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LEAP OF FAITH The new fitness craze sweeping London Fields

Tales, trends & talk from the beating heart of East London

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BEAST magazine is brought to you by Editorial Director Kelly Beswick Creative Director Nicky Acketts Contributors Anoop Parikh, Emma Winterschladen, Shelly Vella, Ed Gibbs, Danny Kingston, Anna Matheson, Alex McFadyen, Ann Castle & Katharine Dilworth Photographer Kathrin McCrea Printed in the UK by the brilliant CPI Colour To advertise contact ON THE COVER Stephanie Burrows wearing Fabletics PHOTOGRAPH BY Kathrin McCrea





Nothing captures the vibrancy and sheer joy of East London better than Katya Katkova’s images

Lithuanian-born Katya's carefully curated Instagram account @eastlondonmornings attracts nearly 70,000 followers and her passion for her adopted corner of the capital cannot be doubted. No wonder she's become such an Instagram sensation. Her stunning images not only capture the area's very essence, they've even helped shape it. “I love being part of the change,” says Katya. “I first came to Hackney ten years ago and it was nothing like today. I feel that the current vibe is my baby in a way.” For the full interview go to

@eastlondonmornings perfectly capturing a typical sunny day in London Fields

OUT THERE Eyes wide open and ears to the ground

BESIDE THE SEASIDE The Mothership Group, the hip East London venues outfit that owns Queen of Hoxton, The Book Club and Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, has been running Patterns, a popular outpost on the Brighton seafront, for several years now. The club cum eatery is Shoreditch cool, but with a real beach on the doorstep, which can now be even better admired thanks to the recently revamped summer terrace. All vibrant colours, with plant pots, murals, deckchairs and more, it’s the perfect place to while away a summer’s afternoon far from the big smoke.


BEST DAY OF THE WEEK Hackney-based fine artist Natasha Garbawi's botanical


range of candles,

Okay, so you won’t be able to buy a fat pig at the recently opened Church Street Market in Stokey, but trust us, this place is serious foodie heaven with all manner of fruit, veg, cheese, meat and bread for sale plus a whole lot more besides. Held every Sunday in the lovely playground at William Patten School, it's run by the same folks behind the Victoria Park Market, so you can expect lots of the same stalls as well as a fair few newbies, including Second Shot Coffee, a Bethnal Green-based social enterprise that helps train

mists and diffusers are environmentallyfriendly and vegan too. Called Sun.Day, they're perfect for creating a sense of harmony

How time flies. It’s been ten years since Café OTO first opened its doors in Dalston, and over that time it’s forged a reputation as one of the world’s best underground music venues. A popular eatery by day, by night it turns into a venue for some of the most outré acts out there (there's no actual stage in this back-tobasics, low-slung room). There’s even an in-house record store stocking music you’d struggle to find elsewhere. A true local gem, and long may it continue.

and tranquility, making every day like the day of rest.

homeless people to become baristas.

INDIE COOL That’s what you’ll be thinking when you see Indie the modern camper PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATHRIN MCREA

van, surely the most stylish of its kind in East London. Better still its Stoke Newington-based owners are now hiring out their much-loved vehicle, so you too can enjoy its comfortable and spacious Scandi-style interior complete with well-equipped kitchen and wood-burning stove. It sleeps two adults, with room for a young child, and even has solar panels and a roof rack for surfboards, making a jaunt to the coast or a weekend at a festival all the more enticing. Prices start at £60 a day with a minimum hire period of three days.



ROUND THE BEND Just released by Hoxton Mini Press is The Corners, a beautiful hardback photographic tome full of hyper-real shots of East London street corners. It’s the work of acclaimed East End photographer Chris Dorley-Brown, and offers a unique and visually stunning documentation of an everchanging landscape. Priced £30. OUT OF AFRICA A NEW PECKING ORDER Street food’s coming home, with more and more vendors setting up permanent shop in East London. Mother Clucker is the latest to join the ranks, having just opened up its very first bricks and mortar site on Exmouth Market. The cheekily named Southern fried chicken specialist’s journey began five years ago from a converted US army ambulance known as the Cluck Truck. Having gained a devoted local following touting its mouthwatering wares at such haunts as Dinerama, The Old Truman Brewery and the Field Day Festival, its new fixed location makes perfect sense.


LESSONS WELL LEARNT Learning new skills via the Internet has definitely become a thing. And now an East Londonbased startup is tapping into that market, with Yodomo teaming up with talented artisans, many of which are local, to offer premium courses in everything from cookery and crafts to illustration and fermentation. Heck, there’s even a tutorial for mastering the art of Shibori, which is a traditional Japanese dyeing technique in case you were wondering!

A bit of Ghana has come to Brick Lane by way of a vibrant clothing line that’s handmade in West Africa. LunguLungu Clothing is the brainchild of East London's Gloria Rodríguez who spent time in the country and was so impressed by the local workmanship, she decided to set up an ethical fashion label employing the skills of Ghanaian people. The results are stunning and can be seen for yourself at the Rinse Showroom every Saturday and Sunday.

Simple, organic & ethical Skincare handcrafted in Hackney with no more than 7 ingredients




Fit to


A fabulous new fitness routine is drawing the crowds to London Fields, and it’s all thanks to former ballerina Stephanie Burrows, plus a little help from well-placed friends Words by Kelly Beswick


t would be very easy to envy Stephanie Burrows.

wishing she was part of your friendship circle too.

First off there’s her good looks, all long blonde

What’s more she’s clearly a grafter, who’s so determined

hair, perfect teeth and a body so honed and

to make a success of her new fitness venture that she’s

toned from years of dancing (she trained at The

throwing her all at it. Okay, so having Kate at the launch

Royal Ballet School) that despite two young

(alongside erstwhile Sporty Spice Mel C no less) certainly

children there’s not a wobbly bit in sight. Then

brought POPfit to people’s attention, garnering plenty of

there’s her rock star husband – Andy Burrows,

valuable publicity, but since then the day-to-day running

former drummer with Razorlight, and now a

of the studio has fallen squarely on Steph’s sculptured

successful solo singer-songwriter. Oh, and let’s not

shoulders and although run ragged she’s obviously

forget the A list friends, which includes a certain Ms

loving every minute of it.

