30-32 Broadway Market, London, E8 4QJ www.storiesonbroadway.com
Stories Ã¢â‚¬â€œ not to be confused with Tom Sellers’ Michelin-starred Story in Bermondsey Ã¢â‚¬â€œ is a restaurant and bar recently opened on Hackney’s Broadway Market. Despite being one of East London’s most popular hangouts, Broadway Market has never had much going for it for those in search of a good dinner; Argentinian steak house Buen Ayre is one notable exception but popular pubs such as The Cat and Mutton and The Dove have remained very much drinking destinations rather than foodie ones.
Taking its place on this well-established stretch, then, Stories has a good chance of standing out from the crowd, and on our visit, it certainly made a good case for itself. The menu, as is to be expected these days, focuses on small plates to share, with only the burgers large enough to be considered mains. We take the sharing route, skipping the burgers in favour of trying a wider variety of dishes.
Chunky homemade pigs in blankets with caramelised apple disappear in moments, as do the wild mushroom and mozzarella risotto balls with fresh pesto dip. A dish of grilled squid and prawns Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so often a chewy disappointment in pubs Ã¢â‚¬â€œ avoids this pitfall, being perfectly cooked and livened up with a coating of piri piri sauce. Spicy lamb skewers with homemade mint yoghurt aren’t especially spicy but are, nevertheless, juicy and full of flavour, while crispy panko-coated chicken drumsticks with chimichurri is the evening’s highlight.
The room itself is light and airy with long colourful communal tables, a big bar, and open kitchen at the back. The bar is well stocked with craft beers from the nearby London Fields brewery and premium imports such as Brooklyn Lager and Asahi. Cocktails are the focus here, however, with an original selection that includes the Sob – Hendrick’s gin, mango puree, sugar, lemon, chilli Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and the Shaggy Dog, made from Herradura plata tequila, fresh raspberries, blackberries, and coffee liquor.
Stories’ menu isn’t the most extensive or even the most original but it does deliver quality, well-cooked pub grub in a fun, relaxed environment. What it does, it does very well indeed and that’s something that Broadway Market locals can be thankful for.