The great thing about having another half who doesn’t live with you is that you get to live like a local in two places rather than one. That means twice the local waterholes, more restaurants within 5 minutes of slumping, pot-bellied into bed to try and two times the number of coffee shops to have a barista know your order in. It’s two places for the price of one rent. I.e total win.
To be fair, I’m pretty spoilt for choice already. I’m lucky enough to live in an affluent North London town where a Franco Manca pops up next to a refurbished community-focused cinema every other week. I definitely haven’t tried every eatery within ½ a mile radius of my gaff yet. Afterall, I’ve been sharing a meal plan with an area of London 2 buses away; namely, Lower Clapton. As my boyfriend signs the lease on a new room the next tube stop up from mine, I take a look back at our favourite spots in the place he called home for the last 52 weeks.
Most of the cafes/shops/restaurants below have been places we’ve been to more than once so you can be sure we’ve tried the menus and sufficiently tested the staff with constant tap water requests. Have any other Hackney haunts you love? It’s never too late for us to go back. If only for a spot of nostalgia.
The most recent addition to the list was the newly opened Cafe Miami but it’s going in first because it’s my favourite. I saw it from across the road and KNEW it was going to be a goodie. I mean, it had a pastel blue exterior and cool signage. The inside didn’t disappoint and the prospect of homemade pop tarts almost threw me off the edge. Go for a melting pot of avo on toast, pancakes and peanut butter cup cookies.
24 Lower Clapton Rd, London E5 0PD
Botany Plant Shop
Anywhere selling succulents gets a thumbs up in my books. Botany, purveyors of said plants as well as pots, crockery and other homey curiosities is a haven for the green fingered (or just green IG gridded) amongst us.
5 Chatsworth Road, London, E5 0LH
The Clapton Table
Just around the corner from the boyf is a no-frills restaurant/cafe that I’m almost certain never closes. We’ve had delicious Moroccan lamb candlelit dinners, slap up full English breakfasts and hearty brunches at The Clapton Table. There’s nothing fancy or zeitgeisty about this place but it’s reliable and amenable and that’s just the kind of place you want on your doorstep to kick start your weekend.
159 Lower Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton E5 8EQ
Hop of Hackney
Possibly a children’s shop but hey, you can’t say a little pom pom wicker basket and geometric print is exclusively for under 10s. Opened by a charming husband and wife duo around 2 years ago, charming gift shop, Hop of Hackney, is hard to walk out of empty handed. Go on, treat yourself to at least a roll of wrapping paper.
68 Chatsworth Rd, London E5 0LS
Cooper & Wolf
Chatworth Road famously boasts some brilliant places to chill out in but Cooper & Wolf, situated right at the top trumps the rest. It’s unashamedly messy and communal but decked out with the best formica tables and plants that I’m Instagramming all over the place. Order from the short but sweet menu, someone will knock it up for ya fresh and then you can watch the kids ride by on fixies.
145 Chatsworth Rd, Lower Clapton, London E5 0LA
Brahms & Liszt – Off-licence and Tasting Room
Now THIS is an experience. Step into Brahms & Liszt and expect to leave tispy. There’s no way you’re getting away with a brose without the cheery bartender/shop keeper talking and tasting his way through his collection of Mezcal. Marvel the displays and curious bottles and leave merry.
10 Chatsworth Rd, London E5 0LP
#PlantsonPink. I say no more.
411 Mare St, London E8 1HY
The minimal exterior of Triangle has ‘concept’ written all over it. Filled with all the cool wares you need to spruce up your home or wardrobe.
81 Chatsworth Rd, London E5 0LH
I’m not a gal who regularly spends hours in the salon, in fact I’ve probably gone a year without cutting my hair before but Bluetit Salon, Clapton is somewhere I’d gladly while away some hours. With its suitcases moonlighting as hairdressers’ trolleys, mini photo studio downstairs, weathered wood decor and an abundance of plants, this is my kinda hairdressers. After 6 months contemplating the revival of my auburn barnet, I took the plunge (quite literally in a basin) and asked for red highlights throughout the bottom of my hair. 3 hours later I emerged as Ariel (in my head) and swished my way to lunch feeling fabulous. Do take a look at their other locations incase a different branch is closer to you.
121 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP
(Please note, Bluetit kindly offered me a discount on my treatment)
Darling & Gold
If you’re galavanting down Chatsworth Road (which you should do just for fun) then do pop into Darling and Gold. Selling mens and womens clothes plus gifts and homeware and even the very mid-century furniture it sits on, you’ll be wanting to take it ALL home.
20 Chatsworth Rd, London E5 0LP
I love a proper French galette – after all, I was brought up watching my Papi make them in a huge old pan (reserved exclusively for the job) on the open fire when I visited them on school holidays. No disrespect to my adored Grandad but Le Merlin’s galettes are better than his were, it’s got to be said. Crispy duck in a creamy sauce – it’s just divine. Especially when served by an actual, dashing Frenchman. Get yourself a savoury and a sweet crepe and make sure it’s the caramelised apple and toffee filling with vanilla ice cream. C’est magnifique!
78 Lower Clapton Rd, London E5 0RN
‘My god, I didn’t know Spar still existed!’ ‘Wait, it’s a florists… and burger bar too?!’
Yep, this ain’t the corner shop your grand let you run to to spend your 10p. This Spar is COOL. Packed with the usual aisles but with a focus on local produce, it also boasts a soon to be reopening indie cinema upstairs (it is located in a 100 year old Electric Cinema after all), a burger restaurant by Eat17 which you order at the checkout, a bakery and a florists run by Rebel Rebel with a grand piano adorned with succulents in the window. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
64 Brooksby’s Walk, Hackney, London E9 6DA
When a cafe’s motto is that it doesn’t follow trends but is authentic to its family traditions, you know you’ll be able to really relax there. I felt right at home in Cafe Mosaic, probably because it reminded me of the Australian homes I dream of one day living in in Frankie’s Spaces magazine. We ordered Full Englishes (it was snowing outside, it had to be done) and were chuffed when they arrived on colourful plates. This may be unpretentious but it’s still got it’s priorities sorted!
118 Upper Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton, London E5 9JY
Other places we loved in Hackney: