Beast magazine ISSUE 5

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Bright Young Things Meet the new generation changing the face of East London and beyond



BEASTMAG.CO.UK @BeastmagLondon









BEAST magazine is brought to you by Editor Emma Winterschladen Creative Director Nicky Acketts Sub Editor Claire Blindell Digital Writer Charlotte Davey Photography Carmel Jane Features Rosie Gizauskas, Lara Mills, Contributors Ed Holton, Cliodhna Quinn, Thomas Palmer, Sophie Castle, Leonie Helm, Oliver Cruttenden, Katharine Dilworth, Loretta Williamson, Ann Castle Printed in the UK by CPI Colour To advertise contact ON THE COVER Vick Hope wears Pink dress, ÂŁ119, Photography by Carmel Jane. Assistant photographers Laura Clarke & Lucy Thornton. Hair & Makeup by Sarah Massie. Styled by Maria Loizou. Wtih thanks to The Old Bank Vault, Hackney Road. Beast magazine is published five times per year and is available throughout East London. Every effort is made to ensure the information contained in the magazine is correct. We cannot accept responsibility for omissions or errors. Opinions expressed in the content are strictly those of the authors.



THE SICILIAN SUPPER CLUB Where can you get all the soul of a real Sicilian supper, in the heart of East London? The answer is, dear friends, at Strazzanti’s Sicilian Supper Club. Since launching last year, the Strazzanti sisters have already hosted five sell-out suppers - each a celebration of their culinary heritage, and all in collaboration with a whole host of East London brands and artisans. Their now insta-famous February supper club was a visual and edible ode to Sicily’s Almond Blossom Festival, featuring a bespoke floral installation (pictured) by the creative geniuses over at McQueen’s Flower School. The next supper club is on May 30th & 31st at Hackney Coffee Co. and you can keep up to date with future events over on their Instagram @strazzanti.


OUT THERE Eyes wide open and ears to the ground

WE’RE READING ‘Startup London’, an inspirational guide for anyone dreaming of starting their own business. By Christina Hopkinson and Rick Pushinsky, a British photographer based in East London, with a background in fine art and architecture. His work has been featured in Vogue and The Telegraph.


BAKE IT ’TIL YOU MAKE IT Having started its life in an empty shipping container, The Dusty Knuckle Bakery has earned itself a permanent space – and the love of Hackney locals. The team’s goal is thus: to build a sustainable business that provides training and employment for young people who are struggling to find meaningful employment. They’ve now also branched out into teaching. Using the best quality ingredients, their informal, informative classes include recipes, tips and gifts to take home too (not to mention your own loaf!). Classes range from Easter baking and rye breads to sandwich masterclasses, and all include dinner and refreshments, with beers from the local 40ft Brewery. Abbot St, E8 3DP. 6


Whether you’ve been trying to be more eco-friendly for Lent or are making a more conscious effort generally to use less plastic, RE:Store in Hackney is one for your radar. The zero-waste store has no single-use plastic in sight. Instead, you can bring your own containers to fill with household essentials, from toiletries to whole foods to cleaning products. Shop 6, Hackney Downs Studios, 17 Amhurst Terrace, E8 2BT.

SINGING IN THE PARK 24th May – 2nd June

All Points East, East London’s massive annual music festival, is returning once again to Victoria Park this May. The festival, held over two weekends, has a stellar line up including the likes of The Chemical Brothers, The Strokes, Christine and The Queens, James Blake, Primal Scream, Bring Me the Horizon, First Aid Kit, Mumford and Sons, Yonaka and Bon Iver. What’s more, In the Neighbourhood, a four-day programme of free activities and entertainment, from outdoor cinema to sports and wellbeing, will be bookended by the festival, across half term week. Grove Rd, Bow, E3 5TB.

Yonaka set to play at All Points East Festival, Victoria Park



NAILING IT Life’s too short for boring nails, so go bright and bold this springtime with a manicure from the experts at Shoreditch Nails. Tucked away behind Boundary Street, their ‘workshop’ – with its white brick walls, hanging plants, wicker chairs and art-adorned walls, is as instagrammable as their nail art. They have an impressive menu of designs on offer, from block colours, metallic tapes, dots, monochromes and glitter. But if, like us, you suffer from indecisivanitus, head over to their @shoreditchnails Insta for an abundance of inspo (rainbow nails? Yes please!) 13 Cleve Workshops, Boundary St, E2 7JD.


WELL READ WOMXN Shoreditch’s multi-arts bar, The Book Club, is launching a radical feminist book club for millennials. Each month will centre on a different theme, with the first being magic, astrology and womxn of the zodiac. Celebrating the work of working class, queer, disabled, and POC feminist writers, attendees are invited to pitch your favourite feminist writer, writing or character in a two minute, slam-style slot. The aim is to compile a collective bibliography of feminist works. Remember to bring along a battered copy of your favourite book to swap in The Book Club Book Club Book Swap (try saying that after a drink or three). And if you don’t fancy competing in the slam, simply put your feet up and enjoy the night. 100-106 Leonard St, EC2A 4RH. 8


To celebrate the season of new buds, our friends over at McQueen’s Flower School have launched a wonderful new series of one-day workshops. Spend the morning soaking up the expert knowledge of their talented tutors, before getting creative in the afternoon with your own floral creations. Head home with a hand-tied bouquet, a spring table design, a seasonal wreath, a ‘wild’ floral creation using garden flowers and foliage, or a spring showstopper. We think they all sound blooming marvellous. 229 Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 0EL.

“Espresso by day, Martini by night” EVERYDAY ELEGANCE We’re all about making our humble abodes as Pinterestworthy as possible. Enter Labour and Wait – your go-to for all things functional, timeless and effortlessly chic. With two shops in East London (Redchurch St. and Bethnal Green), you can expect useful, traditional products - all sourced from expert, artisan makers from around the world. Particularly worthy of mention is their elegant range of Japanese coffee pots, which are synonymous with ‘having one’s shit together’. They also stock brick sixty soap bars, featured in our eco-gift guide, page 34.

A certainly temping tag line for the recently-opened ROTATE - a new, independent venue in Shoreditch with rotating residencies of the latest and greatest in the world of food and drink. 1 Bath Place, Rivington Street EC2A 3DA.

SHOUT OUT to the Beetroot latte at Plant Hub & Academy, Mare Street – the perfect reading companion to a copy of BEAST. Share your pics with us over on Instagram @beastmag_london #SPOTtheBEAST BEAST


Proper boozers Meet Ed Holton, the Cotswolder-turned-East-Londoner on a mission to discover the best craft beer. He shares with BEAST his hard-drunk wisdom for the ultimate Hackney Beer Mile...

Follow Ed on Instagram @justaswiftone


A short walk to the bottom of Amhurst Road and on he pub crawl is a familiar fixture in most of our social the corner of Mare Street is THE COCK TAVERN – a proper lives. It is high energy, the change of scenery keeps it boozer – where Howling Hops brewery first started out, spontaneous and guarantees you a good knees up. brewing in the cellar before their move to Hackney Wick. It’s However, after struggling for beer options in dark and you’ll be eating pickled eggs rather than pizza; this some of the city’s more soulless pubs on a recent stag do, I place is all about atmosphere and beer and has arguably couldn’t help thinking pub crawls should be so much more London’s best cask beer range. than bottles of Heineken and Jagerbomb chasers. No trip to Hackney Central is complete without a visit Imagine a London where each venue offers the tastiest to the railway arches of Bohemia Place, craft beers, a great atmosphere and opposite the station. The new ST JOHN knowledgeable staff. In Hackney this ‘THIS PLACE IS AT HACKNEY BREWERY has a tap room is now the reality. So, in keeping with ALL ABOUT ranking alongside London’s best. Expect the Bermondsey Beer Mile, here are ATMOSPHERE AND decent beer (including guest beers), a my recommendations for our very own huge garden, and delicious pop-up food Hackney Central Beer Mile. BEER AND HAS menus. Alight at Hackney Downs, head east ARGUABLY Finish your crawl two doors down, in down Dalston Lane and find THE PEMBURY LONDON’S BEST one of London’s most talked about craft TAVERN. Tall and imposing on Five Points junction, what was once a dark, lifeless CASK BEER RANGE̓ beer establishments, THE EXPERIMENT. What was Pressure Drop’s old brewery and uninviting pub is now thriving under is now a collaborative taproom with Verdant – a brilliant, the Five Points brewery, one of Hackney’s finest. Line your Cornish craft brewery. With exclusive new releases most stomach with pizza, immerse yourself in stylish décor and weekends, ample seating and affordable take-out cans, this vibrant ambience, and sip on the freshest of beers, brewed a is an essential stop. B mere stones-throw away. The ‘Railway Porter’ is a must-try.

