Eco-friendly cook and personality Tom Hunt will open a second branch of his Bristol tapas restaurant Poco just off Hackney’s Broadway Market next month.
It will be the first London restaurant for the chef, who authored influential book The Natural Cook: Eating the Seasons from Root to Fruit and worked with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage.
The name is an abbreviation of poco loco, a Mexican phrase meaning ‘a little crazy’ – which Hunt feels sums up his unconventional approach.
Poco takes inspiration from his travels across Spain, Morocco and Latin America and uses almost entirely organic, seasonal produce that has been carefully sourced from as locally as possible – the ingredients will be “100% seasonal, 90% British and 10% European non-air freight”, says Hunt.
The Natural Cook: Tom Hunt heads for HackneyVegetables will take centre stage while meat – used sparingly – will be cooked nose-to-tail, and both the cooking processes and restaurant’s interiors will also be designed to make the minimal environmental impact possible.
Speaking of sourcing top quality local ingredients close to central London as opposed to in Bristol, Hunt assures: “It’s something I’m familiar with from my catering work in London. I’ve managed to build up really strong relationships with suppliers and can get hold of some of the finest produce in the country in this area.”
Hunt will also source fish using the Sole Share initiative which links buyers directly with the fishermen who catch the fish: “Restaurants use the term ‘fish of the day’ on the menu all the time, but it usually doesn’t actually mean it has been caught that day – in our case it always will be.”
Platter: Tortilla, leaves, harissa at Poco BristolHenry Russel, formerly of Exmouth Market’s Morito, has been appointed as head chef by Hunt.
Dishes which will feature on the opening tapas menu will include courgette fritters with soured raw cream; deep fried oysters with kelp aioli; chargrilled apricots with E8 honey, whipped ricotta and apricot kernels; and roasted partridge with cobnut dukkah and pomegranate syrup.
Along with the evening tapas menu, Poco will serve weekday breakfasts and weekend brunches.
There will also be cocktails made with homemade cordials and foraged botanicals, as well as an elderflower-infused house beer specially created for the restaurant by Bristol-based Wiper and True – strangely probably one of the furthest afield things on the menu.
Poco is due to open on September 4 at 129a Prichards Road, E2 9AP.