In the heart of Hackney where the streets are lined with take-away boxes, residents are always on the lookout for somewhere new to eat and socialise. There’s no need to search any longer because restaurant LARDO has just launched in the new Arthaus Redevelopment close to London Fields and Hackney Central.
Well-travelled owners Eliza Flanagan and Hugh Thorn have created this new charcuterie and pizza bar, where they combine old techniques of meat preserving and curing, with contemporary dishes. Their ethos of simple rustic food is served really well with the interior design and décor of the restaurant. There are no large signs or banners promoting this new eatery, instead the queue leading out of the door is proof enough that this little restaurant is already a big hit. Opening night, Eliza isn’t running around like a headless chicken as expected, instead she coolly greets customers at the door and doesn’t even break a sweat as the evening gets busier and busier.
There is an amazing atmosphere in the restaurant where everyone’s excited to experience new food. The walls inside are homely bricked and lined with shelves full of wine bottles, jars of pickled goods, spirits, olive oil and tomatoes.
Seated at “kitchen top” tables, you can see everything being handled, cooked, sliced and diced as well as the precision of Head Chef Damian Currie even when squeezing lemon over the fish. It’s refreshing to watch the chefs create pure food magic right in front of your eyes. Sadly though, not all credit can be given to the chefs, as the variety of cured meat is the winner. Eliza has used her knowledge from an epic 8,000 mile food trip around the USA to introduce the meat from the rare breed pig Mangalitza to her customers in its many forms.
The meat is sliced before you, as you dribble in suspense waiting for your taste of sweet coppa, salumi misti, hot lonzino and fennel pollen salame. Described as “similar to an Italian tapas” by a customer, the menu also boasts marinated aubergines, cuttlefish al nero, summer pickles as well as a range of salads and rabbit. LARDO’s menu will be kept tight and will change regularly so as to remain interesting for both the guests and the owners! This will definitely be beneficial for those vegetarians out there who venture to this restaurant!
If the food and range of wine isn’t enough, there is after all the large “disco ball” pizza oven you could just come to see. Made by her own father, Eliza takes great pride in this oven as it’s given a centre piece in the restaurant. It compliments the world of contemporary and vintage that LARDO successfully creates.
Back in June 2012 I started as a Culture Writer for The Upcoming. I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of a new restaurant LARDO in July 2012