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Parklife living in the heart of Hackney Register your interest: @theottohackney

020 3296 2222

020 7226 6611

THIS PAGE: Pink dress, £119; Black sandals, £109 OPPOSITE PAGE: Green jumpsuit, £280; Earrings, £499,; Black shoes, £40,

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HOPE AND GLORY Radio and TV broadcaster Vick Hope’s star is rising, and shows no sign of stopping. She talks to Rosie Gizauskas about the joys of a varied career, life in Dalston, and how she’s giving back to the community there


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loving having her own, tranquil space near to Dalston Kingsland station – where nobody can boss her around. “It’s my first time living on my own and I’m relishing in the fact that if I leave a plate or a cup in the sink, nobody’s going to tell me off!” Vick says that Dalston is the ideal spot because of the different mix of cultures – especially the prominent Nigerian influence in the area. “It blows my mind that I can get everything I need for my hair in one place,” says says. “When I was growing up in Newcastle, my mum and I had to get the train to Leeds to get our afro hair done. But now I just pop out to Paks on Ridley Road. I also love Ridley Road Market itself - I can get all the bits I need to make Nigerian food there, and some of the ingredients are pretty obscure. I take great comfort in smelling that Nigerian food cooking. It’s the smell of home. My mum says she feels like she’s back in Lagos when she comes to visit.” Before she started presenting, Vick studied modern languages at Cambridge University, and speaks Spanish, Portuguese and French. She became the youngest ever journalist to work at the Argentina Independent when she was 19. “I think it’s important to flex all the different muscles in my brain,” says says. “I love talking about entertainment and pop culture, but I also like to get my teeth stuck into working on an investigative documentary and exploring the arts or culture.” Big on art, Vic is now presenting Art 50 on Sky Arts, a programme looking at art, music, dance, film and writing, up and down the UK. “We’re looking at art that explores Britishness and what it means to be British,” explains Vick. “50 projects are shown across the country at different venues. I was on the judging panel, picking the projects, and I fell in love with it so much that I was asked to present the show, too.” As an arty and creative person, Vick says that Dalston is the perfect place for her to live. “There’s a creative vibe,” she says. “I only hope that other young, creative people aren’t priced out of the area. We need to keep that buzz going.” B Follow Vick on Instagram @vicknhope



ick Hope isn’t just a pretty face – or a soothing voice on the radio. The multi faceted star shone on Strictly Come Dancing last year, and is best known for her now-national presenting gig on Capital FM’s breakfast show. But when she’s not on TV or the airwaves, she’s busy working with the local community in Dalston, where she’s lived for six years. Vick dedicates one day a week - no mean feat considering how busy she is – to working with refugees at a project in Hackney called Akwaaba. “We help refugees and asylum seekers and it’s really close to my heart,” Vick says. “There’s been a big influx of people who need our help in the last few years. I work with the children’s group, doing workshops, storytelling, dance, help with homework, arts, crafts and sport. It’s important to me because my mum came over from Nigeria when she was little. I often come away feeling like I’m going to cry because some of the kids have been in such dreadful situations, but it’s so important to me to keep on going with it. The UK can be very hostile to refugees.” Belonging is a subject that’s close to Vick’s heart. She recently wrote a piece for Marie Claire magazine about the subject in light of Brexit, touching on her mother’s experience of setting up home in the UK when she came over to live in Newcastle from Nigeria at the age of 11. “I’d like to write for them more regularly,” Vick says. “I love working in entertainment, and I have the face of a child so that works pretty well for chatting about Justin Bieber! But in the next five years, I’d like to write about issues, like identity, that I find really compelling,… not that I don’t find Justin Bieber compelling, it’s just getting that mix.” Meeting us at Shoreditch House, Vick speaks fondly of the borough she’s lived for six years now. “I moved into a house share with some of my girlfriends after uni in Dalston. We did everything together – we travelled and we partied. Those memories of living east with my friends in London in my twenties are some of my favourite ever.” Now in her own place for the very first time, Vick says she’s



I love going to Columbia Road flower market on a Sunday. I had a beautiful day the other day. It’s a great place to have a walk through and a people watch. Open Sundays, 8am-3pm, Columbia Road, Hackney


I eat here a lot. The food is Middle Eastern and small plates are my vibe because I get food envy. There’s a ginger and garlic chicken dish that comes with cauliflower and tahini that you must try. Gaumont Tower, Dalston E8 3BQ


I go here for chilled out cocktails a lot. It’s not high end, it’s just got a good vibe and it’s really cheap. I love sitting outside with a plastic glass in the summer. 9 Dalston Lane, E8 3DF


I’m a huge fan of going to a city farm and playing with the animals on the weekend. Who doesn’t love petting a goat or two? 1a Goldsmiths Row, E2 8QA


This is where you’ll find me in the summer. There are always guys practising back flips or playing with poi - which is always fun to watch!

OPPOSITE PAGE: Black gown, Price on request,; Earrings, £499,; Shoes, £109, THIS PAGE: Blazer, £49, Trousers, £30,; Earrings, £449 Atelier Swarovski

LOVE THYSELF Spring into the new season by carving out some essential me-time with our top picks for self-care in the city… BRIGHT EYES Browhaus, locations around London If eyes are the window to your soul, then the least you can do is get a good pair of curtains! Enter Browhaus, your new go-to for perfect brows and lashes. Their signature ‘Lash in Bloom’ service offers luscious lash extensions to make your eyes pop. Whether you go bold or natural, you’ll love the fluttery feel-good factor.

DRAW & E AT Charcoal Art Club, Hackney

This is a supper club with a difference. Founded by East London food stylist and author Rosie Ramsden, it combines good food and life drawing in the cosy setting of Narroway Studios, Hackney. What better way to forget your to-do list and immerse yourself in a world of creative concentration. Follow @charcoalartclub on Instagram,

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N E W H A I R , N E W YO U The Painted Lady, Shoreditch

Some hairdressers just cut hair, but this boutique salon takes the time to re-style your hair to perfection. Their talented and experienced team are tuned into the latest trends and have a deep understanding of what works for each individual. (Top tip: if your veins look green you suit warmer shades, if they’re more blue/ purple, go for ash tones).

A C LO S E S H AV E U R B A N R E T R E AT York Hall Day Spa, Bethnal Green

Pampering yourself needn’t be a rare or extravagant treat – as proved by this awarding-winning day spa. With over 50 treatments available, including thermal spa therapies, body wraps and facials, it’s an affordable spot to enjoy alone time. Our favourite is the Wellbeing massage, guaranteed to give you that ‘ahhh’ feeling.

Murdock London, Shoreditch

Is there anything quite as indulgent as a traditional British wet shave? Much more than simply de-fuzzing the face, a proper shave is an investment in yourself. The expert barbers at Murdock fully appreciate this, so you can expect a memorable grooming experience – accompanied by whisky too! You’ll feel ready to conquer the world.

H OT A N D S W E ATY Fierce Grace Hot Yoga

Taking time to practice yoga is the ultimate act of love - for body, mind and soul. We love this revolutionary yoga practice that combines Hatha, Bikram and Ashtanga yoga with core strength and flexibility work. And, you don’t have to be a fully-fledged yogi – each class offers something different, but you’ll leave them all feeling really GOOD!

A Sparkling


Duncan O’Brien and Dan Broughton, the duo behind soda sensation Dalston’s, are at the forefront of a revolution. Lara Mills catches up with them to talk about sustainability, health-conscious cans of pop and how they’re restoring the fizz to the soft drinks market

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n the WeWork café at 33 Queen Street is a rainbow display “We wanted to go back to basics,” says Dan. “You can find of drink cans sitting bright and pretty. But it’s not just the cherryade across a number of shops but the problem is in its bold, designer branding that sets them apart from your synthetic taste; we source naturally sweet and sour cherries and usual drab vending-machine offerings, they also happen to combine them to make our ‘Cherryade’ one of our best-selling taste really great. soft drinks.” More than just a focus on the ingredients though, The creators of these joyful cans of pop are Dan and is a focus on their provenance, with each drink boasting its Duncan. Since launching in 2012 their East London-based own unique farm-to-can story. “We go through a long research drinks company has hogged prime fridge positions around E1 process to find the best suppliers from around the world for and beyond – and with good reason. “We all each flavour; our blackcurrants are grown and remember being kids and going mad over a pressed at Pixley Berries Farm in Herefordshire ‘IT’S THIS SENSE OF soft drink,” says Dan, “but because they were and our apple juice is from Nightingale Farm in NOSTALGIA, MIXED pumped full of sugar and chemicals - and with Kent. For our lemons we go a little further afield WITH A DESIRE TO many of us now being more health conscious to a fourth-generation business in Sicily.” CREATE A MORE the trend has turned more towards smoothies With Dalston’s ‘Cola’, ‘Cherryade’, ‘Orangeade’, and juices. It’s this sense of nostalgia, mixed ‘Elderflower’ and ‘Lemonade’ firm members HEALTH-FRIENDLY with a desire to create a more health-friendly of the family so far, Dan and Duncan have BEVERAGE, THAT beverage, that inspired Dalston’s.” just launched their new additions: ‘Fizzy INSPIRED DALSTON’S’ Blackcurrant’ and ‘Fizzy Rhubarb‘. Although The company, Duncan says, started small. He set out to create a natural cola which could their original soda range holds one third less be sold as a mixer at Passing Clouds – the beloved Dalston sugar than mainstream brands, they have also now brought nightclub which many credit with being the making of the area. out a ‘Soda Lights’ range featuring ‘Real Squeezed Elderflower’ And so, from Ridley Road Market, Duncan’s pokey East London and ‘Real Squeezed Rhubarb’. At only 20 calories per can, the flat and a brief for ‘natural cola’ made from kola nuts, turned out lighter range is crafted using real fruit and distilled botanicals. to be the key ingredients needed to mark the dawn of Dalston’s. “There’s a lot of hyperbole around sugar, which isn’t actually Dalston’s unique selling point remains, to this day, taking the problem, it’s the overconsumption of sugar. Dalston’s natural flavours and placing them at the heart of the recipe. allows people to be healthy but we’re not about extremes - ➠