Kate Hudson, with whom she recently opened POPfit, a

“Now that the weather’s picked up everyone’s working

health studio-cum wellness space in London Fields. But

out more which is great for us,” enthuses Steph. “The

despite being gifted so much, Steph, as she prefers to be

other weekend we had our first sold out class, so things

known, is so down to earth and eminently likeable that

are going really well. But it’s always scary launching a

it’s impossible not to be won over and left ever so slightly

new business, and even more so because what we’re offering is brand new and unlike anything else in London, so that’s a huge challenge but also something that’s really, really exciting.” Which leads us nicely into the POPfit method, as Steph likes to call it, a unique fitness routine that she’s devised with fellow Royal Ballet alumna and close friend Antonette Dayrit. “It’s a high intensity movement-based workout that combines our backgrounds in dance, pilates and fitness,” she explains. “It’s all about ditching the equipment and getting back in touch with the

10 B E A S T

Steph with her illustrious mates at POPfit's recent launch

body’s natural movements through a combination of cardio, stretching and strengthening, with the classes choreographed to have a real connection with the music.” Steph, who handpicks the music for every class, believes that it’s this connection that makes the workouts such fun, a factor that she found to be sorely missing in other fitness routines. “As a dancer I grew up training, which I never really thought of as a workout, it was something I just did, and as a result my body was really strong and athletic,” she says. “It was only when I stopped that I realised how much work I’d been putting in, but I really struggled to find another fitness routine I enjoyed. That’s how the idea for POPfit first came about.

Kate couldn’t believe what a great place London Fields was, with such amazing energy

Rather than do something you dread going to and don’t really enjoy while you’re doing it, only feeling amazing afterwards once the endorphins kick in, why not do something that’s actually fun and enjoyable at the time and that you look forward to doing.” So having devised the method, Steph knew just the person to trial it on, her friend and fellow fitness buddy, Kate. “She absolutely loved it, and things kind of went from there,”

she laughs. Steph and Kate (the pair met in London six years ago when Kate was dating Matt Bellamy from Muse, a friend of Steph’s husband), decided to go in together, but where to set up shop? “I live in Hoxton and I’ve always loved London Fields, there’s such a fantastic sense of community,” says Steph. “Last summer when Kate was over, we walked there from my flat. The park was heaving with loads of people having barbeques and we sat outside a bar.

Kate couldn’t believe what a great place it was, with such amazing energy, so when it came to opening the studio we both agreed it had to be London Fields.” The studio itself is situated within the Monohaus development and is a beautifully designed space, stretching over three storeys and occupying 3,000 square ft. The studio floors have been specially sprung to minimise the impact of those vigorous workouts and there's a small on-site shop stocking Fabletics, Kate’s popular line of workout gear. Despite being early days and all the celebrity endorsement, POPfit doesn’t feel faddy, but something that’s firmly anchored in proper fitness and wellbeing – a brand that could easily be rolled out elsewhere. “Ah, now wouldn’t that be lovely,” says Steph with a grin. “But for now I’m very much focused on London Fields. It’s a huge passion project and I really believe in the community of the studio, making

The on-site shop sells Kate's popular active wear brand

it grow and become something really special in the area. That’s my 100 per cent focus right now. But yes, sure, if in the future there was scope to take it elsewhere I would love to. I think it is something to be shared."

12 B E A S T


Simple, organic & ethical Skincare handcrafted in Hackney with no more than 7 ingredients




Josh Wilson is proving to be a force to be reckoned with

Man on a

mission Film and TV entrepreneur Josh Wilson’s heart might be in East London but his ambition is to conquer the world Words by Kelly Beswick


osh Wilson is a powerful presence. It isn’t his physique that gives this impression, though he is certainly muscularly built. It isn’t even his voice that signifies he’s a force to be reckoned with, despite speaking in a deep baritone and delivering his narrative in a clear and assertive manner. No, what sets Josh apart from the other twenty-something bright, young things trying to make it big in the world of film and television is his quiet confidence and utter conviction that this is an industry in which he belongs and where he is destined to reach the pinnacle - and all this conveyed without a trace of conceit. The signs are certainly boding well for Josh’s domination, which is summed up in the name of his production company, Wilson Worldwide. For here is a man with truly global ambitions, having already set up satellite offices in Asia and North America. Thanks to the international success of such programmes as Mission Mudder and Chasing the Dream (more about which later) the company recently posted revenues in excess of £1.25 million (not bad considering it was in the thousands the previous financial year). Add to this the fact that Josh has just been placed on the prestigious Forbes European 30 under 30 list for entertainment, rubbing shoulders alongside the likes of Get Out actor Daniel Kaluuya, musician Rita Ora and boxer ➠

Boxer Anthony Fowler in Chasing the Dream



The hard-core endurance challenge Tough Mudder formed the basis of Josh's first commission

Anthony Joshua, then you can see why people are sitting up and taking notice. Not that Josh’s career trajectory has been without its challenges. Having initially gone into sales and marketing on leaving college, he moved to Toronto at aged 19 to head up a team, and there he might well have stayed if it hadn’t been for an encounter with a film production company. Josh, also a keen actor at the time, ended up starring and exec producing one of their productions and finding common ground between his love of film and deal making, he was instantly smitten. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be involved in film and TV production,” he recalls fondly. “So I came back to the UK to try to figure out how I was going to find my place in this world.” Thus Wilson Worldwide was born, with its eponymous founder pitching for corporate video and commercials. “The company gave me opportunites that I knew were unlikely to come to me if I simply relied on other people’s good will, and in those first few years it did okay,” Josh attests. “But it wasn’t making loads of money, so to make ends meet I became an industry journalist, working on The Knowledge (a film, TV and commercial production directory).” Whether he realised it at the time or not, it was a shrewd move, helping Josh forge the connections and contacts with broadcasters that he had been sorely lacking. “But after a while I realised I had to go back to Wilson Worldwide as that was the best way for me to get my ideas out there,” he says. It was a leap of faith and one that initially saw him stumble. 16 B E A S T

At one point I was sleeping on the floor at a relative's, living on biscuits because I couldn’t afford dinner

