Hackney’s changed. I think we all got the memo. But after you’ve explored the the boutique homeware stores of Stoke Newington, and before you hit exclusive bars that make up Dalston, what else is there to do? Grab a bite to eat, of course.
Clapton, which is anywhere that has ‘E5’ in the postcode, has become the latest destination for food enthusiasts. Here are five places that will sort you out, whether you need a caffeine kick, a slap-up meal or a couple of bar snacks. This list is by no means extensive, but it’s a good place to start.
- 119 Lower Clapton
The Scandinavian style book has been taken to heart here - the look, the feel and the good-looking staff all fit the formula. Speaking of which, the baristas here are the most talented in the area when it comes to making a cup of coffee, and I challenge you to detect a single burnt milk bubble in the entire cafe. If you get here early enough, an exploration of the brunch menu is a must. With bacon swapped out for fried prosciutto, you know it’s going to be good.
119 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP
- Shane’s on Chatsworth
A comparatively old Clapton favourite, meaning that it has been around for a few years now rather than just a few months. Having opened its doors in 2012, the restaurant specialises in seasonal and local produce, even going as far to forage some of its ingredients from the nearby Hackney Marshes. Some great deals are on offer for those who don’t want to break the bank, including a £10 steak night on Mondays. It’s a cosy venue - so be sure to book in advance.
62 Chatsworth Road, E5 0LS
- Pacific Social Club
If you make it to the Pacific Social Club on Clarence Road, you’re in for one of the best lunches Clapton has to offer. This is the ultimate slacker cafe, with West coast vibes and surfer tunes on repeat. You might need to remind the staff a few times that you actually made an order, but the fresh made juices and sandwiches are worth the wait. We recommend the avocado on toast, which comes with a generous sprinkling of Middle Eastern dukkah.
8 Clarence Road, E5 8HB
181 Clarence Road used to house one of Clapton’s most notorious pubs, but then it became the the area’s most upmarket restaurant, and a poignant reminder of the area’s rapid gentrification. Verden is the place to go when you are feeling flush or need to impress, with a food and drink selection that has been carefully put together by two former employees of Scott’s at Mayfair. The menu rarely disappoints, and often offers the opportunity to try elusive ingredients that you’ve probably only heard about on Masterchef: The Professionals.
181 Clarence Road, E5 8EE
- Windsor Castle (top image)
Another pub that ain't what it used to be: after being shut down during the same set of raids that saw 93 Feet East temporarily closed, the pub was re-opened after Vice took on the ownership. Funnily enough, the venue isn’t mentioned in Vice’s Great London Gentrification Pub Crawl, despite being in full swing at the time of writing. All joking aside, the Windsor Castle boasts Clapton’s best pub menu. Alongside classic snacks (chips and sausage rolls), you can expect large plates of pierogies, polenta and, on Sundays, some rather generous roasts.
135 Lower Clapton Road, E5 8EQ
By Sarah Drumm, editor of Wily Badger magazine. Wily Badger magazine is your guide to all things Clapton - for the latest news, views and events, visit www.wilybadger.com or follow us on Twitter @wily_badger.
Photos by Barney Thomas