Left, Duncan O’Brien and Dan Broughton, Dalston’s soda duo



Dan & Duncan’s EAST LONDON

JAGUAR SHOES 32-34 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DA DALSTON SUPERSTORE 117 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, E8 2PB FIXED COFFEE 161a Whitecross Street, EC1Y 8JL LANARK COFFEE 262 Hackney Road, London E2 7SJ CRATE BREWERY Unit 7, Queens Yard, Hackney Wick, E9 5EN

if you want a zero-calories drink, there’s in supermarkets as a way of reducing the always water!” amount of packaging waste.” ‘WE’VE BEEN With their wellbeing and taste credentials USING RECYCLABLE Despite huge success, the duo remain firmly established, the conversation moves on to humble. For Duncan, his proudest professional CARDBOARD Dalston’s eco-policy – particularly in an industry achievement doesn’t involve landing deals PACKAGING FOR with some of the UK’s largest retailers or which is so packaging and plastic orientated. “We’ve been using recyclable cardboard packaging 10 YEARS - BEFORE getting to travel the world for work: “I have for 10 years - before it was cool! And we’re forever never been more chuffed than when I went IT WAS COOL!’ evolving our sustainability practices”. The next into Jaguar Shoes pub in Dalston and found big step for Dalston’s, Duncan goes on to say, is to Dalston’s stocked behind the bar! It’s an properly calculate the business’s carbon footprint, with an aim to institution and one which I have spent a LOT of time in over the be carbon neutral over the next five years or so. With the dawn last 15 years, so it was the most surreal and special moment when of reusable coffee cups, paper straws and refill supermarkets, I saw our cans there.” East London really is ingrained in the DNA particularly within East London, Dan and Duncan are delighted to of the business, and both men are keen to carry on increasing be part of it all. “There’s been such a broad movement within the their presence in the area. “I’d love Dalston’s to be in Oval drinks industry to cut down plastic and there was unprecedented Space, Cambridge Heath – it’s probably got the best night out in action across many businesses, governments and consumers East London,” says Duncan. “We’d also like to get more involved to reduce waste in the last year. We work with ‘A Plastic Planet’, with mixology. It would be really cool to work with the East which is a fantastic campaign trying to promote plastic-free aisles London Liquor Company or the mixologists of Satan’s Whiskers in Cambridge Heath.” But more than producing delicious drinks in a sustainable fashion for East London and beyond, Duncan and Dan also want to make a difference within the community they know and love so well. “We have worked very closely with Hackney Council on a project called ‘Hackney 100’, which aims to get young people into paid work placements in order to bring about confidence and communication skills. It’s a fantastic project and we’d really encourage other business operators to get involved with it.” Indeed, it seems Dalston’s is offering a refreshing take on taste, health and social responsibility with every can. B



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STORIES behind things Long-time best friends Jemma Finch and Ella Grace Denton are on a mission: to empower people to shop more consciously, one item of clothing at a time. Editor Emma Winterschladen caught up with Jemma to talk ethical consuming, clothes swapping and the future of fashion



tories are powerful things,” Jemma says, referring to a charm bracelet her late grandmother gave her. “She collected charms for me as I was growing up, and each charm is part of a fairytale story. Wearing it makes me feel so connected to her, and also reminds me why we do what we do: to reconnect people to the things they wear and buy.” Growing up together in London, Ella Grace Denton and Jemma Finch shared a love of creativity and a curiosity for the world around them. But it wasn’t until they attended Leeds University together that a shared love of clothes and story-telling turned into the beginnings of their business: Stories Behind Things. “We both struggled with our mental health during our time at university - that fast pace of living and overconsumption didn’t sit right with us”. Ella and Jemma found themselves turning away from mindless spending and towards vintage and secondhand shopping – as well as mending their own clothes. “We both wanted to rethink what we were inviting into our lives, and we started an Instagram account to tell stories behind singular items of clothing we owned. It was a way of connecting with and celebrating them.” They obviously hit a chord. From there, Ella and Jemma’s online community grew, with people commenting, tagging and sharing stories about their own special items of clothing. “We all have that jacket that makes us feel empowered, or a dress that makes us feel fabulous, and it’s easy to buy clothes for the sake of buying, without taking the time to think about what you want to wear, and why.” Soon, their passion project grew into a business – one Jemma ➠




we could also share sustainable brands and create meaningful, real-life connections.” Jemma and Ella do this by hosting coffee mornings, panel talks and their ever-popular Big Clothes Switches. “Once we realised that people statistically don’t wear at least 50 per cent of their wardrobe, we knew there was an opportunity. We hosted our first Big Clothes Switch in a Hackney warehouse and says they’re still working out: “We didn’t plan for Stories Behind had over 200 people turn up, with bags and bags of clothes. Things to become our jobs, but we found there is a real community We were left with a sea of white t-shirts!” The event has since of people out there who want to shop for and wear clothes more evolved so that people buying a ticket can bring up to five high consciously.” And, it’s not just about wearing clothes you love, says quality items, and then use tokens to ‘buy’ Jemma. “It’s also essential to us that the clothes others’ clothes. “The kind of quality pieces we wear aren’t feeding ‘fast fashion”. We’re both Jemma & Ella’s we get in is crazy. The amount of Burberry big believers in not only quality over quantity, EAST LONDON trenches and luxury knitwear I’ve had come but also making sure clothes are sustainable through is amazing.” whether that’s buying from a trust-worthy, ethical SEARCH AND DESTROY Cheshire St, E2 6EH Why does she think they’re so popular? brand or shopping second-hand”. “The joy you get from discovering and HOUSE OF VINTAGE acquiring a preloved item of clothing is much ART OF CONNECTION 4 Cheshire St, E2 6EH better than the cheap thrill of rushing into a So how do they get their message out there? high street shop and picking up a sparkly top Social media can be a saturated, noisy landscape, BEYOND RETRO for the weekend!” Giving away clothes in a with many voices shouting to be heard and photos 110-112 Cheshire St, E2 6EJ meaningful way is cathartic too. “We forget begging to be liked. “It’s really important that how emotionally connected we can become we can take our community offline.” It’s in this CANVAS CAFE to our clothes - we literally hang memories off way that growing their @StoriesBehindThings 42 Hanbury St, E1 5JL them. But sometimes clothes we once loved Instagram account to more than 17k followers KAHALIA CAFE simply don’t serve us anymore, and knowing has been the facilitator, rather than the end goal. 135 Brick Ln, E1 6SB they’re going to a good home can make “We wanted to create a safe space online where saying goodbye to them a little easier.” people could come to feel inspired, and where 24 B E A S T

Stories Behind Things’


…for conscious consuming

ECO EDUCATION Beyond swapping clothes, Jemma and Ella want to champion local and artisan makers. “We have a market area selling independent brands. For us, it’s all part of the solution – moving people away from vast online shops and instead introducing them to brands that have sustainability in their DNA.” It’s in this way that Jemma and Ella want Stories Behind Things to become a trusted, educational platform. “Each week we do a SNEWS (Sustainability News) round-up with environmentally-focused fashion stories from the week.” Jemma goes on to talk about the ‘greenwashing’ problem in the fashion and retail industry. “There’s no denying it: sustainability is a trend. And that means big brands are picking up on key words and are trying to sell their products through those words. As consumers we have to be careful as there can be a real lack of accountability and transparency. We hope to shed light on that.”

START SMALL So what can we do as individuals? For Jemma, it’s all about the everyday acts that build up to big change. “The world is so small and connected now, and we’re constantly exposed to news about the issues facing the environment. But we can all make micro-changes, and hopefully our events and platform can offer real, accessible solutions. We also have an exciting plastic-free project in the pipeline which we hope will offer another step in the right direction.” Jemma and Ella are certainly living up to their brand’s philosophy “to excite, empower and educate people on how to live consciously and sustainably”. But what about Jemma’s personal philosophy? “I believe the clothes you put on your body should reflect you, your values and the messages you want to put out into the world. Imagine if you got dressed every day, even if you’re just popping to the shops, with things that you derive real pleasure and meaning from, as well as knowing that you’re contributing to the health of the planet?” She’s right: you simply don’t get that from a dash-and-buy high street top, no matter how sparkly. B


GET THRIFTY “Take an afternoon to browse in your local charity shops. That feeling when you find something that really connects with you is better than anything you’ll feel in a high street shop.


