussed menu, but we also got on well with the veggie chilli.
The flair and quality of the cooking belies the price tag – a pleasant surprise at a venue which offers a lot more besides.
You’re basically set up for the night here, with the best bits of a dinner and drinks date. The unusual surroundings and opportunity for people watching combat those initial nerves. After dinner, you’ll both be feeling the music and have a desire to show each other just how fun you really are. Move to the bar for a cocktail, start tapping your foot and adventurously gesture to the dance floor. At least one of you must live East, so there’s no reason why the night can’t carry on from here
If you’re looking for a quiet romantic meal, you’re probably in the wrong place. But why are you looking at a warehouse in Hackney Wick?
4. Swing those hips on the dance floor.