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

 

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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

 

Netil House – Summer Party #1

rooftop

Netil House threw open its summer series of rooftop parties, hailing the beginning of what will hopefully be a sunshine filled season. The premiere was last Saturday and fiery yellow ball came out to play hand in hand with chilled prosecco, condensation laden bottles of Mexican beer and some tasty chicken and taco bites. All washed down with incredible views over east London.

We got there early for a friends birthday and nabbed a spot in the centre, Stepping out onto the roof feels like you’re entering a secret land with decking underfoot and a unique view of the city. The breezy open air and funky background music was an ideal accompaniment to the celebration and the day. Until they ran out of prosecco, which was quickly replenished, narrowly avoiding a middle class riot- phew!

The Korean chicken burger was immense, and he was a lovely dude too. There were also tacos to soak up some of the alcohol.

What a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, with friends, on a nice day… roll on summer, and roll on more summer parties! Find out info and buy tickets for the next series here.

rooftop2

rooftop party

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! 

 

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.

Twitter @HackneyBubble

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