MEND YOUR CLOTHES “Really looking after what you do have – and taking time to fix it if it’s broken – is good for the mind, soul and planet! It’s a change in mindset from simply buying something new.”


LESS IS MORE “It’s better to have one expensive jacket than 10 cheap ones. I think of the cost of clothes in terms of how many times you’re going to wear them.”


ATTEND A CLOTHES SWITCH “A shameless promotion here, but our clothes switches are a brilliant way to meaningfully acquire new clothes and get rid of clothes that don’t serve you.”


BUY SUSTAINABLE BRANDS “Look for credible sustainability policies. We love BUG clothing, who use off-cuts from luxury fashion brands’ ‘waste’.” BEAST



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Plant power Vegetables are having their moment, and this plant-based chef is paving the way forward - one recipe at a time. Editor Emma Winterschladen chatted to Bettina Campolucci Bordi about the rise of the veggiecurious, cooking for self-care and her quest for the best veggie burger in East London‌



One-pot Curry in a Hurry Curries are great when cooked in bigger batches – often they taste even better the next day because the flavours have had a chance to marry.

Serves 2 l



ettina Campolucci had a rich and varied culinary childhood. Born to a Norwegian dad and BulgarianDanish mum, and raised in East Africa and Sweden, she grew up frequenting food markets and designing menus for her parents’ dinner parties. “My family was always following around good food; when we’d go on holidays, it was about what we ate, not what we saw! At home, we’d have weekly competitions to see who could create the most delicious food on a budget.” It’s a love that has followed Bettina into adulthood. “Cooking is the only thing I think I’ve always been really good at – it’s a set of skills I’ve nurtured and carried with me throughout my life.” And it’s one that’s served her well too. Today, Bettina is at the forefront of the plant-based cooking revolution, with over 114k followers on Instagram, and a budding business – recipe developing for brands and hosting retreats globally. She’s also author of Happy Food – a testament to her approach to cooking. “I want my food to be joyful and not restrictive. I started my retreats seven years ago at a time when juice cleansing was all the rage, but I was adamant I didn’t want people to starve - instead I wanted to teach them to cook food that’s nutritious but also delicious.” Which is exactly what she’s since made a successful career out of doing. We meet ahead of Bettina’s ‘cheese and wine’ workshop at Plant Hub – the new veg-centric cafe, community and cookery school on Mare Street, Hackney. “A lot ‘I WANTED of my work is in-person TO TEACH THEM educational workshops. TO COOK It’s really important for me to take it offline FOOD THAT’S too and show how easy NUTRITIOUS BUT it is to cook this food ALSO DELICIOUS’ from scratch.” ➠

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2 tbsp olive oil 1 shallot, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped 1 tbsp good-quality yellow curry spice mix, plus more if required 1 carrot, chopped into small pieces ½ aubergine (eggplant), chopped into small pieces 1 potato, chopped into small pieces 45g dried red lentils 400ml coconut milk 1 tbsp peanut butter Big handful of spinach Big bunch of basil Salt and pepper, to taste

TO SERVE Pomegranate seeds Chopped peanuts Squeeze of lime Coriander leaves Edible flowers (optional) l





Batch cookable, freezable, lasts for 5+ days in the fridge. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil and gently fry the shallot and garlic until transparent. Then add the curry spice mix, carrot, aubergine and potato and fry for another five minutes. Stir in the lentils followed by the coconut milk and simmer over low heat, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove the lid, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt or more spice mix, add a dollop of peanut butter and stir in a handful of spinach and basil. I also love to scatter over pomegranate seeds and peanuts for extra crunch and give it a final squeeze of lime to cut through the creaminess of the curry, then throw over a few coriander leaves and edible flowers, to add some colour. Serve as it is or with some steamed rice, quinoa or buckwheat on the side.



The food she’s referring to is DARK ARTS CAFE unequivocally good for the mind, body This is a secret that’s no longer a and soul: think bountiful platefuls of secret! They do the best brunch vibrant vegetables, hearty stews and and gluten-free, vegan brownies. colourful curries – each a confident mix Arch 216, of the cuisines and textures of her travels. 27A Ponsford St, E9 6JU Her food is also solely vegan and gluten-free. “It’s not about the labels THE SPREAD EAGLE for me. I’m not interested in selling A 100% vegan pub on Hackney the vegan lifestyle, I’d rather inspire with a lovely atmosphere and they through food. I was a hardcore vegan serve Club Mexicana food too. for over four years but ultimately it I love it for a cosy weekend spot. just didn’t fit my health and lifestyle. 224 Homerton High Street, Actually, when you’re travelling it E9 6AS can be more dangerous to eat salad than fish!” CUB Recipes from Happy Food by Bettina It’s this intuitive, no-preach approach Slightly off the beaten track in Campolucci Bordi (Hardie Grant, £20) Hoxton. Their sustainable to eating which can feel, in a world of Photography © Nassima Rothacker tasting menu is plant-based and ‘eat this, not that’ dogma, thoroughly uses lots of food scraps. They refreshing. “I see cooking good food support East London produce as an act of self-care, and one people the past five years but the last year and artisans too. can often feel too busy to do. Or they especially, the food landscape has 153 Hoxton Street, N1 6PJ worry too much about caloriechanged dramatically. People are asking counting, carbs and fat – but I think if more questions about the food they eat we focus on nourishing ourselves with including where it comes from and how food that we actually want to eat, then we will always be it got to their plate. In my personal circles and wider, there much healthier – and happier!” She also doesn’t deny the does seem to be an increased appetite in eating more pros of a predominately plant-based diet. “You can’t deny plants and less meat.” the fact we have to decrease our animal consumption. For those of us who are indeed interested in embracing It’s a no brainer from all angles and anybody who says a more planet-friendly plant life, Bettina’s advice is thus: “if we can continue on the way we are is wrong. We can’t, you do want to try out veganism or even just cut down on and people are waking up to that - whether it’s through meat then go basic. I’m always wary of expensive, heavily a sense of responsibility for the health of the planet or marketed green powders and fancy tinctures. Try and buy their own personal health.” seasonal if you can, cook from scratch and experiment with So has she seen a change in people’s attitudes to different vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, grains and pulses. food since she started cooking professionally then? Jackfruit is a good substitute for meat too – and readily “Yes! There does feel a real change in the air. Over available now in the UK.” As for the foodie scene in East London? “Oh, I love it here – it’s full of brilliant people and places to eat and spend time. I’m actually just off to try out Gizzie Erskine’s IT’S THIS INTUITIVE, NO-PREACH new veggie burger at FILTH in Shoreditch. I’m on a mission APPROACH TO EATING WHICH to try and find the best veggie burgers, so please send any recommendations my way…” CAN FEEL, IN A WORLD OF Keep up to date with Bettina over in Instagram ‘EAT THIS, NOT THAT’ DOGMA, @bettinas_kitchen and


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EAT THE WORLD THE ETHICAL WAY. vegan and vegetarian recipes that celebrate fresh, seasonal produce.

BUY DIGITAL AND PRINT COPIES AT CASEYJOYLISTER.COM \\check out @pinch_dash_glug for more

Happy, Healthy, Fit & Strong GYMBIA.COM Above White Post Café Schwartz Wharf Hackney Wick 0203 984 2785



Jenna and Patrick, founders of independent estate agency EastHaus, delve into the history of the area and share with us some of its best kept secrets


idden garden squares, secluded mews and some of the finest dining in the capital, you may be surprised to hear we’re talking about Bethnal Green. But away from its market mayhem, narrow back streets and famous pie and mash shops, there is even more to it than first meets the eye. Bethnal Green has been through a lot in its time; it has been hugely affluent and also one of the poorest slums in London, and home to some of the most famous people in history – from gangsters to boxers to film stars, it has been and continues to be one of the most diverse and accepting communities in the capital. Sadly, Bethnal Green was badly bombed during the Second World War which wiped out much of its original architecture, however, look hard enough and you will still find some evidence of its earlier beginnings. Look out for the impressive Netteswell House, on Victoria Park Gardens, said to be the oldest house in Bethnal Green and dating back to the 16th century. Try and spot the iron railings and lion statues outside Columbia Market Nursery School, the last remains of the huge gothic pile that was the original Columbia Road covered market hall built in 1868. The neighbourhood’s original centre was focussed around Bethnal Green Gardens – or Barmy Park as locals used to refer to it on account of an asylum for mentally ill men (now restored as Bethnal Green Library), situated on the north-east side of the park. Many of its historically important buildings remain there today including the fascinating V&A Museum of Childhood, the beautiful Grade I Listed St John on Bethnal Green designed by Sir John Soane, York Hall – often referred to as the home of British Boxing with its restored pool and underground bath-house

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complex and Bethnal Green Town Hall – now the Town Hall Hotel. One of our best loved spots is tucked away behind Museum Gardens on the north side of Roman Road. A shortcut via the wonderfully named Sugarloaf Walk, takes you out onto Globe Road where two of our favourite locals conveniently sit almost side by side, The Florist and The Camel. Just beyond here is Peary Place, one of East London’s last remaining laneways. The mews was originally built to stable horses for the trams, and from the 1930s up until the 1960s Number 1a housed the last remaining working dairies in London. But here’s the really special part, walk down Peary Place and you can still notice the original guard stones that line the mews, particularly the gold one outside No. 5. The original stone was removed when an old telephone pole was

The gold guard stone outside 5 Peary Place. 5 Peary Place is available for sale through Easthaus

Jenna & Patrick’s

BETHNAL GREEN’S HIDDEN GEMS SUN TAVERN An old Victorian pub with speakeasy twist. The drinks menu is a mix of old and new with a great selection of local ales and some punchy cocktails. You’ll often find us here after work on a Friday.