East Londoner Lawrence Okolie targeting title glory

The Olympians taking on the Mission Mudder challenge

“At one point I was sleeping on the floor of a relative's, living on biscuits because I couldn’t afford dinner, and really not knowing whether I wanted to continue,” he says, shaking his head at the mere memory. “It was really, really tough.” But then, just as he was about to give up, an investment company fortuitously stepped in, offering Wilson Worldwide a not inconsiderable £200,000. “It was the turning point and suddenly we were back in the game,” grins Josh. Galvanised, he began ringing everyone he knew, setting up meetings, bouncing off ideas. A meeting with the people behind Tough Mudder, a series of hard-core obstacle races, led to a meeting with Sky, from which Wilson won his first commission, Mission Mudder. The show, which premiered on Sky last year to excellent reviews, tracked six Olympic athletes as they took on some of the most extreme courses in the infamous Tough Mudder endurance event, with a celebrity version now in the pipeline. This was swiftly followed by the critically acclaimed four-part documentary, Chasing the Dream, another Sky commission that followed the fortunes of Olympic boxers, Lawrence Okolie (a fellow East Londoner), Anthony Fowler and Joshua Buastsi, as they targeted title glory in the professional arena.

Perhaps, however, the most notable of Josh’s recent achievements was making the move into the Chinese market with the £20 million TV adaptation of Jeffery Archer’s False Impression, for which Josh set up the Asian division, fronted by Susie Tang and Chloe Zhou. Which neatly brings us to the subject of diversity, with 80 per cent of Wilson Worldwide’s employees coming from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. “The reason we’re so diverse is that we wouldn’t be able to do the programmes we’re doing without the likes of Susie and Chloe, who have an intimate knowledge of the Asian culture and media industry, so nothing gets lost in translation,” Josh explains. “Any company that wants to make sure they have the best contacts, perspectives and routes into different markets needs to have a diverse workforce – I don’t see how you can achieve international success without it.” And it’s such diversity that keeps Josh firmly rooted in East London. “I honestly wouldn’t live anywhere else,” he says. “It’s a true meritocracy around these parts, whether Asian, African, South American… no one cares. It’s about what you do rather than who you are.” And what Josh Wilson is doing is very impressive indeed. B BEAST


The collection has been inspired by pieces found in the family wardrobe

like mother, like daughter


Words by Emma Winterschladen

ast London based eco-chic clothing brand Arkitaip combines timeless design and skilled craftsmanship with a strong environmental and ethical compass. We talk to Lea, one half of the dynamic mother-daughter duo, behind it.

from, we aim to inspire those wearing arkitaip to live a conscious life what will motivate others around them. As a business, we hope to set an example of how you can responsibly create high-quality pieces, which are as equally beautiful as they are ecologically-friendly.

Tell us about your brand

Were you both always interested in fashion?

We are a family-run company located on London Fields that make ethically-and-environmentally-responsible linen garments. Our pieces are timeless, made to last, and thoughtfully put together by hand. The hope is that they’ll one day be passed from generation to generation.

I grew up in a family of very well-dressed women and men. From my grandmother, with her beautiful jewellery - found in flea markets or antique shops - that she pairs with her traditional Austrian folklore dresses to my granddad, whose linen shirts I love to 'borrow' their outfits were always intrinsically linked to and reflected their identity. So for me, the focus was never on following fashion trends, but more about ‘how can I convey a part of myself to the outside world by wearing something unique'. I think I can say the same for my mum. As a flight attendant, she was always bringing back the most amazing treasures from her travels. Each piece she wears tells a different story.

Where did the idea for arkitaip come from?



My Mami (Austrian for mum) has always had a passion for creating things with her bare hands, from making her own bread to knitting the most amazing jumpers. It wasn’t until I found an image of my mum in her twenties wearing this beautiful crochet bikini that I tuned into her talent. I asked her to make me one and the result left me speechless. From then on I was convinced that her extraordinary talent needed to be shared.

What’s the significance of the name? Our name Arkitaip is the phonetic spelling of “archetype” and reflects what we stand for. In the same way an archetype is something which other things are copied

How do you find the mother-daughter dynamic? I’m based in London and my mum is still living in my hometown Vienna, however we do have regular calls where we update each other on our progress. We also see each other roughly twice a month. We definitely have our ups and downs like you have in every ➠ BEAST


run by a mother and daughter too. There we produce our woven range, and our crochet wear is made by my mum.

Have you seen any change in the industry? Yes, I’m happy to see that people and brands are becoming increasingly aware of the detrimental effects the garment industry has on both the environment and the people involved in the production process. Nonetheless, it’s crucial that there is a radical and, most importantly, fast change in the way we consume and produce clothing. We need to move away from being a throwaway society and towards a way of thinking where each piece in our wardrobe is valued and treasured for years to come. relationship - whether professional or not - however, I feel like the experience of working together has brought us even closer.

What benefits have you found running a multigeneration company? One of the biggest benefits is definitely the level of trust. It’s amazing to know that I can always rely on my mum and she knows that she can always count on me, no matter what. Just knowing each other inside out allows us to focus on the things we do well, along with supporting each other.

Was the ethical and environmentally-friendly dimension always important? The thing my mum has always taught me is this: we should never lose our strong bond with nature and the beings that surround us. So once I convinced her to embark on this exciting journey with me, it was a given that we would work and produce in an ethically and environmentally responsible way.

What are the ethical and eco credentials of your line? We use carefully-sourced European linen as our primary material, allowing us to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible. As one of the oldest textiles in the world, linen is known for its extremely environmentally friendly nature, with its cultivation needing little to no chemicals and pesticides. It's also very durable and strong, which helps ensure we make garments to last. As well as being earth-friendly, it was important to us that our garments are ethically produced too. So we made sure to look for a production based in Europe, working under EU-regulations to ensure fair wages and working hours. We now work together with a very small sewing studio based in Porto, which only employs seven women and is 20 B E A S T

Where do you draw inspiration for your pieces? Our first collection has been inspired by the pieces I found in my family’s wardrobe. Named after the women in my family, each piece aims to inspire people to dream big whilst also maintaining a strong bond to nature.

