In the bailiwick of Hackney down an inconspicuous street sits a frontage framed by a selection of trendy bicycles (except mine that is, I compensate by lifting it higher and d-locking the dishevelled hybrid to the skinnier part of the lamp post). It's dark, the costcutter next door is open, yet no one is nipping in to get cheap take-outs or lingering on the curb to consume cans with wallet saving grace. Instead they congregate inside The Counter where the atmosphere is buzzing, not a manic Friday night neurosis, just an energy of connectivity, perhaps the earlier glass white is staring to take effect. Staff and customers are bustling around efficiently, it's hard to differentiate between the two. Antipoedean tones greet me to explain they have run out of glasses and wine, quite imperative to the nights lubrication, I note with a fixed patience. Reassurances and relaxed smiles inform me that replacements are on there way. We order, £15 for a bottle seems a few pounds over the odds for a house white in East London, however, they stayed open later than usual so we don't quibble. The food smells amazing and the BBQ has already bore it's fruits, my stomach awakens and makes its demands. The fussy vegetarian is catered for, hastily furnished with a burger constructed of haloumi, aubergine, mushroom, salad and an optimum dose of relish, I munch away contently as my stomach purrs. We sit on a bench by the large sliced canister in the rear courtyard to warm ourselves as the contents roar. Our conversation is complimented by the hip hop soundsystem playing in the background. The ambience is set to good times and the wine and food flow effortlessly as the evening washes into the night.
I plan to return, perhaps during the warm light of a sunny day, to eat again and settle my mind as to whether the gem I stumbled upon in a drunken haze was as good as my memory serves.