Clapton’s Heart


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! 



St John’s of Hackney Host Little Noise Sessions

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Hackney played host to the wonderful Little Noise Sessions, aimed to raise money and awareness for Mencap. Joe Whiley hosted the events which went on for 6 days last week – her sister was born mentally handicapped so it was a charity close to her heart. The bands weren’t paid and all the ticket and drinks profits went to charity. Nice. Also nice bars courtesy of Milk & Honey, Chapel Down and Giant Robot.

I went along for two of the nights for headliners Richard Hawley and Noah and the Whale. The venue itself was beautiful and the misty atmosphere immediately struck at the senses. Looming in the background was the intimidatingly big organ pipes. The lights were incredible and added to the ambience of the amazing music.

First Aid Kit openend for Hawley – two scandinavian sisters who can bang out a delicious harmony from folk sounds with some serious headbanging attitude. These girls are humble and sweet and punk.

I’ve never managed to see Richard Hawley before, always somehow missing him at festivals, so was super excited as I waited tentatively in my pew, mulled wine in hand. His opener to the set was “I am Richard Hawley, let’s destroy you”. He aurally, he did! Soundscapes reeling around the church with a layered cake of guitar sounds, pedals and beautiful vocals.

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On the Saturday was a triptych of bands I love. Lucy Rose began the night with dreamy-cute-girly vocals fractured with well thought out time changes and loves-lost lyrics. Her band were great, adding some good percussion and backing. This girl is going to go far, her album is lovely. I’m a little bit in love with her. And I now want a fringe.

We moved downstairs for Villagers where the sound was so much clearer (I am told this is best by the sound deck). Pints of the last of the mulled wine in hand, this boy has a touching stripped back voice which is emotionally accessible and heartfelt. I really like them! I liked them more than Noah and the Whale, and this was the general consensus of the evening. I hope they can share in some of the commercial success of the ‘Whale.

Noah and the Whale ended the night. In quite a spectacular way. The duo that runs the show look like brothers. I think they’d be a bit boring without the string quartet. AND they didn’t play ‘In 5 Years Time… which is about the only song I know apart from LIFEGOESON, which the crowd lapped up in a singalong.

Great venue, great music and a proud feeling that Hackney was the choice of venue for this event.

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Villagers on stage at Little Noise Sessions.

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Noah and the Whale in the pink.

Quiquiriqui – Day of the Dead

Below a kebab shop on Hackney Road is an unlikely venue (or is it?) for a hot new bar to open in the bubble. And when I say bar, I mean a Mezcalaria; a Mexican sensation that’s spreading through America’s, and Europe’s bar scene like a prickly cactus forest.

Mezcalaria Quiquiriqui offers up an assortment of mescal (kind of tequila-ish) based drinks and Mexican beers, the outlook and décor promises an expedient den of liquid iniquity.

Last time I tried mescal, I was (fairly easily) coaxed into eating the worm. I’d advise leaving the food alone to float and head straight for some sampling.

To celebrate Mexico’s Day of the Dead, they’re offering five tastings of the finest Mezcals this side of the gulf from 1st-4th November, for just a tenner on the door. Throw in some music, Mezcal cocktails, ideally Mexican wrestling masks, and it’s ‘aye caramba’ all the way home.

If you do get hungry, there’s a handy kebab shop just above you.

Mezcaleria Quiquiriqui:
The Golden Grill, 184 Hackney Road E2 7QL

TONIGHT in Hackney

A mini round up of what’s on in and around Hackney if you’re stuck for some serious amusement on this soggy evening… your weekend starts HERE!


Surreal sketch show Late Night Gimp Fight joins Doc Brown and a host of eclectic, eccentric and down right ridiculous comedy acts for Knock2Bag at RichMix tonight. Tickets are £8 in advance and £12 at the door. MORE DETAILS

“Doc Brown is an established voice on the comedy circuit. After performing at the 02 arena and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2011, this year Doc has supported Ricky Gervais at the Folketeateret in Oslo and already has numerous gigs booked for The Comedy Store this autumn/winter. Doc’s self-deprecating and hilarious routines usually centre on musical rants that are cleverly interspersed with stories about life on the road, groupies and his unravelling career”


Head down to well-on-its-way-to-getting-established mini club, BIRTHDAYS in Dalston for a exploration and celebration following a decade of “UK centric and electronic music”  by Hyponik. Its FREE ENTRY via online sign up HERE


This cute and cosy speakeasy is near to Beyond Retro on Kingsland Road, under the cinema sign… head into the unassuming entrance and find this comfy and chic bar ready for cocktail hour.  WEBSITE


Dance floor bombs to get you in the mood for a pickled weekend begin here… and probably end here too. This reliably upbeat party features “unpretentious and discerning djs as well as sporadic live performances from underground stars and unannounced special guests. One of the most dependably awesome nights in all of Dalston…” (according to our friends at Spoonfed). MORE DETAILS

Blanche & Shock (& Awe) at Stepney City Farm

Blanch & Shock - Stepney City Farm

Where: Stepney City Farm

When: Friday 22nd June 2012

Those clever chaps at Blanche and Shock are putting their green fingers to good use once more to host an epic epicurean evening at Stepney City Farm this Friday. As well as using ingredients inspired by the setting, a working city farm, they’re actually using the ingredients grown from the farm itself (including ram, but not guinea pig I am told!).

The menu includes some delicious countryside fayre and it looks a little something like:

  • Duck egg yolk with chanterelles, leaves and flowers
  • Various cuts of chicken with rainbow chard and rocket
  • Barbecued ram, potatoes, broad beans, hay and clover
  • Goat’s milk, rhubarb cake, fig leaves and yarrow

I love the idea of using foraged food from the surroundings and also utilising urban farming to feed the city folk some fresh countryside produce, on our own doorstep.

Expect the unexpected with fabulous flavour combinations and classic ingredients infused by extrovert technique and skillful recipe prep. This is guaranteed to be a blinder of a night, not only for the menu and the farm setting, but fellow food fanatics will find solace in foodie chats with fellow diners.

Tickets are priced at £30 each and available via their website.


Twitter @HackneyBubble

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