Has living in East London influenced the brand? Although I’ve never actively thought about it, I’d say yes. It’s an East London’s dynamic, an uplifting, motivating and multi-cultural vibe which inspires me everyday to reflect more thoroughly on each decision I take with the business - both on smaller and bigger-picture scale.

“Sometimes I stumble across a treasure of a brand hitherto unknown to me and East London label Arkitaip is just that. Beautiful crochet bikinis and cropped tops, fluid linen dresses, rompers, wide leg trousers and beautifully crisp blouses and shirts - all in simple modern cuts, beautiful washed out colours and boasting an impressive ethical responsibility that’s core to the brand. From the feeling of inclusivity clearly evident on their website to the passionate belief in respecting nature and creating clothes built to last and pass on Arkitaip is most definitely one to watch.”

Shelly Vella Fashion & Style Director

All the Linen is carefully sourced from Europe

What’s best about living in East London? Definitely its versatility. I live in a little house tucked away from the hustle bustle, just next to London Fields with my three roomies. We have a little garden and it’s just amazing; I can open my windows at night and the only thing I hear is birds in the morning – no cars, just tranquility. At the same time, the city centre is super close.

Do you involve yourself in the fashion community of East London and how? I love going to talks and events around East London, which are often more focussed on entrepreneurship, which I obviously find very useful! I’m also often exploring East London’s shops for inspiration.

Do you have any favourite shops in East London (both clothing and otherwise)? I love Modern Society and all the vintage shops on Brick

Lane (Rokit is my favourite). There is also an amazing antique shop, whose name I can’t recall, but it’s located on Brick Lane and if you look for it you won’t be able to miss it. You can find everything from your new favourite piece of jewellery and the coolest old-school, floral cup, to a vintage French Monopoly game.

Where do you like to hang out and work? As I live next to London Fields, I love going for an early morning swim at the Lido or for a run in Victoria Park. Afterwards I get my daily caffeine hit at Climpson and Sons, before I make my way to work. I’m currently based at WeWork, a co-working space, which I love as it gets me out of my bubble and allows me to connect and exchange ideas with like-minded people. On weekends, I love strolling along Broadway Market before heading for a cheeky afternoon beer at Netil 360’s rooftop bar with some friends. B BEAST



IT'S TIME TO SHINE Stop wondering how you'll fund your idea and start focusing on getting it out into the world

WeWork is commited to supporting innovative projects and the people behind them. This global competition is open to entrepreneurs, performers, startups and nonprofits.


WeWork spaces are at their most concentrated in East London

This is how WeWork Not just a workspace provider but a creator of environments where productivity, innovation and collaboration thrive It’s fast become a local fixture with more than 20 WeWork offices open or soon to open in East London this year. It’s where the workspace behemoth (at last count it had more than 200 offices in 18 different countries) has the biggest concentration in the capital, but that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as the company is a perfect match for the area’s vibrancy, drive and entrepreneurial spirit. Here we meet Beam – one of the companies that are positively flourishing in WeWork’s dynamic and stimulating space... ➠



Alex, left, and some of the Beam members

Shine a light We catch up with Alex Stephany founder of Beam, a WeWork-based social enterprise that crowdfunds employment training for homeless people How did Beam come about? Beam started when I met a homeless man at a local Tube station. He told me, deeply ashamed, that he was illiterate. Meanwhile, he was sat beside a huge pile of free newspapers and thousands of people were walking past. As I walked home that evening, I couldn't shake a thought: 'There is no shortage of people needing help. And actually there is no shortage of people wanting to help. But there is a terrible shortage of technology that can connect those two groups, making it safe and easy to help'.

What obstacles did you have to overcome?

adopters started sharing on social media, things really took off.

Whereabouts are you based and why? Old Street, or ‘Silicon Roundabout’ as us locals like to call it! There are a lot of tech startups in this area so there is a great, innovative, entrepreneurial and creative vibe. WeWork, where we are based, works wonders at cultivating this atmosphere.

have completed training and are job hunting and 16 are in training. The other nine campaigns are live and in the fundraising stage.

Is there any guarantee of employment afterwards? After the training course is over, we work with the member to support them into employment. Some courses, such as IT technician training, offer an employment guarantee with the training provider.

Getting heard about initially was the main obstacle, as we needed people to start

How does a homeless person become a Beam member?

funding the first campaigns. But once the media became interested and our early-

Members are recommended to Beam by our charity partners. We support them to build a personalised career plan, raise the funds for a training course through a crowdfunding campaign and support them through training and into work.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of supporting?

How many members do you have?

Are there plans to roll the beam concept out to other cities/locations?

Supporting members is safe and easy

There are currently 31 members on the Beam platform. Roughly one new member is welcomed on every week.

How many have undergone training? Since launching in September, three members are currently in work, three

Head to our website, meet our members and read our members’ stories. It’s quick, safe and easy to help a homeless person train up and get into work.

With 300,000 people in the UK currently homeless, there is massive potential to help people all across the country. The Beam model is extremely scalable and we most definitely are aiming to roll out in other areas. B

If you'd like to buy an ethical football with an amazing story please visit our shop at 147 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6QG or go online


Oscar and Ben have forged a close working relationship


The Fabulous

Baker Boys

machinery in this corner of the capital.


But when those doing the talking are

Words by Kelly Beswick

t's not often you sit by the railway


arches in London Fields and the discussion turns to tractors and meadow toppers (an industrial grass cutter to the uninitiated). After all,

there’s not much call for such heavyweight

Oscar Harding and Ben Makinnon, a Hertfordshire farmer and the founder of E5 Bakehouse respectively, then the conversation begins to make sense. Oscar, who comes from a long line of farmers is advising Ben, who now has a Suffolk small holding as well as the bakery operation to run, and both are clearly very passionate about the business of farming. Indeed it is this passion combined with a strong social and environmental focus that has brought the two men together, with Oscar now growing the special heritage grains that Ben PHOTOGRAPHY BY NICKY ACKETTS

then mills into the organic flour that goes into his bakery’s bestselling Hackney Wild loaf. “We produce about 20,000 loaves from Oscar’s grain alone,” enthuses Ben, who started the E5 Bakehouse almost a decade ago from his Hackney flat, having quit his desk-bound job in sustainability. “This year I’ve got 25 acres, which is roughly the equivalent of 25 football pitches, just for these guys, and that should produce around 40odd tonnes of wheat,” offers Oscar, who personally delivers ➠

