Gotto at Here East in Hackney Wick: A canalside trattoria that transports you from industrial London to Northern Italy
Based on the banks of the River Lee Navigation in Hackney Wick is the independent and family-run Gotto, an Italian restaurant with a scenic view of the canal. The eatery was set up by three brothers and a friend who wanted to create a genuine local trattoria reminiscent of the neighbourhood establishments from where they grew up in northern Italy. This is exactly what they’ve achieved. Contrasted against the backdrop of industrial east London, it’s a fun and vibrant place to enjoy a meal.
The menu is fairly simple, which gives the impression of the owners knowing what works and not needing too many frills, which you’d expect from a proper Italian place. A cocktail on arrival is a must: either a bittersweet negroni or a foamy and delicious espresso martini. Pair this with some antipasti such as garlic focaccia or Nocellara olives. In terms of starters, the Burrata Pugliese is mouth-wateringly creamy and goes beautifully with the Deep-Fried Squid. The second dish comes with a mustardy mayo which is unexpected but tasty.
The setting of the canal is really peaceful and it’s easy to forget you’re sitting outside in London – it feels almost like being in another country – and the fairy lights and heaters give a lovely, relaxing ambiance.
Next comes the question every Italophile dreads: pizza or pasta? If you go with the former, the Gotto – tomato sauce, mozzarella, San Daniele ham, rocket and truffle oil – manages to be rich and indulgent but also fresh. Those after the latter won’t be disappointed by the Tagliatelle with Beef Ragu, which is slow-cooked over 24 hours and served with fresh pasta. This is pure, warming comfort.
There’s also plenty of choice for veggies such as Maccheroncini alla Puttanesca or the Summer Veggie Pizza. All the pasta is hand-rolled and the pizza dough is made fresh every morning using only water, salt, yeast and flour.
The wine list is short but sweet – be sure to pair rich and meaty mains with a flavoursome red. We recommend the 2019 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Borgo Sena. The wine can be purchased by the glass, carafe or bottle. For those who prefer beer with their pizza there’s a choice of Camden Hells, Birra Moretti, Hackney Hopster or Broadway Boss.
An Italian meal wouldn’t be complete without tiramisu – and Gotto’s does not disappoint. Super thick but fresh cream, booze-soaked biscuits and a chocolate topping: what more could you want? Wash it back with an espresso for total satisfaction.
Gotto is just one great choice amongst a sun-soaked line-up of canalside terraces at Here East, from Saint Espresso, Mother and Breakfast Club to Randy’s Wing Bar and The Lock Inn. It’s the kind of place you could stay all day, hopping leisurely from brunch and coffee to evening drinks. If you’re in central London, you also might want to pop into Gotto’s sister restaurant, Mele e Pere, tucked away in the heart of Soho.
To book a table at Gotto, 27E Bay Lane London E15 2GW, call 020 4513 6270 or visit their website here.