Review: Mayfields, Hackney

This one has been on my list for a little while. Mayfields is a smart little restaurant located in a quiet mainly residential street in Hackney. I nearly lost faith we were walking the right way from Hackney Central station until I saw the glimmer of the “M” logo on their sign. It’s a small, neat space containing a selection of 2 and 4 person tables, with an openish kitchen behind a big wall. Imagine a smart cafe with some simple elegant design tweaks.

Daily menu

Menus were brought over, neatly laid out and printed with today’s date. From looking at the website, it does look like they change the dishes quite significantly from day to day working with the available produce and seasons. Good to see someone with the confidence to do it properly, rather than just changing the odd dish now and again. The savoury courses are mixed together, although priced according to size, which encourages sharing / mixing it up. I had a glass of Lambrusco since I had been craving one all summer, the Italian sparkling red proving refreshing and dry with a slight bretty funk.

Bread and oil

Beetroot, horseradish and cream

After ordering, some delicious chewy sourdough was brought over, together with oil to dip it in. We started with some smoked eel, beetroot and horseradish. Very attractive plating, the rich salty smoked eel paired beautifully with soft beetroot and a slightly sweet light cream. All good, and then the horseradish added punch and fire, they obviously have a good source of this nose-clearing root. A great dish, simple ingredients but all perfect.

John Dory, carrot, cucumber and lavender

 

Chicken, anchovy, borlotti and sugar snapMains were more of a mixed bag. My John Dory arrived next, served with carrots, cucumber and lavender. I was more curious than anything to see how white fish and lavender matched up. Unfortunately not brilliantly, the lavender was quite pungent, reminiscent of soap and overpowering. The carrots were well cooked, unfortunately they were very salty and paired with the heavily salted fish made for an over seasoned dish. Which is a shame, since the fish was also well cooked, and pairing it with the cucumber, carrot, fish and a tiny bit of the lavender I could see the potential in it. Tweaks in execution would have made it much better. I still finished it. The chicken, borlotti, anchovy and sugar snap dish had better seasoning for sure. A juicy poached chicken breast was served with perfectly textured beans and an anchovy sauce, a bit like a bagna cauda. The grapefruit, sugar snap peas and coriander added freshness, making it a light dish. Possibly one ingredient too far, I’m not sure if it was the grapefruit or if the coriander was sitting a bit oddly as herb of choice in my mind. Still a good dish. We paired the mains with a glass of French Viognier, at around £4 a glass it was simple but well chosen and a bargain at that price in London.

Goat's cheeseInstead of dessert, I opted for some cheese and was glad for it. A hunk of rich, creamy soft goat’s cheese arrived, paired with some giant flat crackers akin to a homemade digestive. Very rich though, this was probably enough for 2. The total bill was £60 including service for 4 courses and a glass of wine each. The plating and standard of food belies that price, it was very enjoyable and despite a flawed main course, I can see the aims and skill of the kitchen. I’ll definitely come back shortly for a longer boozier meal and sample some more of the dishes.

 

 
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