Morito Hackney Road
We were fans of the original Morito when it opened on Exmouth Market in 2010. It was always quite difficult to score seats in the tiny space, however, which is why we’re thrilled they’ve opened a new, larger Morito on Hackney Road. This is a lovely, airy room with a horseshoe shaped marble topped bar at its centre. The chef here is Marianna Leivaditaki and the influence of her Cretan heritage can be seen, not least in the dish of wildly delicious bottarga served with toast. (We ate an earlier version of this dish alongside samphire as well as toast and we slightly preferred that iteration.) Some of the pricing is erratic – the most expensive dish we ordered, a plate of seafood paella, turned out to be the least exciting by some distance. The grilled quail was nonetheless a big hit, partly because it was served with pomegranate and a very fresh-tasting pistachio sauce. The pistachios, we are told, have been sourced from southernmost Turkey, near the Syrian border and according to Sam and Sam Clark who own Morito, they are the absolute best.
There’s also a list of sherries and vermouth and very decent wines – our companion was delighted by the Tempranillo. Morito Hackney Road is now very firmly on our list of lunch restaurants to visit after a trip to Columbia Road Flower Market on a Sunday.