Restaurant: A Little of What You Fancy
464 Kingsland Road, E8 4AE
Sit yourself down on some salvaged school furniture and marvel at the comforting menu of British classics. Hearty dishes using great local ingredients: salad from the Wenlock Basin Estate in Islington, sustainable smoked salmon from Hansen & Lydersen, ice cream from Maltby Street regular La Grotta Ices, fish from Ben’s Fish in Mersea, and drinks provided by The Kernal microbrewery in Southwark, as well as handmade spirits from West London distillers Sipsmith.
Community Project/Café: The Russet
Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace, E8 2BT
This exciting new creative space and café has a strong emphasis on community and sustainable food at great prices. Chefs here are committed to seasonal menus and local produce, including artisan sourdough from the E5 Bakehouse, beer from London Fields Brewery, wines from Borough Wines or Vintage Roots, and organic meat from The Ginger Pig. I almost don’t want to tell you about the three-course Sunday lunches for £15.95, shhh!
Growing Space: CHUG (The Floating Allotment)
Kingsland Basin, N1 5BB
Residents of the 14 boats at the Kingsland Basin transformed one of the old barges into a floating allotment. Winners of the Edible Green Corners Award, the CHUG community can now enjoy an array of herbs, fruit and vegetables as well as contributing to the ecology in an otherwise neglected area. See their website for upcoming open days where you can also learn about their bee hives, supported by the Capital Bee campaign.
Growing Space/Café: Farm:shop
20 Dalston Lane, E8 3AZ
Reconnecting city folk with the pleasures of growing your own, this urban farm (in a shop) is home to an aquaponic micro fish farm, indoor allotment, rooftop chicken coop and a polytunnel. The café uses local ingredients and anything grown in-house.
Pub: The Scolt Head Pub
107A Culford Road, N1 4HT
Small menus are always a good sign, especially with such an impressive use of seasonal produce from independent suppliers: vegetables from Lenards of Covent Garden, cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy, fresh fish delivered every evening, and meat from Essex rare-breed farm, Blackwell Hadden. And if that isn’t enough, all chutneys, jams and ice creams are hand-made in the kitchen.
The team behind Lardo has spent a year developing a range of charcuterie using meat from reputable farmers with strong husbandry ethics. Working with Graham Waddington of Native Breeds and resident curer Matt Bedell, Lardo’s cured meats are unique and aim to use the whole animal. Watch the website for details of the official opening this Spring.
lardo.co.uk or fatfoodtaxi.com
47 Wilton Way, E8 3ED
Since humble beginnings at Broadway Market in 2005, Violet has secured a loyal following. Claire Ptak’s cakes use organic ingredients and seasonal buttercream icings. Expect to find elderflower, gooseberry and rhubarb icings in the spring and look forward to Kentish cherries, Suffolk blackberries and Dorset blueberries in the summer.
Retailer/Supper club: Niko B Chocolates
Avo Hotel, 82 Dalston Lane, E8 3AH
Hand-made in small batches, Niko B Chocolates are 100% organic, Fairtrade and seasonally flavoured, using ingredients certified by the Soil Association such as organic British cream and butter. Available from their ‘Chocolate Lab’ at the Avo Hotel, they also offer chocolate workshops, Sunday brunch with a chocolate twist, and host a four-course, dessert-only supper club.
Pub: The Duke of Wellington
119 Balls Pond Road, N1 4BL
Awarded ‘North London Pub of the Season’ by CAMRA in Spring 2010 for supporting real ale, ciders, independent breweries and real ale festivals, the pub boasts an impressive selection of real ales on hand pull. This includes Sambrook’s Wandle, which has been brewed in Wandsworth since 2008. The food menu is fresh and seasonal with free-range and traditionally-reared meat, poultry and eggs as well as sustainably-caught fish from the British coast.
Music venue/Café: Café OTO
18-22 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL
Chill out and feel suitably cool at Café OTO. Beers are provided by The Kernal microbrewery in Southwark, including OTO Ale brewed exclusively for the café. They also stock a range of fruit juices, ciders, teas and Monmouth coffee, and homemade, organic food is served during the day.