Oscar's heritage grains help produce 20,000 loaves of Hackney Wild

a ton bag of the grain to Ben every couple of weeks. It’s a symbiotic relationship that’s tipped over into mutual admiration and friendship. “It’s wonderful to have this link with Oscar,” attests Ben. “To be able to work closely with a local farmer (most grains in UK flour come from overseas), to have this amazing interaction and even to ask for specific grains to be grown, that’s a really unique and evolving area for us.” For Oscar the association with Ben and his bakery has, quite literally, been a dream come true. “Most of the farming we do takes a lot of time, is really expensive (the cost of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides etc.) and is really intense,” he explains. “But with this seed it’s very much zero input. You put it in the mud, go back the next year, combine it and get it in the grain store. It’s that simple and ecology-wise it ticks every box. This has been the direction I’ve wanted to take the farm in for some time and now thanks to Ben I’m able to do what I want to do.” The phenomenal success of the E5 Bakehouse can partly be attributed to just such attention to detail, with Ben’s drive for a sustainable business also resulting in the bakery using reusable energy

holding to tend as well as a

throughout, a bicycle delivery service

new baby, he now spends

and all organic ingredients. But of

part of his week in Suffolk.

course, with all the environmentally-

“I’ve tried as much as possible

friendly will in the world, unless the

to create a self-empowered

end product is excellent, it’s not going

community here among the

to shift. But such is the quality of Ben’s

team at the bakery, and that's

bread, it’s earned the company not just

going quite well,” he explains.

a local reputation but one that’s spread

“It’s now got a routine and

worldwide, as Oscar confirms.

rhythm that doesn’t get rocked

“My business partner Max was over in the States recently and he got talking

Ben has tried to create an empowered community

too much, meaning that I can focus on farming, which I’m

to this guy who was really into baking,

really interested in. It’s the root

telling him about the farm and the

of it all and the journey that

heritage grains we’re now growing. This guy said: ‘Oh my god,

I’ve been on has led to an appreciation of just how incredibly

you’ve got to get in touch with the E5 Bakehouse, they are

important it is for a change in farming practices. So, as a luxury

the best.’ And Max was like, ‘Oh f***, that’s who we do it for.’

almost, I am embarking on that as an adventure.”

When Max told me this story that’s when I realised how

And it’s one that Oscar’s happy to help facilitate, as they begin

super amazing their reputation was,” laughs Oscar.

discussing the merits of a John Deere over a Ford – yes, it’s

Ben’s certainly not resting on his laurels, but with a small

back to tractors again!





Grub’s most definitely up at these excellent East London eateries


A new venture by two wine talents has what it takes to be a neighbourhood favourite



It’s a sign of just how crazy the East London commercial property market has become: Shoreditch is now cheaper than Hackney. At least, that’s the experience of sommeliers Jack Lewens and Ed Thaw, who recently opened Leroy Shoreditch, after closing Ellory, their Michelin-starred restaurant in Mare Street, in March this year. Classically luxurious ingredients, cooked in the Modern European way and served as sharing plates, featured on Ellory’s menu, where they could be paired with wines on an exclusively European list. The general vibe was minimal, although we remember a lot of marble, and the overall experience felt a bit more grown-up than intended. Thankfully, the mood is much more casual at Leroy. The wedge-shaped room is kitted out with tongue-and-groove panelled walls, cushioned seat pads for your bum, and pretty illustrations by the brilliant Louise Sheeran. "We want it to feel more like the places in Paris where (head chef) Sam

(Kamienko) used to cook,” explains Lewens. cauda, garnished with toasted almonds. Known as ‘caves’, these places were often Followed by deliciously executed gnocchi restaurant annexes or sister properties, with tomato, hazelnut and wild garlic pesto. where the idea was to serve interesting and The set lunch of the day, which has to be personally chosen wines with simpler food. one of Shoreditch’s bargains at £20 for Lewens is now based in Paris, but spends three courses, then beckoned. The first much of his time making wine in the course was sweet tomatoes, simply dressed Cilento region of Campania. The results and piled on toasted brioche. Followed in are bottled under the Vigneti Tardis brand, short order by a roasted pork chop, which and no visit to Leroy should pass without had been shown the heat just enough tasting its Malvasia and Fiano to caramelise the outside. SET LUNCH HAS Served with salsa rossa, it blend, which reminded us TO BE ONE OF of the lightest chilled white was lipsmackingly good, and vermouth. We tried it with two showed how little needs to SHOREDITCH'S of the snacks on offer that day: BARGAINS AT £20 be done to great ingredients. a plate of Friggitelli peppers, FOR 3 COURSES The final course was a given the treatment that’s chocolate pot, no more than usually reserved for their Spanish Padrón half a dozen teaspoonfuls of creamy cousins, and heavenly whipped cods’ roe deliciousness, and all the better for it. with crisps. It was good with the crisps, but In our view, giving up the marble and also good on a chunk of bread. Michelin star was a very wise move. We We followed this with two small plates. loved the room, the wine list and of course First up, perfectly chargrilled asparagus, in the food. For now, it’s a steal. Go before a pool of butter, and anchovy-laden bagna everyone else does. BEAST



This Hoxton Square brasserie signals a more grown-up approach to casual eating in this part of East London


