I need to begin with the disclaimer that my ride to Lagom — a live-hearth location inside the railway arch of Hackney Church Brew Co — was fashioned using doubtlessly distorting elements. The first is that it coincided with one of those abnormally sunny days whilst delirious happiness seems like an airborne contagion, and every Londoner is basically stripped naked, laughing their heads off with a Solero in each hand.
The 2d is that my wife and I had determined to take our two sons alongside; a roll of the dice that went so well it furnished the sort of sustained, pretty pathetic excessive masses of parents may be familiar with. After arriving, we sat in the dappled color of the brewery’s bustling, graveled lawn — one child napped in his pram, and the opposite silently drew endless felt-tip ninjas whilst we lightly clinked beers like financial institution robbers who had pulled off the heist of an entire life.
Expert cooking at that factor felt like a welcome, however now not fully necessary, garnish to the day. So when the meals arrived from the wafting smoke of chef and founder Elliot Cunningham’s multi-tiered grills — and grew to become out to be a number of the maximum innovative, wantonly perfect and admirably veg-ahead fish fry I’d ever had — it was nearly overwhelming.
Lagom (which, in connection with Cunningham’s Scandinavian background, is a philosophical Swedish term meaning something like ‘simply enough’) has been bouncing around for a few years, and I dimly don’t forget trying it at Cinerama in Shoreditch. But here (at a bar that has been released ‘in partnership’ with a nearby church attended by its co-founders), matters feel distinctive.
Cunningham now seems to be expressing himself with brand new readability, self-assurance, and playful, satisfaction-giving freedom. Ember-roasted root veggies, uncommon sauces trickled over thickly crusted cuts of meat; Lagom’s menu marries extreme fire-whispering talent with an admirable aversion to hokey, maple-smeared smooth wins.
I ordered Korean hot swede, which delivered blocks of root veg — blackened and possibly miso-glazed — dribbled all over with a properly raucous chili sauce. Split pea fritters nearly had the pleasant pease pudding falafel; semicircles of gooey, sun-yellow stodging, deep-fried to an attractive bronze and served with silky, subtle garlic mayo.
Scotch egg turned into top notch for sausage meat spiked with more lardons, and crispy potatoes had been skin-on nuggets of joy that dissipated the littlest one’s publish-nap crabbiness. There turned into 1/2 a hen, too — a brined, smoked, and violently branded Fosse Meadow hen with a powerful honeyed sweetness — however it changed into unceremoniously upstaged by using a plate of cauliflower.
Oof, this element. Looking uncannily like a buttermilk-fried piece of meat, it turned into a head-turning, deeply golden saucepot of a mega-floret, long-marinated in a quince and Scotch bonnet syrup and in some way dry-fried so everything attained an insane, smoky-sweet depth.
Along with the manner, there was a plate of possibly overly soft, smoked butter-drenched pink sprouting broccoli. However, as all 4 of us plowed via each to be had puddings — a coal-roasted flagstone of oozing salted caramel brownie and a forcefully tart rhubarb disintegrate — there has been the developing experience that this become one of this food, one of those places, perhaps, wherein it felt like not anything could move incorrect.
We made our manner from the packed lawn, beyond Cunningham’s slumbering pair of whippets, into the cool, abandoned darkness of the principal bar, in which a pair of fantastically restored pews nod to Hackney Church Brew Co’s dating with the E9 residence of worship that conjures up its name. It’s a surprising union of the hip and the holy. But, whatever your notion system, that is food touched by using uncommon ingenuity that deserves to be sought out, celebrated, and, yes, possibly, even worshipped.
1 Half chicken £15
1 Fried cauliflower £7
1 Crispy potato £3.95
1 Korean hot swede £7
1 Purple sprouting broccoli £6
1 Scotch egg £5
1 Spit pea fritters £6
1 Brownie £5
1 Fruit fall apart £5
1 Pint of Lazy Day lager £5.50
1 Chatsworth cherry season £3.75
1 Seville mandarin soft drink £3.50
Total: £ 72.70