Serving just 12 guests per sitting, dining at the Chef’s Table at The Sea, The Sea Hackney will be counter styled, with the opening menus to include dishes such as aged turbot, hot dog pods and honeycomb tomatoes. The Turbot is dry-aged in-house, then simply cooked on a Japanese Konro grill and dressed with four types of vinegar, including their own house-made bread vinegar and served with grilled hot dog pods (an extra-sweet variety of pea) and honeycomb tomatoes.
Horse mackerel, pine nut, sake and shallots is another dish to look forward to which features Horse Mackerel which is cured then lightly grilled and served with a sauce made from pine nuts cooked in mirin and sake. Then there is the innovative langoustine ‘wedding cake,’ which spent a year in development, constitutes a seaweed ‘egg cake’ baked in an artisanal Portuguese pot, seasoned with togarashi and stuffed with smoked langoustines and a sauce made from their heads. The cake is then glazed in homemade almond milk and topped with langoustine ‘floss’ before being sliced and served in front of the guests. Menus and dishes will change regularly in line with the daily catch and in response to the micro-seasonality that the UK has to offer.
Overseeing the wine list will be Renato Costa, general manager of the Chelsea branch, who has a passion for interesting and approachable wines.
Renato says, “For the chef’s table, we have focused on European wines and regions where water has a great impact on the terroir. We champion small family producers for their style, philosophy and dedication in the vineyard”.
The Chef’s Table will build on the legacy set by the Seafood Bar at their original site in Chelsea. The larger, highly-spec’d workspace at the Hackney site has allowed for a more expansive approach to the menu. The small ageing cabinet in Chelsea has been expanded into a large walk-in space at Hackney, and live shellfish are held in special filtration tanks on-site. Set within the railway arches, the space is designed as an immersive experience where diners will pass through the wholesale and product development operations en route to the Chef’s Table. A glimpse behind the scenes as fishmongers process the morning’s catch, ahead of it being delivered to their wholesale customers that night.
Founder Alex Hunter and interior designer Ben Wilkins have also put great care into creating a spectacular, multi-sensory experience. The Chef’s Table uses the arched space to create a dynamic, theatrical, highly focused and intimate atmosphere with the help of lighting designers Lighting Design Collective. The space will also lay host to named DJs on occasion, who will perform alongside the chefs from behind the counter.
Where The Sea, The Sea truly stands out, however, is its exceptional produce sourcing. Alex has set up a private transport line with their own dedicated vans that collect the catch as it is landed from a co-operative of day-boat fishermen in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, delivering directly to their Hackney base the same day and then out to their wholesale customers via an electric chiller van that evening. They also source top quality produce from Scotland and the Mediterranean. The company champions artisan, low impact fishing methods and strives to maintain complete control of product in transit and traceability.
The Sea, The Sea speaks to people who seek out great produce and have a passion for quality. From the outset, the team has understood that working with fish and seafood is also about sharing knowledge and dispelling myths. Having a restaurant in tandem with being a supplier means they can approach the idea of fish and seafood in a more tangible and creative manner. The retail side includes fresh seafood, in-house stocks and sauces, caviar and smoked and preserved fish.
Images © Jodi Hinds