In the good old days, chicken in Hoxton was a resolutely takeaway affair. You pitched up, usually pissed, at one of the luridly-coloured storefronts by the Old Street Roundabout, queued with people in the same state, and eventually staggered out with a greasy box filled with even greasier bird bits. Then you ate this on the bus or tube home, all the while trying to ignore the disapproving stares of fellow passengers. In a sure sign that Hoxton now rivals Hampstead for salubriousness, that its grungy days are well and truly over, we now have Cocotte, a chicer way to indulge in everyone’s favourite animal protein. They do takeaway and delivery, of course, but it’s worth getting out of the onesie 32 B E A S T

to go and sit in the stylishly designed or two sides. The chicken was perfectly restaurant, or on the terrace facing seasoned, and juicy enough to tear off the the square. We visited on a sunny bone, before dipping in the sauces and lunchtime, and felt as though we’d been sides. Ours included a punchy truffle mac transported to Ibiza or the South of and cheese, stupendous mashed potato, France. It must have been the chickens green sauce made with eight herbs, turning languorously in the rotisserie, the and ratatouille composed of vegetables tiled open kitchen, and cooked in the rotisserie. WE’D BEEN the chillout soundtrack. Desserts are well crafted too. TRANSPORTED TO The clientele were on Mango ice cream encased in IBIZA OR THE message too; shirts were a mochi rice dumpling was unbuttoned, and prayer SOUTH OF FRANCE indulgent without being bead bracelets replaced silly, and two wedges of date statement watches and jewellery. and coconut bar had a low-key sweetness A glass of the house white – a delicious that felt right after the flavour overload Val de Loire Sauvignon from Domaine that had come before. Garnier – echoed the holiday mood. The Would we go back to Cocotte? Without a short and simple menu made life easy doubt, yes. If we lived around the corner, too. Just order a full, half or quarter bird, it’d be our new favourite takeaway too. and pair it with a couple of sauces and one


14 ARTILLERY PASSAGE, E1 7LJ As you meander along the Dickensian Artillery Passage in Spitalfields you can hardly imagine that you are about to be transported to Brittany but stop at number 14, open the door to L'Ami Malo and transported you will be. Friendly staff greet you into its warm ambience, with stylish and contemporary decor making this creperie a perfect place for an intimate lunch or dinner. But don't let the term creperie fool you into thinking this is just a café because L'Ami Malo is a fine restaurant serving reasonably priced galettes, savoury pancakes and sweet crepes. Here the traditional humble crepe is elevated into an elegant, freshly prepared delight, using quality ingredients including gluten-free buckwheat flour imported from France. Also not to be missed is their Le Moulin speakeasy bar which is tucked away at the back, showcasing seasonal cocktails and craft ciders from Brittany and Normandy.


AREPA & CO 254 PARADISE ROW, E2 9LE If I lived on Mother Kelly's doorstep I would come here all the time. But as I don't, every couple of weeks will have to do to sample the creative Venezulan delights on offer. While it's worth making your way through the menu, my go-to fave would have to be the Reina; a grilled cornbread stuffed with charcoal roasted chicken, mayo and avocado with a tangy dressing, along with a side of Yuca, tossed in paprika salt - like fat chips but much, much better.

I wouldn't normally opt for Caribbean cuisine in Walthamstow, for fear that I might end up in a dodgy eatery where stodge is the order of the day. But Rhythm Kitchen stands out on Hoe Street with its clear glass frontage and equally clean and fresh interior. The airy, whitewashed space is softened by large palm leaves stencilled on the walls, rustic style wooden tables and the large rum-filled bar at the far end, just to remind you that you could be in a Caribbean beach bar after all! The menu offers a good mix of dishes without overwhelming diners. A delicious fruit punch to start was refreshing with just the right level of sweetness, accompanied by saltfish fritters and plantain fritters, which were neither too greasy nor overfried. The saltfish had a good hint of spice for that Caribbean kick, and the plantain wasn’t overly sweet with a good texture. The meat in the curry goat and jerk chicken main courses was soft and tender, and the spices and flavours of both

A place to satisfy your appetite and your soul



dishes were deliciously delicate. The only downside was the slightly too generous portions, which left us little room for dessert, but we did manage the refreshing mix of tropical sorbets. Hoe Street is constantly changing, with new ventures popping up all the time; Rhythm Kitchen is among these exciting new arrivals. It offers a relaxed, modern yet authentic atmosphere, with very good food. On only its second open Friday they were turning people away; there’s clearly a demand for this kind of good Caribbean food in Walthamstow.




A taste of Myanmar on Brick Lane


What started as a Maltby Street Market Stall has now found its permanent home on Bethnal Green Road. Dan Anton and head chef Zawmesh are bringing their Burmese-inspired menu to the masses with this newly opened venture. Whether you choose to sit at the copper topped bar or take over one of the long wooden benches, dive straight into the action with one of the signature cocktails or Japanese beers. One of the only Burmese restaurants in London, its name means fermented tealeaves, and you’ll spot more than a few dishes embracing them on this exciting menu. From the deliciously bitter Lahpet Sour infused with gin, Campari and fermented tea leaves to the restaurant’s signature tea leaf salad - with a fried mix of broad beans, butter beans and split peas - you’ll soon find a new way to get your caffeine buzz. Also on offer to start are Lahpet’s homemade shan tofu fritters, made onsite from split peas, which are crisp on the outside but melt in the middle. Elsewhere, you’ll find steamed balachaung buns with fried onions, shrimp and garlic, served with a sweet chilli juice. When it comes to mains, those infamous tealeaves crop up again in slow cookedHUNGRY DONKEY lamb. A blend of lahpet, paprika and 56 WENTWORTH STREET, ALDGATE, E1 7AL turmeric complement the lamb jus in A remarkably welcoming restaurant where fresh this satisfyingly umani rich dish. carafes of water are plonked on the table even If it’s a bowl you’re after, then order the after settling the bill. The staff are highly attentive coconut noodles with chicken - a hearty serving simple cuisine that stays true to the broth of ginger and condensed milk. traditional style of Greek cooking. Set in a pleasant With ingredients imported from spot on Wentworth Street, offering an extensive menu with high-quality, fresh ingredients Myanmar, intricate details and plenty and a wide selection of excellent Greek wines. Customers at the table beside us were raving of flavour – Lahpet offers the perfect insight to Burmese cuisine and purseabout the Portorkalopita, an orange ripple cake - so I followed and I'm glad I did. This is what sunshine would taste like, one of the finest, sweet delights.



Melt-in-themouth steak

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friendly prices.


Sleek and modern, set within iconic St Katherine's Dock with a view of the sailing boats moored alongside royal barge, The Gloriana. Cau is worth visiting for the holiday vibe alone. With an eclectic mix of diners, from Texan oil magnates to first dates, there's plenty of people-watching and the staff are helpful and friendly. Perfect empanadas and croquettes will delight, but steak is where it's at here. Go medium-rare: try the melt-in-your-mouth Lomito, a finest fillet cut of rump served with a blue cheese sauce. Definitely worthy of a return visit.


