All eyes have been on the London 2012 Games for the past few weeks. But beyond the Olympic Stadium and the admittedly very exciting Olympic hoopla, some more locally based achievements of the foodie variety are taking place which hopefully after this historic summer will carry on pleasing East Londoners for years to come.
Here's a list of five newly opened and locally owned restaurants and pubs worth seeking out for not only exceptional food and drink but for a taste of some real local flavour as well.
231 Lower Clapton Road, E5 8EG
Closest Station: Clapton Rail
This pub is as much an indicator of how gentrified this thicket of deepest East London is rapidly becoming as it is a more than decent place to grab a pint and relax. They regularly change the roster of craft ales, and proper pub grub menu, and have Sunday roasts and a welcoming atmosphere which at the moment seems to be as cross section-y inclusive as anywhere you're likely to come across in this town. A bit of a work in progress currently, but nonetheless an excellent place to check out the scene in one of London's hottest up-and-coming areas.
Cooper & Wolf
145 Chatsworth Road, E5 0LA
Closest Station: Homerton Overground
This fledgling Swedish cafe offers a delectable assortment of Nordic dishes such as the best smoked salmon you'll ever put in your mouth, homemade Swedish meatballs to die for and pickled herring that tastes as authentic as it gets. Don't worry, they serve plenty of equally tasty vegetarian options as well. The vibe at Cooper & Wolf is eclectic and homespun: Scandi with a touch of East London edge. Great coffee plus warm and appreciative smiles add to the charm and explain why after only a few weeks trading, it already has a host of loyal fans.
Duke's Brew & Cue
33 Downham Road, N1 5AA
Closest Station: Haggerston Overground
Located in some say the already-came-and-went neighbourhood of De Beauvoir Town, Duke's brings Kansas City to the UK with a mighty and meaty menu. Pork ribs, beef ribs, pulled pork sliders, burgers, steaks … you get the picture. But meat's just half the equation. Beer is the other half. And it's about as American as they come. Anchor Steam, Brooklyn Lager, Lone Star? Yes, you're in London.
The North Pole
188-190 New North Road, N1 7BJ
Closest Station: Angel Underground or Old Street Underground
Although there's been a pub here for quite some time, new management and a sprucing up have made The North Pole all shiny and new and well worth a visit. The North Pole specialises in craft beer, real ale and ciders with 22 on draught and 30 by the bottle, all from independent suppliers. A updated version of a classic pub grub menu accompanies all the awesome brews like a champ: fish and chips, whole racks of ribs, burgers, pie and mash and many more options.
This Bright Field
268 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9DA
Closest Station: Bethnal Green Underground
This Bright Field offers a “fresh, well crafted, ever changing menu” that’s English in both its recipes and ingredients used. Head chef Matt Casey, formerly of Koffman’s and The Whitechapel Gallery restaurant, sources British regional produce to create his dishes. And bless his cotton sock for it! A dine here might be the best meal you'll have while visiting London. Consider if you will: home cooked Suffolk ham with smoked chicken and red onion marmalade for your first course followed by fresh caught pollock with Norfolk samphire and crayfish butter. Room for dessert? How about Yorkshire rhubarb and Hampshire berry crumble with Dorset clotted cream? Oh yeah. Who said British food has to be stodgy?
Photo: Chris Osburn
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