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REVIEW | Barge East, Hackney Wick

By Lindsey Roberts – 9 May 2020

Why I love it: Delicious food, cosy atmosphere, great service.

Is it worth getting an Uber for? YES

Expect: Great food, awesome staff 

Value for money: 9.5/10 

Setting the scene: 

Delicious food and quirky venue means an awesome date night.

We’re always on the hunt for a quirky venue for date night. Don’t get me wrong, crazy golf is fun, but I’m not very good so it’s getting a little bit boring. But date night on a boat? I was happy to jump aboard! Don’t worry, it wasn’t a canoe – that’s crazier, less quirky. It was a lovingly restored 116-year-old boat with an impressive menu. 

Barge East is in Hackney Wick and situated on the River Lee, about five minutes’ walk from Hackney Wick Overground station. Adorned in twinkly lights, it’s hard to miss on a crisp Saturday evening. We were greeted outside with a smile and led down into the lower deck. I noticed that there’s also seating on the upper deck and a private ‘room’ at the front too. All noted for next time.

We were led downstairs to arguably the best table in the house (boat) which had a great view of the entire restaurant, seating about 30-40. We were able to people watch and peruse the menu while our drinks were brought over. Rustic and cosy decor, simple yet effective table settings, and beautifully restored wooden tables all added to the cosy Saturday night vibe. 

The menu was substantial and split into ‘small’ and ‘big’ plates. I’m not that good at sharing food, so we decided to go for two small plates and then two big plates. Not before we tried the sourdough bread and bacon butter. Yes, you read that correctly, bacon butter. Which was delicious spread on the warm bread and washed down with a swig of Sauvignon. 

To start I had Pork and N’duja scotch duck egg, which did not disappoint. Full of flavour, an egg cooked to perfection, and a kick of heat with each mouthful. My date had cured prawns with pickles, baby gem, prawn emulsion, and bacon. Thankfully, he’s more receptive to sharing food, so I was able to have a bite. Whilst I found it a little disconcerting at first because the prawns looked raw, they were really good, fresh, and tasty. 

Just four main courses to choose from after that and I was torn between the Pork Belly or the Flat Iron steak. Both sounded delish, but I couldn’t resist the steak. Especially when I was informed that it had been sous-vide for hours beforehand and then put on the grill. The result? A plate of absolute deliciousness. The steak was full of flavour, cooked well. And accompanied with ratte potato and charcuterie sauce. Potato to meat ratio was good too — you know you go to some places and they give you like one spoonful of carbs? Just no. Our plates were pretty much licked clean and I was half tempted to order more meat for dessert (it has happened in the past)

Instead, we went for the cheese platter and drowned toast ice-cream with a double espresso. Since I don’t drink caffeine I just had toast ice cream. There’s always one. To be honest, I could have eaten that by the tub (can we arrange that please?!)

With a belly full of wonderful food and a smile on my face from the attentive service, we made our way back onto dry land and headed off into the night. Not before I got a picture with the team though, who were more than happy to get involved.

The good news is for you (and me) is that they’re now open SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. Suggest you get your table booked sharpish at this quaint and quirky venue— it’s a popular place and now I know why. 

To find out more visit their website or find them on Instagram: @bargeeast

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