This is Duchess Oil. It's an extra virgin rapeseed oil that's grown, pressed and bottled on Oscar's farm on the border of Hertfordshire and Essex. This means it hasn't come far from the day it's planted to the moment it's used in your cooking. Oscar works hard throughout the year to make Duchess Oil, and with the help of local East London restaurants and businesses, sells it in and around the area. To find out more about Duchess Oil and how to buy email

Room with a



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enowned chef, Mark Sargeant, has been building a mini-empire down on the Kentish coast for some time now. But the allure of London still brings him back to his old stomping grounds. Therefore his latest venture, Sargeant’s Mess, which is situated within the shadow of the Tower of London, has given him the perfect excuse to hang out in the East where his thoroughly British diner and deli is already wowing the crowds. Sargeant’s biography is impressive to say the least, with an auspicious start at Boodles earning him the accolade of ‘Young Chef of the Year’. He then spent his formative years propping up the kitchens of various Gordon Ramsay-owned establishments, doing such a sterling job he was sprinkled with Michelin stars. It was only natural that solo ventures followed with the accolades continuing to come aplenty. So far, so very, very good. And now there’s Sargeant’s Mess, a new all-day restaurant, bar and deli, in the grounds of the Tower of London, a more illustrious location you’d be hard pushed to find. Given, like most chefs, that Mark has obviously put in plenty of legwork over the years, how on earth does he keep going?

The restaurant's location next to the Tower of London was a happy accident

“Well, I don’t miss those 110-hour weeks, I can tell you that right now!” he laughs. “But having achieved what I set out to do at Rocksalt – which was to create my own brand of fine dining – I have always wanted to return to a casual sort of affair, where you can enjoy classic British food that is high in quality but also affordable.” All within sight of the Crown jewels! Is he worried about putting his head on the block? “Maybe!” he jokes, before quickly adding, “No, this was a happy accident, finding the site. I have had the concept of Sargeant’s Mess in my head for some time now and given the fact that we’ve kicked it off at

one of London’s top tourist attractions; well, let’s just say that I am very excited.” So, what is he offering customers? “I like to call it elevated British food,” he explains. “Think Cumberland sausage buns; cod and dripping chips; proper roasts, but with a slight twist, such as pressed shoulder of lamb or slow cooked pork belly. Angus beef with huge Yorkies will be a big feature on Sundays. And every day, we’ll be rolling out a different suet pudding with lots of gravy and mash and peas.” Good solid fare in other words, which just talking about gets the tummy rumbling. And it feels like he’s picked up on a traditional East London theme. “Yes, exactly,” he confirms. “The East End is just a stone’s throw from here, so it makes sense to encapsulate some of that vibe into the menu. And I really want to make this feel like a family place, where you can take the kids.” So what’s his favourite East End haunt? “To be honest, I do need to do some more schlepping into places like Hackney and Shoreditch,” he admits. “There’s loads of great stuff going on there, like the Mare Street Market. I have been to Chick ‘n’ Sours though. I love ‘The General’ in there,” which for the uninitiated is a fried chicken thigh sandwich with buttermilk and herb mayo and is beyond delicious. But coming back to Sargeant’s Mess, what does he think is really going to pull in the punters? “Definitely the terrace that overlooks the Thames, it’s pretty special,” he offers. “If we get the summer that we’re long overdue, it is going to be a fantastic spot to enjoy a cocktail or two.” Made with Beefeater Gin? “Definitely. That goes without saying.” B BEAST


In the mix RECIPES FROM DINA BEGRUM'S NEW COOKBOOK CELEBRATING THE FOOD OF BRICK LANE Photography by Peter Watson Begrum's love affair with Brick Lane began as a child. In the market she was drawn to the hustle and bustle of the traders touting their wares and it soon became synonymous to her with delicious food and treats initially of the Indian variety but more latterly with a global bent. Her Brick Lane Cookbook (Kitchen Press, £20) aims to capture what makes the area so special to her with a mixture of recipes that reflect the incredible diverisity of this ever-changing area of the East.








275g regular Bombay mix (make sure it’s not an extra hot kind) 1 medium red onion, finely chopped 2 green chillies, finely chopped 2 red chillies, finely chopped 4 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped Juice of 1 lemon 3-4 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds

Simply pour the Bombay mix into a container with a lid and add the onion, chillies, coriander and lemon juice. Place the lid back on the container and shake vigorously for several seconds. Open the lid and stir through the pomegranate seeds just before serving. COOK’S TIP – make sure to mix every thing together just before serving; otherwise your Bombay mix will become soggy. BEAST



Make the filling first. Heat the

prepare your pastry. Put the

half to give you 16 half-moon

oil in a frying pan over medium

flour, salt and oil into a bowl

shapes, and rotate them so the

heat, then add the onions, salt

and rub together with your

curved edge is closest to you.

FOR THE FILLING: 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 /3 teaspoon salt 3-4 green chillies, finely chopped 1 teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon garam masala 175g paneer, grated 175g medium cheddar, grated

and chillies and sauté for a few

fingertips until you have


minutes until the onions are

fine crumbs. Add 100ml of

of filling at the centre of a


translucent. Add the cumin,

lukewarm water to form a firm

piece of pastry, leaving about


paprika and garam masala and

dough. Cover and rest for at

1cm space top and bottom.


cook for another minute, and

least 20 minutes.

Brush the edges with water,


then turn off the heat. Tip the


paneer into the hot pan and

assemble your samosas, tip the


stir through quickly (you don’t

dough onto a lightly floured


want the paneer to melt), then

surface and knead for a few

the bottom seam, and then


put the mixture into a bowl

minutes. This will help release

fold the right side down to

and leave to cool for a couple

the gluten in the dough and

form a triangle with a curved

of minutes. Mix in the cheddar

ensure a flaky, yet firm crust

bottom edge. Pinch all the

until well combined. Check the

which will hold its shape once

edges and the point of the

FOR THE PASTRY: 250g plain flour, plus more for dusting ½ teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons oil 500ml rapeseed oil, to deep fry l

When you are ready to

Place a heaped tablespoon

and then fold the left side over the filling in the centre. Press down the pastry along

seasoning and adjust if needed,

fried. Divide the dough into

triangle together so the filling


and then cool completely –

eight portions and roll each one

is completely sealed in. Repeat


about 45 minutes.

into a thin circle around 15cm

for the remaining samosas.

in diameter. Cut each circle in

Heat the oil in a deep pan


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While the filling is cooling






2 very ripe Pakistani or Indian mangoes, peeled and roughly chopped 500g Greek yoghurt 2 /3 teaspoon ground cardamom 250ml milk 4-6 tablespoons sugar

Place the mango pieces in a blender or smoothie maker (you can also use a hand blender) and add the yogurt and cardamom. Blitz together for about 30 seconds, then add the milk and sugar and blitz for another minute until the lassi is creamy and smooth. I suggest you add a tablespoon of sugar per person as you begin, and adjust according to taste.

