Marksman – a chef’d up boozer in Hackney get’s Michelin’s pub of 2017

The Marksman in Hackney was launched in May of 2015 by two veterans in the game, Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram – both former chefs of St John. Before teaming up at the Marksman, Harris ran One Leicester Street (now defunct), while Jon Rotheram was the executive chef at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. The refurbished boozer has all of the positive qualities of a great pub; great British food with wines of the world, with an array ales.

The ground floor has all the classic cues of a British boozer. 

The upstairs.

The simplicity of the menu is the selling point.

Quinta De Fao Mateus from Portugal £37. It’s full bodied and very sweet. Probably too rich for me, it’s all subjective of course but if you prefer them less rich go for something else. 

This starter was on the specials – ‘crumbed puff ball mushroom, sous vide egg, Tamworth cured pork shoulder’ – this was the description we received and it was pretty apt! The crumb was as crisp as you like, probably panko as say, with wonderful slithers of savoury cured ham so good that it could rub shoulders with the finest Jamón Ibérico! 

Beef & Barley bun, horseradish £5. The bun chewy bun is the perfect little vessel to carry the intensely flavoured mince, slather with that fluffy horseradish cream for full effect – it’s oven baked magnificence.

Cheese fritters £3.20 – crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside – they disappeared very quickly!

Treacle cured Tamworth belly, green onion and beer mustard £15. The flavour in the tender pork was stunning and it was easily the best of the mains. I’d order this again.

Spring greens & garlic.

Fried potatoes, burnt onion mayo £4. Deep fried, glorious crispy things to behold – these are a must.

Chicken and girolle pie £34. The chicken filling had depth in flavour as did that thin crispy pastry. Considering it was a pie it was surprisingly light, the soupy interior could have done with some reduction. 

Deserts –

Chocolate ice cream & salted toffee sandwich £7. The pudding gave you lashings in spades. 

The verdict:
When did I go? Sept 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £60-£70 per head with drinks.
The good: The food here, I gather is meant to be simple, pure and nourishing. It was a delicious experience with precise cooking you’d find in white table clothed establishments. The beef & barley bun is a compulsory order as are the fried potatoes.
The bad: The pie albeit good was underwhelming in comparison to the other dishes.
Rating: 3.5/5
Would I go again? Yes
Address: 254 Hackney Rd, London E2 7SJ
020 7739 7393

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