Sunday Brunch at Verden, E5

Verden Interior

This newly opened cafe / restaurant/ wine bar seems to have been plopped form nowhere into its somewhat questionable location in Clarence Road, Clapton, E5.

My friend lives just down the road. She enters the well crafted, black and wooden interior, looks around and muses “Is Clapton ready for this?”. A few moments later with some talk about the changes in Lower Clapton and we guess the neighbourhood is getting there. And fast! The rush of new places to eat and drink in the area is astonishing. Verden seems to up the anti in style and atmosphere; the kind of place you might take your parents, or treat yourself to a long casual dinner on a Friday.

With slick branding, lovely easy-going service and some mouth watering menu choices, it appears to live up to expectations.

For our brunch on Sunday, bloody marys were much appreciated – impressively garnished and made with freshly pressed real tomatoes, popped with spice and vodka. My avocado on toast was nicely seasoned but could have done with a kick of lemon or chilli. My friend’s club sandwich was filled to the edges with chicken, cheese, salad and a layer of lardo. Fat on fat = tasty!

Would be nice to explore more meals here or the cheese, charcuterie and wine combinations tempting us from the counter.  The deserts look wonderful too, but I am a sucker for anyone that will offer me cheesecake.

For menus and more info head to their website, verdene5.com

 

Verden Interior2

Verden Exterior

 

Skylodge – Not for sissys!

Oh arrr, lumberjacks

Dust up that lumberjack shirt, muddy those felling boots and whack on a furry hat… Skylodge has opened it’s little wooden doors in a cleverly cosy rooftop setting in Hackney, creating a haven for all lumberjacks and Jills. These pop-up aficionados opened with a rather spectacular thanksgiving turkey chase through London Fields leading the lumberjacks (and the turkey) to a grand sanctuary.

I went to the opening and found some incredible food, amazing hot and cold cocktails and entertainment to mark a very sound addition to the quirky Hackney bar scene – Chuck Norris approved!

Skylodge Interior

As you turn off a Martello street (the lane just past Pub on the Park) and climb the stairs to Platterform, you enter a world of chopped wood, open fires, heated booths and a lumberjack diner, of course. There’s an outside terrace as well as a covered and heated indoor area where you find all the food and drink you could want to fill up on a winter’s evening.

Their specialties are the vast selection of hot cocktails – hot toddies and mulled everythings- as well as a cool cocktail list, wines and beers. The bar tenders are funny, friendly and odd, which makes it an interesting tipple. They recommend some ace alcoholicly warming drinks. Shame they are mainly served in rapidly cooling cardboard cups, but they hit the mark none-the-less.

boozes_skylodge_hackney

A couple of drinks (a bit like a naughty cuppa!) and a wonder around later and it’s time for rumbling bellies to get find solace. The restaurant area has ample shared tables and some cute wooden hut-booths. American style plates are surprisingly small, but very tasty and filling. We went for the sloppy joes, baked beans and pulled pork, which were all really good, especially the baked beans with cheese.

Tuck in! Grrrrrr

The event clincher was that said chased turkey of the opening paragraph (once he got his breath back), played a sublime unplugged acoustic set later in the evening which ended a beautifully intimate and indulgent night within a solidly themed, fun place that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

This great winter hang out spot is open until April and as well as the restaurant and music they are hosting film nights too. Can’t wait to go back!

Website: www.platterform.com; twitter @platterform and facebook.com/platterform

Skylodge is open Thursdays and Fridays 6pm until 11pm; weekends 12 noon until 11pm

Full address: 274 Richmond Road with public access via Martello Street, London Fields, London, E8 3QW

Make a booking via www.billetto.co.uk or call 07870 487621

Skylodge - Acoustic set

 

Opening Soon – Oslo, E8

oslo_title

A new music-come-dining-come-drinking venue is opening in Hackney. And it looks fancy. The seldom noticed, but historical and beautiful old train station in the heart of Hackney central is being lovingly renovated into a Nordic themed hot spot.

Oslo opens its doors in December with some great acts already announced – Dry the River included! It’ll be open day and night for feeding and quenching visitors.

The food menu is centered around nordic cuisine and they seem to have a good focus on sustainability (lotsa fish!) and sourcing good ingredients.

The venue itself looks set to be grandiose with high ceilings, dark woods and minimal metalics featuring long benches and an impressive bar.

We’re looking forward to more live music in the borough and some interesting looking décor to relax in.

For the E8 area, this new opening is an example of the rapid change in Hackney culture taking place for a sweeping generation of affluent dwellers – a far cry from a dodgy boozer! Is this Hackney moving with the times, or a gentrification too far? I’d love to hear your comments on this…

1A Amhurst Road, Hackney, London, E8 1LL [map]
facebook.com/oslohackney and twitter @oslohackney
www.oslohackney.com

Oslo_interior

Oslo_interior_restaurant_hackney

Advisory: Service Not Included

interior

After a few years sabbatical from eating meat, I have recently broken into carnivorism… in quite spectacular style. Now I only want the best. Queue googling of “best burger in London”. After ignoring any Time Out features, I found the Advisory… I hadn’t noticed this place on Mare street before , but it was featured for the wrong reasons on the internets a while ago. Copywriting boo-boo aside, the burgers sounded good.

The premise is simple – a simple selection of tasty burgers, a simple selection of tasty booze and a simple wooden interior with silly, yet sound advice painted on the walls for burger chomping. I expected to find a gaggle of hipsters crammed in to this hot spot with meat juices dripping down eager, overgrown beards, but only a couple of the tables were taken making it a nice, intimate setting; one that would be equally fun with a bunch of friends.

Now, the most important thing – the burgers! Special of the day was bacon and gorgonzola. Done!

The brioche bun was robust enough to handle the meat juices which were held together by the oodles of cheese and perfectly crispy bacon, topped off with slithers of gherkin. Each mouthful arriving in my belly triggered happy feelings in my brain forcing silence and a smile to ensure. My friend ordered the sweet potato, pepper and halloumi burger which was also a tower of taste  – a neat veggie patty with a slab of squeeky cheese on top and all the trimmings. The blackcurrenty malbec wasn’t half bad either and they are well stocked in a choice of IPAs and lagers.

Fast and friendly service meant that I’ll certainly be here again. Yum!

https://www.facebook.com/advisoryhackney

161 Mare Street, E8 3RH Hackney, Hackney, United Kingdom

+44 20 8533 2747

photo

Top image courtesy of The Advisory. 

Dreyfus’ – Clapton Square

Dreyfus cafe on Hackney Bubble

Nesting on the corner of Clapton Square, Dreyfus’ café opened at the tail end of 2012 serving as a paper-reading, bun-eating, brunchy-breakfasty café in the heart of Hackney.

Up front, the best thing about Dreyfus’ is that you can order eggs Florentine or Benedict or Royal (flozzy / benny / rozza as the aussies would say) by the portion – just £3.25 for one stacked muffin, and so £6.50 for 2, etc etc.

One hunk o’ brunch should be enough though, especially when the traditional Finnish cinnamon buns that adorn the counter are whispering “eat me, eat me”. I am a good listener to these flumped up pastry delights. They also serve sandwiches that lean towards the goats-cheese brigade and a daily selection of ‘Hot Lunch Specials’.  

It’s nice and bright inside with a scattering of established local types – girl working on Macbook, hip dad taking the kids for a babiccino, couples reading the paper, be-spectacled boy with his head in a book.

The coffee is pretty good – I find the flat white a little cold, but tasty and smooth – sure to froth up any hipster moustache.

They’re shut on Mondays, but are open 8-8 on weekdays and til 5 at weekends.  

Dreyfus Cafe