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

 

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! 

salvationjane_cafe

salvationjane

Eat: Best Vietnamese in Hackney

Where: Green Papaya, 191 Mare Street, E8 3QE. 0208 985 5486. www.green-papaya.com

I am actually addicted to Vietnamese food. I eat it at least once a week. I try to convert people to this fresh, spicy, Asian cuisine whenever possible. Even if they say they have tried it before. And I daydream about crispy squid.

I went to Vietnam (my other blog) and actually found the food in London just as delicious (the only difference is that in Vietnam it is fresher).

But, there are only certain restaurants that really live up to that. Green Papaya is my favourite of them. I mainly judge a good Vietnamese on it’s crispy squid. This might actually make Shoreditch’s Cay Tre a damn hopeful runner up, but it is too far to take away.

Annoyingly, none of them deliver, which is a real shame.

The flavours are something similar to other Asian foods, but stands on it’s own as a cuisine. They are resourceful people and will kill, cook and eat anything! I don’t eat meat and Vietnamese gives me more options than any other I know. Seafood, fish and tofu are plentiful!

 

Find it below…