Little Maxi is now three months old, so Mr Blonde Almond and I thought it was high time we really lived it up by staying awake past our usual bedtime of 9pm. I’ve been clocking up a list of places to eat in for my first evening out; and this joint, which opened in the summer, caught my eye.
A former bike shop-cum-cafe, Tuyo sits on the bridge connecting Broadway Market and Pritchard’s Road. And this laidback Hackney restaurant – that throngs with noisy revellers – is quickly making a mark on the area’s foodie scene. It’s all about good ingredients and original dishes from one of the chefs behind the ever-popular Salt Yard. No one’s trying to be cool here; you won’t find any peacocking hipsters – and it’s wholeheartedly refreshing, with couples nibbling charcuterie and wine-loving chums talking animatedly over shared dishes. On arrival, the waiters burst into a raucous rendition of Happy Birthday for a blushing diner on a nearby table.
It’s all about small plates at Tuyo, and I deliberated over the menu whilst tucking into the bread – sultana fennel and pumpernickel – dunked into a moreish hummus and yoghurt dip. Tables are squished together pretty closely and it’s easy to eye up your fellow diners’ dishes if you’re stuck for inspiration.
First came a gorgeous halloumi dish, pimped up with an excellent peperonata and pesto, with just the right dose of saltiness. The salt cod, meanwhile, with a garlicky potato puree was an absolute triumph, served with a fat, juicy black tiger prawn. Massive thumbs up also go to the chorizo with baba ganoush. It may not be a traditional combination, but the seasoning was spot on and the chargrilled chunky slices of chorizo delivered a wallop of deep flavour.
Desserts are every bit as good. Mr Blonde Almond and I shared a dreamy chocolate ganache with passion fruit caviar, edible flowers, a chocolate crumb, and a velvety white chocolate sauce, drizzled at the table. Even if you haven’t got room for this superb dessert that’d bring a huge smile to any chocoholic’s face, it’s worth ordering out of sheer greed – you won’t be disappointed.
Tuyo won me over very quickly with its buzzing atmosphere and warm service, but more importantly its attention to detail and very credible, very clever cooking. You watch this space – Tuyo is set to become one of Hackney’s top restaurants.