Shoreditch: Overrated or a gem?

I have been so out of touch lately its ridiculous. I had always intended to  post on a weekly basis but like everyone in London, I have a never ending to do list and it doesn’t make much room for blogging. Recently I read ‘The Happiness Project’ and It told me to make time for things I enjoy. So here I am.

I went for a nice day trip on one of the odd sunny days in london to Shoreditch Brick Lane. Whilst a Londoner, I never trek to the East as it’s just a bit of a mission from the western outskirts of Ealing Broadway. Feeling a much needed change of tempo I went to Brick Lane, home of hippies, grungies, trendsetters and cliched it people, the vibe is so different to the west thats populated by families, conservative businessman and greenery.

Walking through Brick Lane I couldn’t help but question whether Shoreditch was just too overrated for its own good. Overpriced nic-nacs, fake vintage (last time I checked M&S was not vintage clothing piece) and crowded walkways… but still it was definitely a pleasant change. I came solely for the food market that nestles within a walkway off the main stretch, The Old Truman Brewery.

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Verdict? It has character, but it tries to hard. Just like the people who populate it.

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Six Dinners Later… Nourishing Lives

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All images rights and owned by Six Dinners Later limited.

 I just had to write about Six Dinners Later… (www.sixdinnerslater.com) I have just started out working as their community manager and I am already so passionate about the brand I feel like so many more people could benefit from knowing about who it is and what it does!

For me its so close to home. I’ve spent years in cosmopoliton London as a child trying to find a circle of friends in school, but always found I was always an outsider. I wasn’t asian enough to spend time with the hard workers of the class, not careless enough about my future to be part of the more rebellious crowd. I felt there was no middle ground to position myself in, that I just felt lonely. I wanted to have friends and work hard, I wanted it all but I felt like there was no one like me. I moved to Turkey and I suffered further, with an identity crisis in which I wasn’t turkish enough to spend time with local turkish friends, my mixed race led me to feel like I didn’t belong. I still struggle to find my footing today, awkward meetups, jobs and situations to try and find just one more person to connect with.

Six Dinners Later resonated so well because it was built by Janey, who decided on the concept because she felt a missing piece too. Its all too common to feel alone in a crowd, especially in a city like London. Unfortunately traditional methods to deal with this problem just don’t exist anymore.

Six Dinners Later makes it possible to find people through their website, but then build a friendship offline, by being hosted or hosting dinners with others. Now this just calls to the foodie in me as well as the desire to find some true friendships. I don’t need to date, I have a partner, and I don’t want to go clubbing with strangers, this is the closest thing to pure organic friendship finding that I can see…

I truly recommend the experience. They are more than a business, they are people who really want to nourish peoples lives, feed peoples soul with food and good conversation. Check them out! www.sixdinnerslater.com

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Harley.

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Completely unrelated to food and travel, but I just couldn’t resist! Meet Harley, our 9 week old puggle puppy. That’s a pug x a beagle cross if your asking.

Got her a week ago, shes now the love of our life. She waddles about in our garden, affectionately follows us around and kisses us like no tomorrow. We have warmed to her so quickly and in her presence I love my partner so much more. The tv episode where a man parades a puppy for the women to come flocking, well that has more than an ounce of truth to it. My boyfriend wakes up in the morning to visit Harley in the sitting room saying “Morning gorgeous” and I just melt inside.

For all the friends who say It’s in preparation.. SLOW DOWN! 6 years together and no closer to baby talk. To be honest, there are days with Harley that make me reconsider the idea of a family. I love her to bits, but she can be a pain in my ass. For the people who think a puppy is easy it is like a baby, in fact, babies may be easier! Listen to the adverts that say a pet is not just for christmas, because you probably have not mentally prepared for the first stages of a puppy.

The sleepless nights, the huge amount of doggy poop, the training… It is amazing how quickly they learn and what a joy it is to see her develop. In a period of 1 week she went from only walking one step in fear to running up and down like its nothing, from fear of plastic bottles to playing with them, from not being able to be unattended to us leaving with not a peep of worry. But as confidence and curiousity builds so does naughtiness.. biting, clawing, running away, cheeky resilience to your commands..

