Brawn, Hackney

A roast to share with all the trimmings

The Vibe

Trendy, yes. However, Hackney’s increasing ability to convince the rest of London that it is not only a good-looking spot (questionable) and the new culinary centre of the city (ditto) means that twentysomething customers are hopping on their Borris Bikes for a bit of Columbia/Broadway market followed by some lunch. Bikes aside, if you manage to get your date down on a sunny Sunday to the flower market it can’t fail to induce a butterfly of romance. Ignore what the post feminist by your side says, she bloody loves (nay dreams) of being given flowers and will proudly carry them round for the rest of the day, peacocking to her fellow Sunday dates (‘I know, sweet riiiight?’). After this minor conquest, head to Brawn round the corner to wallow in the atmosphere of East London chic; think brick, basic wooden tables, the odd flower in a makeshift vase and cold cuts served on chopping boards. Sure.

The Order

Brawn is recognised by food bloggers as a staple in East London feasting. On a Sunday, it presents you with a fuss free date, offering a fixed menu which you have no say in. An array of starters will arrive, pâté and breads, prawns, cheeses, nibbly bits, and then a roast to share with all the trimmings. It is all laid out as if eating at a dining table at home which, although annoying to have to carve your own roast chicken on a date, does provide a faux domestic set-up that could be construed as intimate. The food is fun to eat, but not a show stopper. That said, the cool factor elevates the experience and the people watching is, at best, highly amusing and, at worst, a good distraction from the date.

The Game

It’s likely that if you’re a ‘young and fun’ twentysomething you may well bump into someone you know so have your story straight (if you need to). Also remember to introduce your date, don’t underestimate how fury inducing being a silent witness can be. The flowers will have already loosened up your date so the meal itself will be an attempt to retain that romance and just coast along. It’s a laid back affair; talk about the weekend gone, lightly jest about the pretensions of East London, (whilst appreciating its merits), suggest another stroll after lunch, and just make sure it heads in the direction of Shoreditch. Once you hit the less creative but standardly glitzy bars of Hoxton, slip into any of the dark ones and then make your move. Hoxton Bar and Grill is passable, Happiness Forgets even better.

The Faults

There’s a definite ‘scene’ going on here, love or hate it.

Sex Factor

1. It’s a day date but if you push through to Hoxton, it’s on.

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