Residents spoke of their fears that a quiet side street near London Fields could change if a restaurant opens there.
The team behind Nest in Morning Lane are hoping to offer an eight-course tasting menu in the old booking hall in the railway arches on Mentmore Terrace, close to London Fields station.
The three friends aim to host three-and-a-half-hour-long meals cooked up by a Michelin-starred chef at the eatery.
They said: “This restaurant is built on an understated high-end food experience. We see it as a ‘hidden’ destination that suits the low-key nature of the location.”
A letter to people living nearby added: “We serve seasonal British produce in a low-key, intimate and high-end food-led setting.”
Nearby residents told Hackney Council that the road is currently very quiet in the evenings.
They provided a video for the licensing sub-committee (24 August) which they said is “a clear snapshot of how quiet it is”.
Ollie Solman said: “We feel there is a real risk of quite a lot of disturbance, anti-social behaviour and other public nuisance.”
He explained: “We have a problem with acoustics in the street, amplified by the fact that there is concrete and brickwork.”
Homes are very close to the arches – about 11 to 14 metres away – Solman said residents were concerned about the capacity of the 300-square-metre venue. The applicants agreed to a capacity of 50 diners.
Residents asked if the sale of alcohol could stop at 10pm, if the licence is granted.
Speaking for the restaurant, Andy Newman said: “We will have a nice crowd, it will be well managed.”
Luke Wassman, who manages the eight-table eatery at Morning Lane, sought to allay residents’ concerns about noise. He recently met with them to update them, following an adjourned licensing hearing in June.
He said 8.30pm was the latest customers could use the entrance on Mentmore Terrace and would leave via Martello Street.
He added that customers would wait for taxis inside the building.
“They would be escorted out by a member of staff.”
The smoking area would be in a private area behind the restaurant.
He said the team had made concessions over opening hours but believed that “it would not be viable” for anything less than finishing alcohol service before 10.30pm and last customers leaving by 11pm.
The application has asked for hours from 12 noon to 10.30pm on Tuesdays to Thursdays and from noon to 8pm on Sundays.
The restaurant dropped plans for any off-site alcohol sales, which it had proposed as an “insurance” should there be new lockdowns or restrictions because of the pandemic. It also has no plans to have seating outside in the front or back and would work with taxi firms and customers to avoid beeping horns and car doors slamming.
In a letter to people based nearby, the team said: “Being local to the area, we are all too aware of the rise in anti-social behaviour and nuisance around London Fields. The nature of this restaurant means we are very low risk in this regard, nevertheless we take our responsibility, as any business in the area should, very seriously.”
They told residents: “This is in no way an alcohol-led restaurant. If people in the area would like that sort of experience there are, in our opinion, more than enough options on Broadway Market, Mare Street et cetera. Alcohol is only ever served to accompany the long tasting menu meal, to enhance this intimate and personal experience.”
Wassman said customers, who pre-book, will be seved four 100-millilitre glasses of wine with their tasting menu.
London Fields ward councillor Emma Plouviez told the committee: “This is likely to make a substantial difference to the noise on the street simply because of the hours it is open.”
The licensing sub-committee will publish its decision in five working days.