This little bundle of joy is the best little nightmare we’ve ever had 🙂

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WeFeast

This urban food festival is great for understanding and introducing East London’s shabby-chic dining. Unlike many other festivals it is not about frilly food, michelin chefs and expensive bites. It speaks wonders about East London’s atmosphere. Trendy, urban and the hub of innovation and creativity this area is representative of a younger generation, people who have driven trend on upmarket food via home-style comfort cooking.

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It hosts the most famous restaurants in the district who for one weekend, gather together to give you a taste of what they are about. Shabby-sheek but still expensive, going to many of these restaurants would cost quite abit to go to all. Its a great opportunity to nibble at a wide array of food.

Hosted in tabacco docks, what sounds rather quirky and underground is actually a very elegant location, High ceilings, it is like a better lit and more glamorous version of Covent Garden Market place. I was quitesurprised on the size and the architecture that greeted me on entrance. Much more sheek than shabby I must say. On first glance I thought the event would be more like a fair but actually there was huge sums of seating, candlelit dining, wine bar and live music making it surprisingly romantic.

I got stuck in. I went my my partners sister and good friend, and we all had out ‘must have’ bites list at the ready. I knew what I wanted to try and went for it. Big Apple Hot Dogs, Pizza Pilgrims, Dishoom and Spit and Roast.

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Festival Pros and Cons.

Pros: Amazing setting and location, everything we ate was delicious, good fun and nice change from what you would usually get up to on a weekend.

Cons: I love strong flavours and choice, and what better place for choice but at a food festival? The only issue was the range was much more limited than I expected. Hotdog, fried chicken, Man n Cheese, burgers, pizza… I was hoping for a lot more depth and options in terms of what to eat. I felt alot of it were different versions of the same products. It was all american diner food. I expected a bit more choice in the types of cuisine offered. In that sense it was disappointing.

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Pizza Pilgrims has taken by storm as pop-up restaurants, street food and fresh grub are at the moment food fashion. They drive their van around the streets of london sharing their love for true italian pizza. I ordered the spicy pizza, which ended up too spicy for me, but it was fresh and delicious! (£6)

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Dishoom, the asian take on a pulled pork bun, with a pomergranite coleslaw and bombay chips, with a Indian Chai. My favourite dish! (£5)

Big Apple Hot Dogs: The Big Dog (£6)

Spit & Roast buttermilk fried chicken burger sliders (£3.50) … mmmm.

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Additions to my London foodie calendar

Want to try London’s finest unique dining experiences and aren’t too excited by Timeout’s alternatives. Try these bad boys:

Taken from Grape Night In Official Website

Taken from Grape Night In Official Website

March Secret Wine Supper

Every month A Grape Night In and The Rookery Clapham Common hosts a Secret Wine Supper, each with hand selected wines paired with a seasonal menu with a secret theme… Check out the poster for some clues for March’s event.

We guarantee that each month will be as topical as it comes, but the final reveal won’t happen until the night! Your challenge – to help us find the best food and wine pairing.

Each night includes 5 courses of ‘mystery’ wines and seasonal small dishes, accompanied by an interactive tasting hosted by the Grape Night In girls – all for just £32!

*Look closely at the poster for clues to this month’s theme

History

Laura & Kiki, who have started pop-up wine company A Grape Night In, are part of the new generation breathing life into the stale world of wine tasting. These girls bring youth and excitement to a normally bland setting – White table clothes are banished and quirky themes welcomed. These wine tasting sessions are designed to bring wine to a new level of coolness, ready to challenge any fancy cocktail or craft beer!

If you like wine, but don’t know why, and want to be able to tell your Cabernet from your Pinot, make sure to find A Grape Night In pronto as their passion will infect you…

Read More… A Grape Night In

Zoe’s Ghana Restaurant [A Pop-Up Restaurant]

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen is a ‘pop-up’ restaurant creating a look and feel from its Ghanaian roots that merges with a contemporary dining experience. Home spun, home cooked food. Always fun, always relaxed and always tasty…

Born from creating a ‘pop-up’ Ghanaian restaurant in my live/workspace in Hackney Wick in the summer of 2010 as part of Hackney Wicked Arts Festival, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen has grown with popular demand.

We now have a monthly night, the first Saturday of every month at Carlton London Café in East London and regularly take Ghana Kitchen experience to Berlin.

We cater for functions, festivals, private parties and install our ‘pop-up’ experience across the UK and now Europe.