City View House converted bakery factory. Below: The Camel pub & the V & A Museum of Childhood

relocated. Its replacement wasn’t quite attractive, so the owner had it covered in gold leaf. It has now become something of an urban legend with local children believing if they touch it, all their wishes will come true. There are also a number of buildings in Bethnal Green that may not be quite as they seem from the outside. The old fire station on Roman Road is actually home to The London Buddhist Centre and Oxford House – an unassuming Grade II listed building overlooking Derbyshire Street Pocket Park and Weavers Fields – opened in 1884 as the very first “settlement house”. It’s here that students and graduates from Keble College, Oxford, volunteered to learn first-hand about the realities of urban poverty. Their community work continues today and they now operate as a multi-purpose arts centre and affordable office space for small community and charities. Finally, evidence from Bethnal Green’s industrial past and present warehouses and factories has now been transformed into stylish apartments and workspaces.You’ve probably walked past City View Apartments, a former biscuit factory on Bethnal Green Road without noticing it amongst the eclectic shop fronts. We love Bethnal Green for its vibrance and bustle, its wonderful street markets and its beautiful parks but we also love that it continues to surprise us every day as new places pop up and new titbits of history are uncovered. So next time you visit, don’t take your usual route, go off the beaten track a little and see what you can discover. B To find out more about EastHaus and their properties, head to and @easthauslondon

BETHNAL GREEN WORKING MEN’S CLUB Not your average Working Men’s Club! Think live music, comedy, burlesque and cocktails. RENEGADE LONDON WINE An urban winery hidden away under the arches in Bethnal Green. Order online or pop into their winery taproom bar and sample some of the fab wines they have to offer. We recommend the Bethnal Bubbles, obvs. ROCHELLE CANTEEN Exceptional British cuisine run by Melanie Arnold & Margot Henderson. Hidden away in the converted bike shed of the old Rochelle School with a beautiful secret garden, perfect for summer days. THE WATERHOUSE PROJECT A fantastic supper club and private dining experience hosted by Gabriel Waterhouse formerly of 1 Michelin starred Galvin La Chapelle and three times Michelin starred chef Herber Berger at Innholders Hall.


Best Kept Secret CALVERT AVENUE This quiet tree-lined street adjoining Arnold Circus reminds us of New York’s West Village. The street is brimming with independent retailers selling everything from clothing and coffee to homeware and jewellery, it’s a shopaholics paradise.



Zero-Waste Starter Kit Wearth London, £55

YKRA Sailor Pack Nook Shop, £75 153 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 0UH

500ml Copper Cobra Life Collection Vacuum Insulated Thermal Bottle One Green Bottle £18,

Onsen Soy Wax Candle Earl of East, £20 (170ml)

London Brick Soap, brick sixty, £7.50 available at

A&A Illustrated Tote Bag Artisans and Adventurers, £12 146 Columbia Rd, E2 7RG

Handcrafted Stoneware Mug Edge & Company, £18

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The Blackened Pendant Nove Lighting, £134

HK Living Medium Reclaimed Teak Breadboard Darling and Gold, £30.00

Icelandic Moss Salt Scrub + Seaweed Bath Salt Set Angan, £24, available from Still London, 450 Kingsland Road, E8 4AE

Everlasting Bouquet by Me & My Bloomers, Items of Note, £38


Fill your hessian shopping bag with our pick of planet-friendly wares and wonders BEAST


More than a


How did Gymbia evolve to the charity gym that you are today? JESS: A few years ago I was a mechanical engineer in Bristol, but was off work with anxiety and depression. The gym was the only place I felt I could focus and I was in there sometimes twice a day. During this time my trainer was raising money to increase awareness about infant mortality in Gambia as two of his friends lost babies there within a day of each other. I started doing events like half marathons and an iron man triathlon to raise money to provide medical supplies and simple things like mosquito nets and other items that were in short supply. The Ironman in particular stood out as the best day of my life. It was 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112-mile cycle ride and

a marathon at the end. It was a great feeling doing myself some good and raising money for such a great cause at the same time and that day signalled recovery for me, mentally. I barely knew how to swim beforehand! I raised a few thousand pounds which inspired me to go on and do more – I did the Burning Man marathon in the Nevada desert, which was crazy as 18 miles into the run, there were guys at the side giving us shots of whiskey. With the money raised I bought medical supplies and went to visit Gambia. Before going out there it didn’t necessarily feel like my cause, I was more helping out some guys with their thing but after visiting myself, something big shifted inside me. Speaking to people and hearing their stories was at times heartbreaking.

What difference has Gymbia made out there so far? JESS: With the money we raise through Gymbia we have pledged to build a maternal clinic in the village of Aljamdu. There are a hundred or so people there who are so welcoming and full of joy, happiness and gratitude for our help it is unbelievable. The gym is the vehicle that drives the charity forward and there are a few main things that we are looking to take with us. The top priority is to bring sterilisation to the 36 B E A S T

entire country (which is a huge problem out there) and we’re working alongside another charity, Med Aid International to help us source essential medical equipment. The country is smaller than you think; it’s about fifty miles by two hundred and fifty miles and inhabits around two million people. When you consider there is eleven million in London alone, it is very easy to make a tangible difference. Hopefully with the success of our model in Gambia, it will then be used throughout Africa. We were out there in January this year and people were incredibly heartwarming. To realise the impact of what we are doing is great and we want to continue to make a difference.


Gymbia is a Hackney-based gym with a difference – and a purpose: to improve infant mortality rates and provide medical supplies across Gambia, Africa. BEAST spoke to founder Jess Farmer and fitness coach Alex Oliver to learn more...


Do all of the trainers bring something different to the overall feel of the programme? JESS: We all have totally different skill-sets. My speciality is rehabilitation and I work with a lot of people who have back pain, helping injuries like herniated discs and runners who have be hurt training for marathons. We have two Alex’s. One used to be in the Colombian Army making obstacle courses for the team before leaving to become a dancer for ten years, so he’s got this amazing fusion between the two extremes and creates these incredibly expansive classes. The other Alex has a background in martial arts. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Brazil learning Brazilian Jujitsu as

I’ve always been interested in the art of grappling and spent time honing the craft. ALEX: When it comes to functional fitness, I try to have a very naturalistic approach involving as much movement as possible, rather than your traditional chest, arms and legs days you mind find elsewhere.

can come, train, socialise and make friends. The other aspect is the level of training we are able to provide. We’re not just PT’s – we’re somewhere between personal training, physiotherapy, osteopathy, sports conditioning with some nutritional coaching in there as well.

What can a member expect from joining Gymbia?

Do you have a few basic life hacks that people can easily change or bring in to effect?

The charity underpins everything, so by coming here you’re helping a very good cause. We’ve maintained a really strong community feel, a warm inviting space where everyone knows each other. London can be quite a lonely place at times so we have tried to create a beacon where people

ALEX: It’s the free things. Breathing optimally, sleeping more and drinking more water. If you can increase those three things I believe it will enable you to live in harmony to whatever your dream is. B BEAST



ANGELS Where did VC London begin and how has it grown? We met in 2014 after Namin Cho and I worked together in fashion. We then met Maite Storni at a motorcycle event and taught her to ride. It’s grown organically over the last four years; from a few friends riding and wrenching together in a back-street garage to large-scale events, meet-ups, classes and workshops.

You have a huge Instagram following – how have you utilised technology and social media to grow the collective? It was kind of accidental! We started an Instagram account to reach out to other women, asking if they wanted to ride and we were inundated with messages. We’ve given over 400 women

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Introducing VC: East London’s women’s bike collective – bringing empowerment and inclusivity to the motorcycle community. We caught up with co-founder Gemma Harrison

in something they’ve always wanted to do and for them to see others doing it means that it becomes the norm.

