Area Guide: Hackney
From brand new places to longstanding local faves, we’ve got the essential guide you need for drinking & dining in Hackney. Full of vibrant little neighbourhoods and places that celebrate creativity, quality and independence, Hackney really represents what East London is all about. That means you are spoiled for choice when it comes to places to eat, drink and be jolly in.
From London Fields to Hackney Wick, we’ve rounded up some of the area’s newest restaurant openings, followed by the food and drink spots you just can’t miss.
HACKNEY’S BEST NEW OPENINGS
With heart shaped waffles, slogan sweatshirts and pastel colours aplenty, Café Miami is Instagram heaven. There’s plenty of avocado and granola to keep you going if you’re feeling healthy, but it’s also a great place to come and indulge with refried bean quesadillas with eggs over easy, fish finger tacos, and homemade pop tarts also on the menu. Save on an airfare and get your sunshine fix in East London.
Address: 24 Lower Clapton Rd, London E5 0PD
Contact: 020 8533 4088
Temple of Hackney
Vegan fried “chicken”. Yes it’s a real thing, just ask Temple of Hackney. It’s gone down a storm so far, with queues out the door and down the street during opening week. The “chicken” is in fact seitan, also known as wheat gluten, which is coated in a blend of herbs and spices and deep-fried just like the real thing. In true chicken shop style it even comes in a burger, as nuggets, and as a two-piece with fries.
Address: 10 Morning Lane, London E9 6NA
Contact: 020 7627 1328
FOOD AND DRINK IN HACKNEY
Best Bakery: e5 Bakehouse
Hackney is blessed with many great bakeries, but e5 definitely stands out. Housed in the arches underneath London Fields station, e5 turns out fresh breads and cakes daily, as well as serving up fresh, hearty veggie soups and salads. You may be able to get sourdough virtually anywhere now but their Hackney Wild version is pretty phenomenal.
Address: Arch 395, Mentmore Terrace, London, E8 3PH
Contact: 020 8525 2890
Best Brewery: Crate
Perched right on the canal in Hackney Wick, Crate boasts a spacious, industrial chic bar and huge outdoor area that really comes to life when the sun is out. Not only do they brew their own range of craft beer on site, including the excellent 5.8% IPA, they also feature guest beers on tap. They don’t want you to go hungry either serving up stone-baked pizzas, and any brewery that does pizza is A-OK with us.
Address: 7 The White Building, Queen’s Yard, London, E9 5EN
Contact: 020 8533 3331
Best Wings: Randy’s Wing Bar
Located in Hackney Wick’s Here East development, Randy’s does wings and does them well. You can choose from seven different varieties of wings, including Hanoi, Bombay, Buffalo and Gangnam (yes you actually can order Gangnam style), and they also do chicken in burger form too. We say order up a side of Furious Fries and prepare to get messy.
Address: 28 East Bay Lane, Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 3BS
Contact: 020 8555 5971
Best Café: Palm Vaults
Palm Vaults has been dubbed “London’s most Instagrammable Café” and with good reason; everything from rainbow coloured smoothies, to the pink & green interiors to the hanging plants will have you reaching for the camera. It’s far from a one (photo) trick pony though. They’ve got plenty of milk alternatives so you can get your velvet latte just the way you like it and even non-veggies/vegans will be converted by the mainly plant-based menu, especially the avo on toast with chilli and smoky coconut “bacon”.
Address: 411 Mare Street, London, E8 1HY
Contact: 07511 445104
Best Brunch: Rawduck
Thanks to the Asian influences on their menu and their fondness for pickling and preserving, brunch at Rawduck goes beyond fry-ups and things on toast. From poached eggs and tarka dahl to fried eggs, coconut rice and sambal to shiitake and miso broken eggs, you can get your eggs plenty of different ways and wash it down with one of their drinking vinegars or nut milks.
Address: 197 Richmond Road, London, E8 3NJ
Contact: 020 8986 6534
Best Sharing Plates: Ellory
The premise of Ellory is simple – modern European sharing plates and European wine – but it’s done so well that it fully deserves the Michelin star it got late last year. The menu changes daily as does the wine list but you’re guaranteed to find clean flavours and great produce whatever day you dine. It’s very much a neighbourhood place too, welcoming in those who just want a glass or two of wine and if you just want to dip your toe in before trying out the full dinner experience, they serve a set menu on Sundays.
Address: 1 Westgate Street, London, E8 3RL
Contact: 020 3095 9455
Best Cocktails: Behind This Wall
There’s a hint of the speakeasy about this basement bar; it’s very much tucked away, the décor is on the minimal side and there’s a vinyl-only music policy. The cocktails are seasonal, inventive and are the real stars of this place. We’ve never seen a Beer-tini – that’s vodka, chilli liqueur, pickle juice and whipped weisse beer – on any other drinks list and the absinthe, elderflower liqueur, beet & sage kombucha Postprandial Drip is a delight. BTW also doubles up as a raw bar, serving poké and £1 oysters during happy hour.
Address: 411 Mare Street, London, E8 1HY
Contact: 020 8985 3927
Best Cultural Combo: The Institute of Light
Housed in another one of those London Fields arches, the IOL manages to squeeze a cinema, bar, restaurant, record store and bookshop under one roof. The cinema screens a mix of new releases and classics, and you can even order rustic Mediterranean plates from Helio’s Cantina to enjoy whilst you’re watching a film…that beats popcorn any day.
Address: 376 Helmsley Place, E8 3SB
Contact: 020 7249 6919
Words by Christina Dean