Price and events: see their Facebook  to see up and coming pop up events, prices vary.

Their on going Carlton London Cafe Event is 6 Courses, £20 per person.

See More at: Zoe’s Ghana Pop up Restaurant

The Secret Supper Club Social

Cuisson’s Head Chef, Paul, invites you to join him for one of his secret supper clubs. With a very social format, a rotation through different central London locations, and an ever changing interactive menu – this is one gourmet dinner experience you’ll not want to miss.

THE UN-RESTAURANT

Cuisson’s Head Chef, Paul, invites you to join him for one of his secret dinner parties. This is one (un)Restaurant you’ll not want to miss.

  • Typically involves a five or six course gourmet menu. The photos on this page are for example purposes only, as each event has a different menu.
  • Menus will be available one week in advance, and Paul will endeavour to cater to any special requirements.

Paul prefers an interactive format to his supper clubs, and if you want to get hands-on, you can join him in creating the canapés. If you’re not the cooking type, just relax and chat with the other guests while he prepares the five amazing courses. Butternut squash velouté with home-smoked chicken roulade, and truffled bread are typical of what you can expect on his menu, and as Paul prepares his dishes you’ll learn the inside secrets such as how to make the perfect wild mushroom butter. But be warned, don’t get too excited by the mains as Paul’s desserts are divine — like the thick and delicious butterscotch set cream with autumn pear, spiced blackberry and almond crumble. It is a heavenly end to an evening of culinary bliss.

Read More… Chef Website

Read More… Lime&Tonic Experience london

Pipsdish [Islington]

I’ve already been here and I LOVE IT! Closes at the end of april, so book while you can!

Read more on my blog: Pipsdish Review 

Read more… Pipsdish official site

More London Culinary Experiences

Lime and Tonic – Culinary Experiences

We are pop up – sharing current pop up restaurant experiences in London

London Pop ups – Great list of supper clubs

One Glorious meal at Islington’s pop up restaurant [Pipsdish]

Pipsdish is an amazing little gem nestled in a little alley off of the main highstreet of Islington, London. This charming little restaurant is a well kept secret and has only a limited time open. On entrance it looks like a Citroen car garage, and thats exactly what it was since 2011 when the founder Philip Dundas started the venture. This little place was rented and converted to a foodie heaven. Fresh produce, artisan goods, fine culinary work and simple hearty dishes.

[Visited Saturday 9th March]

Whilst working at my internship in a design agency I was fortunate to find out about this place. I had to delivery tea there for an event and fell for it immediately. Hastely booking the venue 3 weeks in advance (yes it is that much in demand now!). Many have dined here more than once and I can see why. The chef is friendly and talented, and the waiter is just as warm. You immediately feel like your being welcomed into someones home, and the chef cooks in front of you as though you are indeed, in his kitchen.

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The decor is kitsch, country and realistic to being in a garage, contains a mini old citroen van which is quirkely converted into a private dining space.

This cute little venue has another quirk, its menu- There isn’t one. You pay a set 3 course meal rate of £30, but you don’t know what you will get until the day. Food is made daily, depending on the ingredients bought and the mood of the chef. Theres something exciting about not knowing what you will get served, adding to the experience. They are still very accommodating to dietary needs if you tell them prior to the day. I was worried i may not enjoy it as I can be fussy but every dish as lipsmackingly amazing.

Pipsdish is closing in April, so time is tight before we say goodbye. I must make sure I go again before it disappears.

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Starter: Onion Soup (They gave it a more flowery explanation but this is what it is) topped with pancetta, pumpkin seeds and bread pieces. The flavour was lovely and the textures of the pepper, pancetta and seeds really added to the dish. We savioured every bit.

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Couscous with Beef. My friend doesnt usually like beef but loved this. And I usually dont like couscous but the lemon herb dressing and the flavour of the beef made this delicious. I have been converted to couscous. When the waiter went to get the dish with only a few spoons left on it. My friend pryed it out of his hand, its not done till its licked clean!

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This was a highlight. My friend ate hers in under 5 minutes and I finished every morsel too. I am not a sweet tooth but this pear and butterscotch crumble with cream was one of the best desserts Ive ever had!

Philips Dundas explains the story of the pop restaurants birth at: The Wheels of Fortune Turn