Farley Macallan, Hackney, review: ‘biodynamic evening that set our eyes alight’

Luke Ramsden. founder of Farley Macallan. Picture: Moritz Steiger

Luke Ramsden. founder of Farley Macallan. Picture: Moritz Steiger - Credit: Archant

Farley Macallan “reinvents the local” with biodynamic wines and provides a welcoming atmosphere, despite its position on Hackney’s noisy crossroads

Rudolf Steiner is famous for a lot of things, and I don’t understand most of them.

This would be why I just spent half an hour trying (and failing) to understand the processes of biodynamic viticulture, for which he is responsible. Still don’t get it.

But, just as I don’t need to know every stage of making Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to know that it tastes delicious (one of my favourites), I’m happy for the biodynamic process to remain a mystery to me.

Luke Ramsden founded Farley Macallan to “reinvent the local”, incorporating space for neighbourhood creatives to showcase their work.


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Positioned perhaps unfortunately on the corner of a very busy crossroads halfway between Hackney Central and Homerton stations, it’s not the most relaxing place to hang your hat.

But the dimly lit interior, with filament light bulbs and necessary framed portrait of a fox, feels cosy and welcoming.

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Through a curtain is The Workers’ Cafe, where non-office-based professionals can stare at their screens somewhere other than Starbucks.

Our waiter was ready to describe the origin of every wine I didn’t understand: most of them – the list is unusual and many of the names unfamiliar – at least to me, though this probably says very little.

Split into “Easy”, “Focus” and “Biodynamic and Organic”, prices range from a reasonable £24 Sauvignon Blanc to a more extravagant £72 Chateau Musar.

We started with an “easy” Oltre Passo Primitivo (£24), a beautiful and full-bodied red accompanied by rich brawn, salty bresoala and an Italian Gratin Blue – there really is nothing like cheese and wine.

The crisp, white Biodynamic Sancerre (£38) we enjoyed with gravadlax and samphire.

But it was the Chapel Down Brut sparkling wine (£36 a bottle) with clotted cream cheesecake that truly set our eyes alight.

We left feeling more than a little woozy, but – a testament to the wine quality – none of it showed in the morning.

Farley Macallan, 177-179 Morning Lane, farleymacallan.com

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