Fare Bar + Canteen (from the team behind Sager + Wild) is one hella sexy space. Frizzy headed ferns jostle for space alongside intricate hanging lighting, whilst the central marble-topped bar houses the busy pizza oven.
There’s a separate coffee bar at the far end, as you come in, which knocked us up a perfect cortado (using Assembly Roasters coffee) served in a cheery yellow cup. We’d quite happily come back and tuck into the poppy-seeded croissants that lined the bar but the cooked food smelt too damn delicious to ignore. Yes there’s the obligatory avocado on toast and hangover busting fully loaded toasted sandwiches, but there are also more substantial dishes if you want to bypass brunch and get stuck into a proper lunch.
The pizza section alone had us desperately searching for the right answer. How does one choose between the likes of courgette, anchovy and capers or pink fir potato with gorgonzola and onion (carbs on carbs is always a winning combination in our opinion). We settled on the aubergine with black garlic, scamorza and chilli, vowing to return for truffle, cantal (a lovely hard, nutty French cheese which you don’t see on any old pizza menu) with black pepper and honey vinegar. Granted, it wasn’t much of a looker, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and one bite was enough for us to sing its praises. It’s a spicy little number though – you’ve been warned.
Sharing a pizza allowed us to try the ricotta gnudi which basically felt like a one way ticket to sunnier climes. What a dish – soft and unctuous in the middle, lightly crisp on the outside, it sat in a bright butternut squash puree and herbed oil that we dunked our pizza crusts into long after the dumplings were gobbled up. Comfort food that manages to be light and elegant at the same time – no mean feat. From the small plates section we tried the chickpea fritters which were hotter than the sun, so do try to show more restraint than us if you can. Luckily the harissa aioli helped cool things down and in any case, was worth the third degree burn for.
Hackney gelato are doing magical things over in the dessert section – a white miso scoop tasted a little like salted caramel – but the rhubarb with white chocolate and yoghurt gelato was also superb, if a little sweet.
As you’d expect from the team behind Sager + Wild, the wine list is a complete joy. We tried a glass of skin-contact vino that was a total delight to drink whilst the sun streamed through the huge windows, bouncing off the empty bottles of wine that line the wall.
We’re told that downstairs is a slightly more formal affair, one we’re keen to return too asap to work through the rest of that wine list.