Buying a motorbike is a huge investment – are there ways to make riding accessible to those from all backgrounds? I won’t lie, motorcycles aren’t cheap! Learning on a small bike and getting your CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) is a great way to start out without costing you crazy amounts of money. There are lots of reasonably-priced, small, old bikes and they’re also a great way to learn about mechanics as they are pretty simple. their first go on a motorcycle as part of our free lessons and we’ve used technology to cultivate a community and translate social media into real-life experiences and events.

Have you faced any adversity or prejudice as an all-women group? We’ve actually come across very few instances of prejudice towards what we do. The motorcycle community is great to be involved in, no matter whether that’s with custom bikes, dirt biking or racing.

Are there any biker stereotypes that you’re keen to dispel? Motorcycles can be for anyone. A lot of women get in touch thinking that they’re too short or too small to be able to ride. This isn’t the case – there’s a bike out there for everyone – you’ve just got to find it.

Tell us about your first biking experiences…

Tell us more about the camps and workshops you run. Our main event is ‘Camp VC’, which is a three-day women-only festival in the Brecon Beacons. Women come to learn to ride, go dirt biking and try climbing and skateboarding. They also listen to talks from inspiring female athletes and adventurers, and party! This year it’s running from 2nd - 4th August. We also do free live VC Team Talks where we speak to incredible women with extraordinary stories. Past speakers include pioneering Moto adventurer Elspeth Beard.

What are the core principles of the collective? Get out there and do what you’ve always wanted to do! Get dirty, mess your hair up, fall off stuff and do it with a massive smile on your face.

What are your plans for developing VC London in 2019? This year is looking really exciting with new projects and more events. We’ve always said that we’d stop VC if it ever stopped being fun - it doesn’t look like we’ll be stopping anytime soon. B VC London are ambassadors for the new Huawei Mate20 lite, @vc_london

Oh, horrible! I was a latecomer to motorcycles (I started to ride aged 26) and I learned with my husband in a supermarket car park. I had a really hard time getting to grips with it but four years later I’ve ridden all over the world, own more motorcycles than I probably should, and have ridden and raced with some of my heroes.

How do you encourage women to try activities that are conventionally male-dominated? I think women have a rapidly changing attitude to a lot of activities, careers and worlds. Visibility and accessibility are the key to addressing the lack of women represented in any space. Creating more opportunities for women to start out




From small plates to big pizzas, innovative tasting menus to veg-centric feasts, we’ve been eating our way around East London’s finest establishments so you can too


somewhere not long opened, it’s managed to quickly establish a distinct feeling of a treatyourself local. “I eat antipasta twice, just because she is so The menu is engineered to surprise and nice; Angelina….” And so goes the honeyed delight. Eclectic, ambitious dishes make up a lyrics of famous Jazz singer and composer five-plate tasting menu, priced at £38. Flavours Louis Prima’s 1946 song. Seven decades and culinary traditions are thoughtfully bound on, the ‘waitress at the pizzeria’ is now the together. Think unagi (freshwater eel) risotto, namesake of one of East London’s coolest new with burnt soy butter and dashi: a perfect establishments. marriage of Italian richness and Japanese Since opening only a few months ago, this umami. And the deep pink, juicy beef onglet family-run restaurant has been wooing both equally pleased, served as it was over soy and the foodie crowd and locals with its innovative sesame-glazed radicchio. The meal ended with Japanese-Italian fusion. Owner Joshua a black sesame panna cotta and milk chocolate Owens-Baigle, who trained at the cream; naughty and nutty, it was a FLAVOURS River Café, along with his head sweet celebration of both cuisine’s chef Daniele Ceforo (previously AND CULINARY dessert traditions. of Soho’s Bocca di Lupo), have As for the drink, Owens-Baigler’s TRADITIONS ARE woven together Eastern and artfully curated wine pairing is a THOUGHTFULLY Western fare, successfully noble addition to the evening. But BOUND showcasing the regional, seasonal if you’re after some cheekier afterTOGETHER best of both cuisines. dinner drinks then head to Golden The vibe is cool west village New York meets Gia, Angelina’s in-house clandestine drink den. modern neighbourhood trattoria. The space An ode to Tokyo’s high-rise district, with its is shallow and small, framed by vast windows network of hidden bars, this intimate saloon and decorated simply with large fig trees and has only six seats and a strict no-phone policy. mellow, lanterned lighting. The 80’s disco We found ourselves nestled close, sipping in tunes that dance through the air manage every moment of our cocktails. Of particular to add a certain unaffected warmth to what note was the tongue-tingling ‘Can’t Believe It’s could otherwise be an overtly hipster affair. Not Pepper’ - a fiery relative of the humble G&T, Strangers sit happily side by side at the bar, made with Japanese sansho pepper. A spicy, eyes on the kitchen, others at marble tables - all spirited end to a taste-expanding evening. surrounded by familiar chatter. It’s clear that for 56 DALSTON LANE, E8 3AH

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We think you have to be careful who you share tapas with. Some people just don’t eat at an appropriate pace to make tapas an egalitarian or dignified experience. Liban Tapas is the sort of place where everything tastes so good that you probably want to go with your most generous and well-mannered friends. I went with my husband. Bad call. The decor in Liban Tapas is clean, modern and funky with a middle eastern vibe flowing through its four different seating areas - the restaurant, The Souk, The Sun Room and the Parisian Terrace. The restaurant is furnished with cosy teal booths and benches, with carefully chosen lighting and music providing a bright and lively feel. Our table was packed with plates of hummus, babaganoush, falafel and fattoush. After carefully dividing the portions between us (top tip), we were free to enjoy the variety of flavours and textures on offer without worrying about getting short-changed. The falafel was crispy and crumbly. The fattoush salad was fresh and zingy and all the flavours combined together wonderfully. The Motabaal and the hummus were both smooth and distinctive. The mixed grill: kafta, lamb meshawi and shish taouk were succulently soft and perfectly seasoned. I would normally worry that a mixed grill would see me faced with a veritable meat mountain to tackle, but here the portions are just the right size to allow you to enjoy every bite. My Irish husband was even more delighted when he discovered an aioli-laden spud hiding in the side salad. I decided it wouldn’t be fair to share that one. Next we were served with with some mint tea and Lebanese sweets, which, I’ve decided, is probably the best way to top off any evening. The dessert menu however was too tempting and we did enjoy a milk pudding with rosewater (Mohlabia). Overall, the food at Liban is fresh, well presented and tasty, and the service is friendly and efficient. Check the prices online before you go - Lebanese cuisine of this quality is a bit more pricey than your central London street food stall, but the food is in a different class.

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When someone mentions not just the greatest chicken wings in East London, but in the whole of the UK, we sit up and listen. Randy’s Wing Bar started out as a pop-up street food idea. It was inspired by travels to the US and recipes from China, Korea and Vietnam, as well as the traditional Buffalo and North American-style wings. Brainchild of Richard and Andy… ‘Randy’s’ has been a huge success, so we popped down to Hackney Wick to see what all the fuss was about. Its industrial interior coupled with casual dining makes for a relaxed experience. We started with the Casablanca Wings; harissa infused, slow cooked with sumac onions, honey, pomegranate seeds and the Gong Bao wings; crispy fried with a pickled pineapple, coriander and Sichuan pepper sauce, alongside loaded fries with bacon salt. The jumbo roll of kitchen towel proved this would be no easy feat, but a challenge we accepted. And the wings truly lived up to expectation. They were so delicious it showed all over our face, and hands. We can highly recommend a visit, just perhaps not on a first date! Fill your boots at Randy’s ‘All You Can Eat Mondays’ or ‘Bottomless Beer and Buffalo Wings Saturdays and Sundays’ and, if you’re still not satisfied, watch out for The London Wing Fest, held every summer at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and founded by Randy’s owners, of course.


After occupying a rainy Friday evening with a few well-earned tipples in a local East End boozer, what could be more appealing than a freshly baked pizza?! And so we made our way towards Netil Lane, where we were greeted by the warming waft of stone-baked dough (surely a worthy candle scent). Death by Pizza, the ‘evil sister’ of Camden’s Young Vegan pie shop, turned out to be the owners of said warming wafts. This 100% vegan pizzeria resides in a ‘pizza hut’ in Hackney’s Netil Market and offers a devilish selection of plant-based, hand-stretched pizzas. We ogle their menu and eventually go for Blood Drive – marinara sauce, kalamata olives, samphire, capers, basil – and the Filthy Weekend, a naughty take on the contentious Hawaii (sorry not sorry), with ‘mock meat’ ham and pineapple, vegan

mozzarella, marinara sauce, and spring onions. They have gone to extreme lengths to ensure all their vegan-alts are as good as – no, better – than their animal-derived originals: mozzarella is made from coconut and soy, ricotta crafted from tofu and ham from homemade smoky seitan (wheat). Each ingredient is, in fact, totally moreish in its own right, and comes with that added sense of satisfaction that they’re also planet-friendly too. The pizzas themselves are all sloppy toppings and crispy, chewy crusts - a happy marriage of textures and tastes. Not only that, but each piece of packaging used by Death By Pizza is recyclable and no electric power is used during the cooking process – everything comes to life in a wood-fired oven (which uses FSC wood from a sustainable European forest). It’s official: these young vegans are killing the pizza game without killing the planet - winner winner vegan dinner. BEAST




Located on the periphery of Spitalfields market, Bottles infuses its East London setting with a Mediterranean air - the perfect place to sit and watch the world. Already bustling with the prospect of Saturday brunch, Bottles promises to kick the weekend off with good food and sublime wine. Guided by the expertise of remarkable waiters we navigated our way through the immense choice of eclectic, handpicked Italian and world wines which we learn are as sustainable and biodynamic as they are delicious! We opted for Prosecco to start - a fine flute of the unfiltered ‘Malibran “Sottoriva” Col Fondo’ produced in the Veneto, north eastern Italy. Having conquered aperitifs, the arrival of the SOOD Kitchen menu proved that food is to be taken as seriously as wine here. Grounded in the seasons, the brunch and main menus appeared both humble and exotic. Complemented by Italian cured pork ‘guanciale’, mozzarella, roast garlic and chilli mayo the modest ‘fried egg sandwich’ oozed with gourmet gumption whilst the ‘eggs royale’ mixed smashed avocado with a twist of orange and seaweed hollandaise. Having supped a complimentary glass of crisp Australian Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and a full-bodied Chianti, we left feeling nothing but sunny side [full] up.

