The Railroad, Hackney

The problem with many deeply fashionable cafes is that they are so busy being deeply fashionable that the concept of serving decent food with a bit of grace seems to escape them entirely. And you sort of feel a bit wary about visiting them (well, I do, anyway) because your glasses might fog up, or you might bash into someone important with the wheel of your graceless pram, or you might annoy the person serving by interrupting their conversation because you want to be….well, served.

So, thinking this was going to be another one of those cafes, I hadn’t dared venture into the Railroad until I was in exactly the right mood. And the first thing that happened when I did (even before my glasses fogged up) was the nice man behind the counter helped me with my pram.

The Railroad is a cafe/restaurant; it also sells books and has music and poetry nights. According to a glowing Time Out review it used to be two venues, a barbershop and a Nigerian wine bar.

The menu is short but seasonal – Yorkshire rhubarb with yogurt for breakfast, or fried eggs with sumac, and Vietnamese sandwiches, along with a few other more traditional things such as slow-cooked shin of beef with red wine and thyme (have a look here). Although I only had a piece of rhubarb tart and a mug of tea I could tell that the people here know their food ā€“ not only was the tart fresh and tangy with lemon zest, the tea was strong and hot and made with care. It’s these little details that impress. Not to mention the fact that on the way out the nice man behind the counter helped me with my pram again.

120-122 Morning Lane, Hackney E9 6LH
0208 985 2858


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