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


Salvation for Old Street’s Cafes

salvation jane

A new café in Old Street opened a couple of months ago to keep it’s sister café, Lantana (of Fitzrovia fame) company in the east. And it retains the essence of what Lantana is all about – colourful, tasty food, great coffee and Aussie service with a smile – with a more airy, modern feel.

Where you see flat white’s adorning every coffee menu in town, this is the real antipodean deal. They have an Australian owner and a manager who spent two years in Melbourne learning barista craftsmanship, so they wont settle for less than Melbourne standard coffee.

Food wise, they serve an array of salads, hot and cold sandwiches and usual lunchtime meals with pies and quiches a regular staple.  

The flavor combinations in the salads I chose were unique and fresh – the apple and chicory with walnut salad was delicious! And the accompanying quiche had excellent crumbly pastry – pops of veggie flavours burst with each mouthful.

The service was swift and extremely friendly and they had good menu knowledge which is a plus when you can’t quite decide!

Salvation Jane’s walls have fantastic illustrative murals with lots of visual treats where a subtle east London vibe meets city slicker demeanor; it is right on the edge of city vs Shoreditch borders!  

It’s quite expensive for the usual lunchtime fayre (around £9 a meal), but with a bright, cool feel to it and free wifi, it would be a good place to work from and they weren’t packed out when I visited, so didn’t mind me sitting a while.

All in all, a great new addition to the café culture of Shoreditch. I can’t wait to try more of the food, but they are only open until 4pm so may have to visit on a weekend! 



Trade School, London

When you see a website that advertises a workshop named “How to make a Victorian tunnel book” in an urban shop that grows its own lettuce and has chicken on the roof, you say yes! And then you go one Thursday evening to the Farm:shop on Dalston lane to find out what the what a tunnel book actually is. Then make one alongside a small group.

The idea of Trade School is to pass on knowledge, share learning and have fun. From bread making to bike maintenance and yoga, teachers donate their time and skills to showing the group of strangers something new and receive something back that they’ve asked for – in this case a plant, a book, some help with an exhibition.

So on to “How to make a Victorian tunnel book”…

Which turns out to be a rather nifty and creative way to present a scene that can be as big as a room or as small as a… well, an apple. You’ll see…

And it was brilliant… Art is therapy. Sitting in concentration with a bit of idle chit chat with all your real attention focused on cutting and sticking and creating something that at first looks so complex, you think you couldn’t possibly do that in a couple of hours. But you do… maybe not brilliantly, but you do it! And each creation from our group of eight, was each completely different in their own unique way.

I hope this continues on another date as I can’t wait to see what I can learn. I’m also looking forward to helping set up an exhibition of the teacher’s wonderful work.

FARM:shop – Eat, drink, grow, work, play.

Where: 20 Dalston Lane, Hackney, E8

When: Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm

Website: http://farmlondon.weebly.com/index.html

When you hear the words ‘local’, ‘organically produced’ ‘farm produce’, deepest, darkest. Dalston doesn’t immediately spring to mind. But if you take one derelict building and convert the space carefully into an experiment of urban farming proportions, you’ll be surprised at the results.

Dalston Lane is the home of FARM: Shop, farming fresh food through a community run project in the very heart of Hackney. This old shop has been rejuvenated and raises chickens on the roof, fish in tanks and hydroponic lettuces as well as cultivated mushrooms and much more.

It proves that you don’t need a huge amount of space or money to build something that yields fresh food. The people involved are all volunteers. Community projects like this really give locals a hub from which to find companionship, achieve goals, learn new skills and to grow, just like the lettuces.

FARM is home to a café, shop and events venue. Take a look for yourself at what modern farming looks like in an urban environment.

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