NFT London London Fields / Hackney Central

London Fields / Hackney Central

It's quite amusing seeing Chinese tourists waiting at the bus stop opposite Tesco with huge Burberry bags, having been at the Factory Shop whilst the rest of us schlep home with our groceries. Skip through London Fields, dip your toe in the Lido, and attempt to make your way through the throngs checking out their reflections in the shop windows on Broadway Market.


This Neighbourhood Featured in...

By Jenny Wight
Feeling encumbered by free time? Join Jen Wight as she leads you on the most minuscule daytrip around! Loiter by the waterways, cycle to the beat of  mum-and-daughter horse riders, look at sheep and excessively binge-drink while making fun of foreigners. You may never take a real vacation again.


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Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Violet does good cake. This is not news. However, when I visited last year, I did get the feeling that they were coasting on their reputation somewhat after a particularly surly bit of service (something about not having the right sized box for four mini cupcakes and impatience with my indecision in choosing flavours). I'll put it down to someone having a bad day because I decided to give them another chance. I do like their buttermilk and banana mini muffins if I'm being demure but today I needed something more substantial after an arduous afternoon swimming and sunning myself at the lido. The chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting was calling my name. Everyone thinks they can make chocolate cake. They can't. Chocolate cake should be black and gleaming with moisture like molasses, this cake, dear reader, was the definitive chocolate cake. The slight saltiness of the frosting cut through any cloying sweetness from the caramel. I also had an iced coffee which I'm please to see that Violet now serves with salt (there's a theme here). A pinch of salt in coffee brings out its sweetness and flavour in a surprising way. Oh, and the service was delightful.

Posted By:  Natalie Ashett
Photo:  Natalie Ashett

London Fields Brewery
London Fields is developing at a rate of knots. The guys who brought us Broadway Market's Climpson & Son coffee shop have also brought a new type of brew to the east end. In a railway arch just off London Fields station, the guys slave away seven days a week brewing beer the traditional German way. Each weekend they open up with a different event be it a mini Oktoberfest with bratwurst ans sauerkraut, or some live music. It's a pretty sweet place top start the night and a cheap option for this area too. A pint of their finest ale costs £3 and they even have bottles to takeaway.

Posted By:  Natalie Ashett
Photo:  Natalie Ashett

A roof bar in London in December? Yes indeed. Netil360 have successfully launched a roof bar with a difference. Hot cocktails, fur coats for hire, and toasty warm yurts are the ingredients that will make Netil360 survive the winter chill. Up five flights of stairs in an industrial building, visitors emerge through an antique wardrobe on to a huge rooftop with smashing views across the east end. It costs a tenner to get up there and £6 for a hot cocktail but it is worth every penny spent. If you can get up there on a Saturday you might be lucky enough to get a bowl of delicious stew from the pop-up Stew House. I also hear that they plan to have hot tubs up there when summer eventually comes around.

Posted By:  Chris 9N
Photo:  Chris 9N

Buen Ayre
O glorious cow, O bounteous bovine. O splendiferous ungulate. How I love thee. How I wish you could be cut into sirloin, rib-eye and fillet, served on a hot grill with sausage, black pudding and divine grilled provolone cheese after being lovingly broiled in an Argentinian asado (grill) by John Patrick Rattagan, Hackney's favourite Irish-Argentinian chef (there might not be much competition, but it's still an accolade of sorts). Meat-lovers will find all this and more at Hackney's Buen Ayre, the Argentinian ambassador's favourite steak house and home to Hix and Hawksmoor quality steaks at a fraction of the price (you should get change from a fifty for a dinner for two). Yes it's in Broadway Market (which though lovely is far from a Tube and filled to the rafters with annoying trendy types). Yes the service is awkward and occasionally sullen. Ok, I admit the side dishes (other than the chips) are pretty rubbish. But who cares? Order one of the many South American beers, sit back, and prepare yourself for carnivorous heaven. Oh, and book in advance it can be hard to get a table on weekends.

Posted By:  katy beale
Photo:  katy beale

London Fields
A pleasant and green park in E8 which has gained immense popularity in recent years--it's known as "Hackney Beach" on hot sunny days. Shoreditch types, hippies, families, cricket players, dog walkers, pierced punks and fixed gear cyclists all rub along just fine, lazing weekends away, pint in hand, ducking the frisbees. There's always loads of people watching to be done--impromptu bands with mini drum kits and acoustic guitars, hula-hooping ladies and their acrobatic friends, cyclists zooming on through... The London Fields lido is on one side, with a little free paddling pool at the back. Two good kids' playgrounds keep the feral children amused. A couple of tennis courts always seem to be busy, but ever popular is the '70s concrete ping pong table whose queue turns into an active audience for matches. Booze-wise, the Southside is represented by the Cat & Mutton and the chi chi delights of Broadway Market Northside with the Pub on the Park--the destination of many an Arsenal fan when the footie is on.

Posted By:  Daniel Kramb
Photo:  Daniel Kramb

London Fields Lido
So, you've decided to get fit in the new year, eh? Well, surprise: So has everyone else. So before you squeeze into the sweat-filled changing room of your totally overcrowded leisure centre or rob your grandmother to pay an inflated gym membership only to never get a space on the rowing machine, because there's ALWAYS someone else on there, consider this alternative. Because, which sane person does outside swimming in January, right? The people running London Field's cracking Lido (an Art Deco gem that has been restored after two decades of neglect) couldn't care less about the outside temperature--and the 50-metre basin is heated all year round. No crowds, just fun. Simply get yourself a bathing cap and jump in. We would also mention the great food options surrounding the London Fields park--but you’re here to shed, not gain, those kilo, so there! Okay, okay, whisper, whisper: The Dove, The Cat and Mutton, Buen Ayre...

Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

The Spurstowe Arms
The Spurstowe Arms sits proudly on the corner of Wilton Way and Greenwood Road just a hop and a skip up from local favourite The George. And like something out of a Will Self story, The Spurstowe overlooks the Wilton Estate--how very E8. However, once inside the bare-bricked homey interior you could be anywhere but Hackney. The wine list is impressive as is the selection of beers on tap and there's a suntrap garden in which to sup and smoke or indulge in a jug of Pimm's. Last time I had dinner here there was a pleasingly gamey menu--I opted for pheasant although intrigued by the mallard; unfortunately I couldn't help thinking about whether it was poached from the less-than-clean nearby Regent's Canal. I hear that the breakfasts and bloody marys are pretty spiffy too. This place ain't cheap, but it ain't too spendy either and you'll either love it or hate it. Still, it makes a change from The George.

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