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You’ll find plenty of excellent eateries around Smithfield market and this Italian wine bar and restaurant is no exception. With a history of wine-making stretching back over 100 years, Rabezanna Vini are Italian wine producers from the Piedmont region in Italy. Their wine list, consisting of more than 150 Italian wines and all served by knowledgeable sommeliers, sits proudly alongside an authentic and sophisticated menu, created by talented Executive Chef, Federico Casali. Based around regional dishes – from small plate tapas to more hearty, traditional fare (including, of course, pasta!) – the menu uses ingredients sourced from small Italian independent farms and artisanal producers, as well as top UK suppliers. We put our meal entirely in the hands of our friendly Italian waiter, who expertly paired each dish with complimentary wines. A glass of well-balanced medium dry Venturini

Baldini sparkling wine settled us in for a gastronomic feast. We started with a special of the day; battered baccala (salt cod) with punterelle (Italian chicory) and anchovy dressing, accompanied by a glass of fruity Fondatori GP’ Albana Secco 2016, Merlotta. Delicate, crispy and perfectly-cooked fish, served on a bed of slightly crunchy punterelle - officially my new favourite vegetable. This dish came alongside Egg 63 (an egg slow-cooked to 63 degrees) and served with Parmiagiano fondue and fresh truffle. My partner opted for Tonnarelli (spaghetti) with lime butter, red mullet and pistachio pesto – a fresh, moreish twist on classic spaghetti pesto! The organic Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2015, Massimo Rivetti was paired to perfection with another daily special; Squid fake spaghetti – a delicious and carefully crafted spaghetti made from squid with enough texture to soak up the accompanying ingredients. A velvetsmooth Barolo Prunotto 2013 went down very well with the rich and succulent Braised ox cheeks with black cabbage and chestnuts. We were sitting, our bellies happy, thinking how spoilt we’d been, when a Panna cotta served with a red wine reduction and grape chutney arrived. It was everything you want from a dessert - sweet, delicate, palate cleansing and a bit naughty, accompanied perfectly by a glass of sweet and smooth Passito delle Venezie 2016. Our meal had been a taste of real Italy; a celebration of fresh ingredients cooked in exquisite simplicity. Start to work your way through Enoteca’s dishes with their set lunch menu; starter, main and glass of wine for only £20.


Their name derives from Japanese medical tradition, referring to the energetic centre of the body. It’s apt then that this not-longopened holistic cafe should have community spirit, sustainability and homemade, delicious food at its heart. And in an increasingly noisy cafe culture, owners Kiara and Tess, who made the jump from pop up to permanent café in 2018 (renovating the whole place themselves from videos on Youtube no less), seem to be doing something right. With mismatched tables, plants abounding and homemade ferments and pickles on display, it feels every part IF EVER A the cosy local. We almost MEAT-EATER immediately got chatting NEEDED WOOING to Kiara about her various OVER TO THE fermentation projects, VEGGIE-SIDE OF LIFE, from the vat of beet, THIS IS THE DISH apple and ginger kvass (a TO DO IT Russian drink usually made with rye bread) to their hibiscus and pear water kefir. Intrigued, I tried the latter, which was delivered chilled to the table in a miniature corked bottle. So far, so good. The cafe draws a regular, eclectic crowd – from mums to students, freelancers to locals – and it’s easy to see why they keep coming back. There’s a warmth and familiarity in the air, not to mention the smell of good food. Head chef Tess has worked at restaurants such as Zetter and Sketch, and has now turned her focus to sustainable, seasonal cooking – what Hara is all about. I started with some perfectly poached eggs – eggs so fresh, they sell them too! It was topped with pumpkin puree, wilted spinach, garlic yogurt, chilli butter and dukkha served with flatbread for dipping. Rich, satisfying and full of goodness, it’s brunch elevated to wholesome heights. Then came the roasted

Romanesco on sourdough toast with cannellini beans, cauliflower and monk’s beard – a relatively unknown Mediterranean green, said to hail from the Tuscan ‘Cappuccino’ monks (whose robes provided the inspiration for the world’s favourite frothy-milked coffee too!). If ever a meateater needed wooing over to the veggie-side of life, this is the dish to do it. I finished things off with a pot of tea and a soft and juicy slice of their lemon, poppy seed and coconut loaf – freshly baked that morning. It was the perfect excuse to nestle down a little longer in this happy little haven. BEAST



On the banks of the River Lee and on the edge of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, you’ll stumble upon a row of canalside eateries including Gotto - a family-run Italian trattoria in the heart of Hackney Wick. Light floods through the glass doors (which open in summer), creating a bright space, which still retainins a cosy air. The menu changes daily and depends on the haul of local, seasonal and Italian ingredients. What you can always rely on is hand-rolled pasta, lots of fresh veggies and top-quality meat and fish, served with perfect Italian simplicity. Kicking off with a home-made vermouth, we tucked into a spread of lamb meatballs with pecorino cheese, baked cauliflower with ginger, lemon and cherry tomatoes (a feast for the eyes, and tastebuds), and a gooey burrata. The sort of food to transport you to the crooked side streets of a quaint Italian provincial town. Seduced by the maccheroncini (posh maccaorni) with artichoke and white truffle oil, we ordered delicious rainbow chard with chilli, garlic and parmesan on the side. We finished with an espresso and a homemade tiramisu, which was whipped up in front of us in the open kitchen. Surely the only way to

You can feel the warm glow of Oklava before you even get inside. It has the busy air of a beloved local - and with good reason. Founded by renowned chef Selin Kazim, her take on modern TurkishCypriot cuisine has delighted so many that she has now published an Oklava cookbook. Despite its reputation, it’s not a fussy sort of place and conversation dances contentedly around bare walls as diners sit huddled at small tables. The simple interior forms a perfect backdrop for Selin’s vibrant culinary creativity. Each dish on the short menu offers a symphony of flavours - most cooked in their charcoal grill (mangal) and stone oven. Expect the likes of housecured lamb bacon with mulberry molasses, and whipped feta with candied pumpkin and chilli - and that’s just to start. Their ‘small plates’ style justifies trying many dishes, but you’re still likely to overorder. ‘Mains’ consist of veg-centric dishes such as hispi cabbage with yoghurt sauce, and chilli roast cauliflower with red onion, parsley and pistachio, all cooked to crispy, umami perfection. For meatlovers, the lip-smackingly moreish pomegranateglazed lamb breast is a must, especially washed down with Turkish Gali Merlot. ‘Oklava’ means traditional rolling pin in Turkish, and Selin’s team have certainly perfected their ‘doughy’ offerings. We particularly like the cheese and kale pide (stuffed flatbread) and our hero dish, Künefe - a traditional Arab dessert which makes for a glorious, syrupy sweet finale.

round off a hearty Italian three-course feed on a quiet Tuesday?



