NFT London Cubitt Town / Mudchute

Cubitt Town / Mudchute

Though shaded by the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and a rash of luxury developments, this corner of the Island is blessed by the marvellous Mudchute Farm and Park (with the standout Mudchute Kitchen and equestrian centre), not one, not two, but three DLR stations, and a number of down-to-earth boozers like Lord Nelson. Who let the Isle of Dogs out?


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Posted By:  Joel Northcott
Photo:  Joel Northcott

Mudchute Kitchen
London now has places where food miles are so short that the animal you pat or the plant you pick--no exaggeration--will later end up on your plate. When the sun comes out Mudchute Farm must be one of the happiest places to enjoy locally-sourced produce. Part of the attraction of this place is that you can never be sure about the menu. Meals might be a farmhouse breakfast with free-range sausage and mushroom, or carrot, ginger and apple soup with homemade bread, and pastries include brownies, Victoria sponge and "leftover" cake--made from the odds and ends of previous creations. For food, you'd better be quick--the kitchen seems to close by 3 pm. With a vibe swaying between rustic and downright chaotic, rickety tables complement the tot-ruled interior of colour, toys and tat. Mums and their young dominate during the week until it becomes slightly hedonistic on weekeends. Service can be just a tad too much--asking for a separate pot of milk with coffee, I got that "he's ventured out from Zone 1 for the day" look. Polite persistence, to go with the Slow Food concept, remains the best option.

Posted By:  Michael Kasparis
Photo:  Courtesy of Frances Borg

Mudchute Park and Farm
Should it be an ambition, the only way to get cow dung in the grooves of your Doc Martens while staring at the Canary Wharf skyline is by stumbling upon Mudchute City Farm. This isn't the only 'City Farm' smothered by smog in London (you can go choke on overpriced fry-ups in Hackney while being scrutinized by some trendy hangover sufferers if you want to), but it's by far the most like the 'Secret Garden.' Entering from the sports grounds alongside the DLR, it's like chancing upon a biblical garden where everyone is happy and naked. Well, the animals are naked and the old guy we met was kind of wisened and self-satisfied. The place is crawling with rats, particularly around the mini-pigs, but a strange, almost mystical calm pervades throughout the park and farm. Maybe it's because London's Omphalos is situated here, around which the mason/magician John Dee reportedly conjured up the British Empire in the presence of the playwright Christopher Marlowe. Whether you believe all this magick hocum is irrelevant, just breathe in the fresh air. It'll probably be the last time for a while.

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