If you go down to the banks of the River Lea, on the edge of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, you’ll stumble upon a row of canalside eateries. We were here, at creative hub Here East no less, to visit just one of them: Gotto – a family-run Italian trattoria in the heart of Hackney Wick. Light floods through the glass doors (which open up in summer), creates a bright space that still retains an air of neighbourhoodly cosiness about it. We kicked things off in the true Italian fashion, with a home-made vermouth to start. The menu is daily-changing depending on that day’s haul of local, seasonal and Italian ingredients. What you can rely on though is hand-rolled pasta, lots of fresh veggies and top quality meat and fish, served with perfect Italian simplicity. But first – starters. We tucked into a spread of lamb meatballs with pecorino cheese, baked cauliflower with ginger, lemon and cherry tomatoes (a feast for the eyes, as well as tastebuds), and a gooey burrata with cherry tomatoes. The sort of food to transport you to the crooked side streets of a quaint Italian provincial town.
For our mains, we were both seduced by the maccheroncini with artichoke and white truffle oil. Maccheroncini, incase you’re wondering, is posh macaroni. And posh this was – with a luxuriously creamy artichoke sauce underpinned by that exquisite earthiness of the white truffle – all topped with lashings of parmesan and cracked black paper of course. We ordered rainbow chard with chilli, garlic and parmesan on the side, simply to up our veg count for the day, but that too was delicious. We finished things with an Italian espresso each, and a homemade tiramisu which was whipped up in front of us in the open kitchen. Surely the only way to round off a hearty Italian three-course feed on a quiet Tuesday?
Canalside, Here East, 27 East Bay Lane, E15 2GW