Capturing the spirit of The Pampas plains of South America, this latest Bar + Block (opened in Aldgate last November) offers some of the best-value-for-money steaks in East London. This is Whitbread’s eighth branch, and with two more planned in Belfast and Bristol, it speaks volumes for this classy chain’s popularity. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the emphasis is on high-quality steaks (‘classic cuts’ from British cattle breeds reared in South America), which are hand cut to order. Alternatively, the ‘Butcher’s Block’ is a special cut of the season – such as the flavourful picanha. Décor is modern-day rustic with booth-style seating and a central bar serving beers, wines and cocktails. Pescatarians and vegetarians are catered for with an extensive menu and you can’t fault the food or prices. If your passion’s for a two-pound picanha, look no further… 46 B E A S T

A warm glow at Oklava



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Rooftop views, designer rooms and comfy beds: all ingredients for a thoroughly chic city break




Deep in the heart of Shoreditch, in a land where graffiti walls meet beetroot lattes, local cafes meet trendy bars, and city workers meet media types, you’ll find The Boundary Project. Once a Victorian printing warehouse, the building lives on as this design-led neighbourhood hotel. Suitably placed at the end of Redchurch Street, with its high-end boutiques and within sight of award-winning restaurant Dishoom, a stay here puts you within walking distance of many a cultural happening. The ‘project’ of interior legends Sir Terence and Vicki Conran, and Peter Prescott (Prescott & Conran), the decor is an ode to the postcode’s spirit: cool, curated and creative. I arrived after a cocktails were accompanied by mellow music as we swapped London-hopping day of meetings, and was taken to my room – stories from our day. A pink dusk descended on the skyline one of 12, with another five suites available. True to the hotel’s and Shoreditch and the City’s buildings began to turn to heritage, each room is individually designed and themed mysterious silhouettes, studded with bright lights. It felt around an iconic designer or movement of the 20th Century – deliciously cosmopolitan and as the London evenings grow from ‘Young British Designers’ to ‘Bauhaus’ and ‘Le Corbusier’. warmer you can expect queues around the corner – fear not For the design-literate, it’s a celebration of fine aesthetic though, hotel guests can queue hop. history. For everyone else, the rooms are just lovely; spacious For a glamorous, subterranean evening, head downstairs to The and chic with posh Aesop toiletries. Vault. Currently home to pop-up charcuterie bar, TraTra, you’ll find I was happily staying in the high-ceilinged Charles and red velvet chairs and moody lighting. Celebrity head chef and food Ray Eames’ ‘corner’ room – inspired by the esteemed midwriter, Stéphane Reynaud’s offers up traditional French fare with century design duo and complete with original lounge chair a contemporary edge. Think bottomless charcuterie (try the Pork, and ottoman. The bed was incredibly snuggly and framed by prune & duck terrine), posh seafood and vegetable treats – we a ‘House of Cards’ headboard - one of Eames’ most celebrated loved the aubergine caviar and chargrilled cauliflower. designs. It’s certainly not cosy but manages to achieve perfect I woke next morning with spring sunlight flooding into my Feng Shui. And, if you’re after even more space (perhaps to do six-windowed bedroom. I enjoyed a strong coffee and a plateful morning yoga, which the hotel also offers), of grilled sweet potato, avocado, kale, fresh you can upgrade to a duplex suite. chilli and a poached egg at The Albion – THERE’S SOMETHING the perfect accompaniment to a leisurely The Boundary’s rooms sit above its own deli cafe, bar and grocery shop, The Albion, morning spent people-watching in this ABOUT BEING UP and below its Rooftop Bar & Grill. I arrived up happy corner of the city. HIGH, ABOVE THE there to find my friend sitting pretty among Rooms start at £170 per night BUZZ OF THE wild herbs, orange trees and fairy lights. Our 2-4 Boundary St, E2 7DD spiked hot chocolate and ‘Orange Provenance’ CITY BELOW




When you arrive at this discrete hotel, tucked quietly in the heart of Hackney Central, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve accidentally booked yourself into a surreptitiouslynamed Travel Lodge. Fear not though, you’ve arrived at a far more stylish affair – they just happen to share the same street entrance. Potted plants and monochrome interiors characterise this new, thrifty hotel – far from their corporate-chain of a neighbour. Kip’s philosophy is simple: that a good kip in a comfy bed shouldn’t cost the earth. And here it doesn’t. With a range of rooms to suit a range of budgets – from bunk-bedded dorms to apartment suites - there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a style-seeking traveller, digi-nomad or just after a cool city break. Located just around the corner from many a Hackney hot spot - from the live 50 B E A S T

music of Oslo to the pink walls and vegan cakes of Palm Vaults – you couldn’t be more perfectly located to enjoy the best of the borough. I was staying in one of their suites – simple and spacious, it was every bit the ‘no frills’ urban sanctuary, but with added aesthetic value. Think palm-tree wallpaper, print magazines and big windows. It was also equipped with a sleek kitchenette, a cushy bed, sofa, a desk and a great shower. What more do you need? Well, how about unlimited coffee (good coffee!) in exchange for a mere social media like, and homemade local pastries that arrive freshly baked each morning? It’s these thoughtful little touches that separate Kip from the crowd, and prove that they’re ahead of the game in offering style, comfort and coolfactor - at a good price. Doubles start from £50 and singles from £32 2 Aspland Grove, E8 1FJ


KIP, Hackney


SAFE hands F

or many of us, memories of our school holidays are of time spent kicking our siblings in the back of a hot, suitcaseladen car or the smell of suncream on an unremarkable stretch of British coastline. Sim Takhar’s were spent in a warehouse in Hackney. The co-founder of The Old Bank Vault, a contemporary art gallery event space and concept store on Hackney Road, was frequenting the area long before it was inhabited by chic cafés and creative spaces. Sim has long-established family connections with this pocket of London. Years ago, her grandfather had a factory in Hackney, then her parents invested in property in the area. Back in 1999, looking for a space to run their fashion footwear business, her parents bought the warehouse on Hackney Road that would one day become The Old Bank Vault. “I have this lifelong love affair with Hackney” says Sim, reminiscing on her summers spent in the warehouse. “I was one of those kids that hated the six week summer break – it just felt so long so the prospect of being able to spend my time in the warehouse, answering phones, watching customers come and

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go and helping where I could was thrilling.” Her grandma would come and visit the warehouse on occasion and, adamant that they’d be bored, would take them on trips. “She’d take us on the bus, and we’d go all the way to where the bus terminated and then get on the bus back. It was just her way of getting us out for a few hours, but it was so exciting for me, looking around and driving through the East End.” Fascinated by the transmutations that Hackney Road has undergone since her childhood, Sim has been inspired to write a book about the area. “Hackney Road has always been a funny one, because it’s always been this industry-specific area. So, for example: it was all carpenters. Then it was all shoe makers. Then bag wholesalers. And now the next generation is coming in and making its mark, introducing new businesses and new ideas into the road, which is really exciting.” Sim is one of those youngsters. After nearly two decades, her parents gave her the opportunity to do something with the space they had invested in. She didn’t know quite what form the business would take when she started out, she says: “It was kind of like, ‘We’ve got this amazing space,


Change is in the air on Hackney Road. We chatted to long-time local and gallery owner, Sim Takhar about the area’s new generation of businesses and creatives – and the importance of keeping the community spirit alive

in a fabulous area that’s at the brink of a huge turn – let’s get in touch with some artists that share this excitement for the space and the area.’ Over the last 18 months, it’s really evolved: we have a wide range of events from workshops to music nights and we work with some really brilliant artists.” The Old Bank Vault is the antidote to white walled galleries. For Sim, what matters is creating a space that is welcoming to locals. “For me, it was really key that it was a community space. The events that we host are about meeting those who live here, and bringing people together. They get to know you. It’s that East End vibe and we want people to keep coming back.” For her, the sense of community there is truly unique, “My dad will walk down the road and still know so many people. It’s really awesome to be able to walk down a street in London and have that, it’s the kind of thing you only usually get in small villages out in the country.” In its current guise, this pocket of the East End seems the perfect area for a concept gallery. But what’s next for Hackney Road? Sim’s book ‘The Next Chapter’, an anthology of interviews with residents and business owners, explores just that. While the

community feel lives on for now, Sim is concerned that the constant development will drive the creatives away. “The developers need to work with businesses, galleries, artists and the local community to be able to maintain that creative community. The reason for the mass development in the area is because it has now become a desirable place to live, but it’s important that we are mindful of the effect that these developments are having on those that made the place what it is. This subject could be a whole other article itself!’ Sim appreciates, however, that this change and development is what has enabled her to run a successful business. “I wouldn’t be sharing my appreciation for the opportunity I’ve been given if I said it [the development] was bad. It’s great. New businesses: brilliant. New people: brilliant. But it’s been tough on the artists that lost their studios to make way for new luxury apartments. I guess I’m doing my part. If we’ve got this beautiful space, why not turn it into a place where we can showcase artists’ work?” For now, the creatives endure and thrive. With the help of people like Sim, long may they continue. B, @theoldbankvault BEAST




Introducing Future Hackney – a visual storytelling collective empowering a new generation of young creatives to tell the stories that matter, right on their doorstep In a time of ever-change and growth in our corner of the city, it’s easy to forget that not everyone benefits equally (if at all). This film and photographic initiative, set up by six artists through the Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities scheme, offers valuable training and opportunity to young people living in the borough. Their aim? To capture the experiences of local residents in Hackney, through the lens of the major social changes happening in their communities. From short films and music videos, to photographic portrait series, their various projects document the people and places at the frontline of gentrification. Exploring the impact of issues such as social and ethnic cleansing, as well as predatory investment and lack of opportunities, it’s a reminder of the importance of equipping the next generation to tell the story of their communities, their way. Check out Future Hackney’s work, including their current Ridley Road photo series over on Instagram, @futurehackney




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