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

 

Lost in London – a film

I just came across this wonderful film “Lost in London”, which was posted a year ago on Vimeo. Makes you realise how fast paced life can get… take a morning to just wonder and soak up the east, meander the streets, parks and watersides, get lost in your own neighbourhood and take a moment to reflect… this is rather lovely.

Enjoy the next 9 minutes!

Lost in London from Wojciech Duczmal on Vimeo.

“Lost in London” is a film by Michael Smith and Wojciech Duczmal, who’ve collaborated on many documentaries for the BBC over the years. It develops further their idea of the lyrical essay-film, or documentary-poem.

Inspired by Baudelaire’s idea of the flâneur, the stroller whose epiphany is the shifting urban spectacle, the film is about one individual’s personal response to the unique spirit that charges the city he inhabits – in this case, Michael’s response to the inner East End, where he has lived for many years.

Written by Michael Smith. Photography & Editing by Wojciech Duczmal

It’s a film about the deep, complex, bitter-sweet romance between an individual and his city. Like many long-term love affairs, it’s a dysfunctional one, but nevertheless, this film is a love story between a person and a place.

Clapton’s Heart

Clapton_hackneybubble

I’ve moved to a new area… Clapton…

Two digits down from my usual E8 postcode, it feels like a different place, slightly left of Hackney. On the ‘up-and-coming’ radar it has a unique and local personality. If it could speak, it would tell you about the great little market, some super comfy pubs, unique cafes and quirky characters and how it’s the essence of east London.

But Clapton is modest about such things. It would rather keep itself to itself. Which is not a bad thing in this age of super hyped shared experiences via social media channels and immediate saturation of hidden gems (of which I am probably guilty of sharing…. Sorry!).

I’ll be bringing reviews and stories to life of the area and the usual fodder of food, booze and events in Hackney in the coming weeks, so watch this space! 

 

Festival: Hackney Weekend Review

Rascals, machines, umbrella(ella, ella, ella)s and Jessie J jealousy… 

Tor Cameron takes on Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend last Sunday. 

After a rainy start to the morning the sun came out and blessed a mixed crowd to a warm day of pop music and partying at Hackney Marshes on Sunday. Popping to the shops in Stoke Newington to get supplies around 10am, I noticed plenty of kids looming in their wellies and Sunday best, no one appearing over the age of 20. This was going to be a FUN day!

Being a little older than the average punters, we opted for a few hours of prep time at home and arrived fashionably late around 3pm. We missed Santigold and Bombay Bicycle Club who I would’ve liked to see but hey, free festival, right?! We first indulged my boyfriends crush by watching a bit of Jessie J, she was actually pretty good, has a great voice, worked the crowd etc. Didn’t stop me from flashing daggers as the boy went on about how hot she is….anyhoo…Also, note to dude with large obnoxious umbrella, IT WASN’T EVEN RAINING. Thanks.

Moving on to drop some friends at Sub Focus while we went to use THE CLEANEST FESTIVAL TOILETS I’VE EVER EXPERIENCED! A highlight in itself and no queues, we then went on to see my highlight of the day, Azealia Banks at the 1Xtra Stage. This girl has some serious ‘tude. Loved it, crowd went mental for 212, we shouted and danced like angry teenagers (with all the angry teenagers) then moved on to meet some friends back at the Hackney Weekend sign. Handy meeting point.

They had been at Maverick Sabre who were awesome on all accounts, we now took some down time to see Friction at the nearby outdoor DJ stage. Glorious, glorious sunshine, it felt like half the festival flocked to this stage and were just stomping it out in the heat. Great moment to look around and see such a mix of people all getting down and having a gay old time. Nice one Hackney!

Some of the chums were up for some Florence and the Machine, not a major fan myself but BOY CAN SHE BELT OUT SOME SOUND! We sat on the grass and had some greasy awful festival food. The food situ was actually a bit lacking compared to some other festivals I’ve been to, there was one vegetarian/vegan stall but the line was massive so I ended up with a dodgy fajita and some jerk chicken (see Rihanna paragraph below).

Back at the “In New Music We Trust” stage for some Magnetic Man and a bit of Chasing Status, crowd getting very dancey and bouncy now. At 7.30pm we headed back to the Main Stage to find out who the special guest would be. SQUEAL! Would it be Drake to perform with RiRi? Maybe Kanye would do a longer gig after his cameo with Jay-Z on Saturday? Or, shudder, would the rumours of Cheryl Cole come to fruition (special guest issit)? OHAI Dizzy Rascal! You could see the crowd divide into those who considered this a “Special Guest” and those who saw this as sloppy seconds. Our grouped mainly formed the latter. Sorry, but if you fill a lineup with big international acts and new talent, a long time festival favourite doesn’t seem all too “special”…ANYWAY, free festival, can’t complain so I shan’t.

Ultimate end to the cheese fest and time to indulge my ULTIMATE girl crush and secret shame top artist on Spotify. Rihanna was brilliant, from the moment Emma and I waved our half eaten jerk chicken bones at her until we were shouting out the lyrics to umbrella, I was the happiest girl in the world for that last hour. Nice one RiRi.

As the last act finished it was a controlled and well mannered crowd that surged from the marshes onto the streets of Hackney. Great day had by all, not the kind of music I would usually go to see live in all truth but that was some mega fun. Thanks BBC! YEEEEEP!

Onra at Birthdays

By the wonderfully bubbly Tor Cameron…

Sitting at home on a Wednesday night playing with my new iPad toy, a friend sent me a text to let me know he had a free ticket to see Onra at Birthdays. HELLO! Five minute walk from home, can’t say no! So I wandered down to meet the gang and check this awesome French DJ out live.

He started by announcing it’s been five years since he last played London and it was clear throughout the gig he was happy to be here. The bass was cranked up to a nice level to complement the chilled out 80s disco beats accompanied by Asian influences that makes Onra’s sound so interesting. Within 10 minutes I had been sucked from the bar into a swaying disco crowd. Clearly some die hard fans in here, when Onra – The Anthem came on there were plenty of extra voices singing the tune.

Birthdays itself has come a long way since I last visited for Land of Kings (https://hackneybubble.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/land-of-kings-friday-review/). The upstairs bar is now officially open and feels more atmospheric than the near construction site it was at that stage. The basement no longer smells of fresh paint and is quickly becoming an East London sweatbox (always a pleasure).

After an hour I was on my merry way home to bed again. Great gig, nice cheeky Wednesday night out, looking forward to future lineups at Birthdays (http://birthdaysdalston.com/).

Twitter @HackneyBubble

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