Recently life has felt like being caught-up in a whirlwind – we’ve been battered and blown along, and in the process eaten out far too many times, breakfast, lunch and dinner. So here’s a quick snapshot from our tour of some local eateries.
A new favourite place for a weekend breakfast: Pivaz – 34 Chatsworth Road, Hackney, E5 0LP. Modern Turkish restaurant open 8am-11pm. A great stop-off if you’re visiting the Chatsworth Road Sunday Market. Fantastic range of breakfast dishes including avocado and poached eggs on sourdough toast, extra £1.50 to add smoked salmon, chorizo, bacon, or parma ham. Or their very satisfying sizzling dish of tomatoes, scrambled eggs, peppers and onion served with fresh flatbread. There’s the more familiar Turkish meze and grills on the evening menu. Excitingly they’re opening a new place in Epping soon.
Vegetarian Indian Dalston style: Gujarati Rasoi – 10A Bradbury Street, Dalston, N16 8JN. Unusual opening hours: Wed, Thur, Fri & Sat 6pm – 10:30pm; featured on Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation. A small but beautiful, weekly changing menu following seasonal vegetables and Hindu festivals. We are totally in love with their Papdi Chat (£7.50) a chickpea salad, street food dish. It’s the kind of menu where we end up saying ‘I want it all!’ Helpfully the mains come in half portions so we usually share a few dishes. Just around the corner is the Vortex jazz bar or other uber-cool Dalston bars for late night drinks. White Rabbit across the street is another amazing restaurant with a great value tasting menu.
Great burgers and a secret basement bar: Breakfast Club Cafe 12-16 Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, E1 7LS. We’re late in getting round to trying this place – tucked away opposite Liverpool St Station, the queue has always put us off. But recently we needed burgers and at £11 including 2 sides the Double Cheese Burger with all the toppings was a jaw-stretching, finger-licking mess that met that need. The ‘soon to be world famous’ Beef Chilli needs some more chilli heat adding to meet up to that claim. All in all a fun diner-style night out. There’s a basement bar entered through a Smeg fridge door, funky staff, good music, pricey beer but great smoothies. Slight caveat, we felt a little old for this trendy youth club!
Vegan and alcohol-free salvation: Redemption 320 Old Street, London, EC1V 9DR. Probably London’s healthiest restaurant – fresh, super-healthy, vegan, sugar-free, wheat-free food including raw desserts, and an exciting alcohol-free drinks list! We love the Maki Rolls vegan sushi platter – filled with red and black quinoa, avocado and enoki mushrooms. But for me the real reason to go back is the raw cheesecake made from cashew nut cream on an almond and sprouted buckwheat base, topped with fruit – simply amazing. From the cocktail list the Espresso Remolacha, a twist on an ‘espresso martini’ – espresso, beetroot juice and date syrup shaken over ice is always a Walthamstowfoodies favourite. It’s not a cheap night out, but you come away buzzing and virtuous! We recommend this place to our vegan friends for a real treat!
Fried chicken with a conscience – Chicken Town, The Old Fire Station, Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham, N15 4RX. I’m not really a chicken and chips kind of girl so the other foodie had to make several attempts to convince me to venture off to Tottenham for junk food. But this isn’t just any old chicken shop. Chicken Town is surrounded (apparently) by 34 fast food places, but they’re offering a healthier steamed and flash-fried chicken version. It’s a non-profit social enterprise so their profits go towards serving an affordable healthier chicken lunch to under 18s in the daytime for just £2.
The buttermilk free-range chicken comes classic southern style, smokey & spicy or rosemary & lemon crumb. There’s veggie options including seasonal vegetable stack, mac ‘n’ cheese, tofu in a spicy sauce with mushrooms and onions and a mushroom and blue cheese sandwich. I had a side of kale – so not just your average fried chicken shop! The setting is light, bright and airy. There are plenty of soft and alcohol drinks including craft beers. A great place for a kids birthday party or a lazy weekend lunch.
and finally… Bulgarian garden restaurant – Deja Vu Garden, 52 High Street, Walthamstow, E17 7LD. Open daily from 10am to 11pm, part of the local Deja Vu chain of bakery, coffee shop and hairdressers. We’ve only been to Bulgaria once, but this place brings back Sunny Beach memories – loud euro pop, smokey air, good coffee, cheap beer, and a warm garden full of olive trees. They have an outdoor fire for spit-roasting lamb at the weekend. The food is similar to Turkish – meze, grilled meats, shopska salads, pasta and homemade burgers.The portions are generous and well-priced, the staff are lovely, the WiFi connection is fast – well worth a visit and quicker than a flight to Sofia.