A glass of lassi is best enjoyed chilled and is so good with samosas or pakoras

over high heat. You can check if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small piece of bread into the oil. If it rises easily to the surface your oil is ready. Drop a few samosas at a time into the oil and then reduce the heat to low. Fry the samosas for around four minutes, turning in the oil to ensure an even, golden colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Before you fry the next batch, raise the heat back up to high to bring the oil back up to temperature and reduce to low once the samosas are in. Serve hot with your favourite chutney.




Promise Last Japan (aka Marco Giuliani) is a transplant to East London, but he is a musician whose style is firmly rooted in its post-industrial landscapes Words by Alex McFadyen


aving grown up in Sutton, South London, he moved to Bow – where grime was incubated – to pursue a career in music after finishing university in 2010. Fast forward eight years and he has two albums and a host of singles under his belt, including collaborations with one of the genre’s most revered MCs, Trim, and a more recent luminary, AJ Tracey. The 28-year-old producer’s lush, sophisticated instrumentals may sound a far cry from the rough and ready beats that emerged from these boroughs 15 years ago, but they find common ground in their alien sonics and stark, wintry atmospherics. We caught up with Last Japan to find out about his inspirations, latest album LUNA and zero gravity soundtracks.

What brought you to East London? Obviously nostalgia for grime, and that genre being heavily influenced by area, but the thing that really drew me was the party scene. At the time I was going to a lot of warehouse raves, so that was a major factor.

The dystopian element of the area breeds creativity

What about the place do you think fosters creativity? Something that has changed a lot is that parts of East London were undeveloped and quite raw. The whole of East London had warehouses and factories; when you think of what was around the Olympic Park – it’s completely different now. The dystopian element breeds creativity in some ways.

What were you listening to as a teenager? I was heavily into Skream, Benga, Toasty – that whole dubstep sound.

Was studying music at uni useful? Massively – the technical side of how to structure a song and mix it down. If it’s not gonna sound good on the radio then it won’t get played.


Can you tell me about the influence of sci-fi on your sound? The main influence is Hans Zimmer. When I saw Interstellar, that made me think it could work really well with grime. It was the tones in the music he makes, especially when it’s related to space. I started experimenting and did a few demos – the AJ Tracey tune ‘Ascend’ came out of that. I feel like from doing the AJ Tracey tune I developed my own sound palette.

Explain the concept behind your latest release, LUNA In my head it’s a journey, influenced by space. On ‘Tether’ you’re embarking, you don’t know what’s going to happen, and then the last track feels like you’re coming home.

What inspires you to start making a track? A specific mood. I’ve got definite visual cues, I remember looking out from my window and it was a really foggy cold day, you could just about see Canary Wharf in the distance, and writing a track to that. I think that was ‘Squad’.

Is releasing on vinyl important to you? For me, vinyl is a collector’s item. I love releasing stuff on vinyl. Digital’s great because it gets out to people quickly, but it’s lacking a design element to it.

What are you working on at the moment? A collaboration with a Finnish producer called Inner, which is out soon. B




The sounds we're loving right now BY ED GIBBS


All Points East a Success Phil Lawlor, Co-Founder of Big Sync Music went along on to get the scoop on this brand new, 10-day live music and community event


in East London’s legendary and beautiful

'Always', the new track from Post-popsters

air music festival or two in its time.

Victoria Park - a location that’s seen an open The line-up for all days was diverse with

Zkeletonz, is a favourite cut. They recently headlined at the Old Blue Last. Before that, they played everywhere from Ronnie Scott’s to Peckham Festival to Cambridge Uni. It’s unadulterated pop, made for dancing. Turn it up and dream your cares away.

some of the coolest names in music from Friendly Fires to Father John Misty. Listening to Khruangbin, the Thai funk trio from Texas, felt very Woodstock in the sun and their best performance for us was Lady and Man. Beck did a solid job, and pulled a crowd-pleasing set of hits for a proper party atmosphere plus

'Airplane Mode' is pure smooth R&B from

ON1Y's infectious vibes

EASTSIDE GIRL'S GOT TALENT East London's Phoenix Martin's modern turntablism includes a mixture of contemporary Hip Hop and R&B jams, as well as spinning some wavy alternatives including, rock ‘n’ roll and indie music. Martins also has her own music label entitled, 'Alt Waves' - a celebration of alternative music. phoenix-martins

Another highlight was the Flying Lotus 3D set featuring the Californian electronic artist FlyLo - who just happens to be the great-nephew of the late jazz pianist Alice Coltrane (wife of saxophonist John Coltrane). This was just one guy on a stage in a dark tent in front of a giant screen that was throwing out some intensely trippy, space-like visuals, that perfectly punctuated the music, further enhanced by our 3D glasses. Björk put on an enchanted spectacle with an earth-mother theme that seemed to be in perfect sync with the weather. The rain held back and as giant orchids blossomed on stage in time to the music, a passing thunder storm gave us an additional, extraordinary light show - forked lightening and thunder claps revealing the London skyline under a dramatic full moon. For the full review go to

44 B E A S T


new outfit ON1Y (what is it with 1s in band names?). It’s their debut single and it’s sure to spread like wildfire, with its infectious vibes and nifty hooks. “Leave your iPhone on airplane mode, let me have you all alone” they coo. Ain’t that the truth.

a superb cover of 'Raspberry Beret'.

A man with a plan The east is awash with redevelopments, some good, some not so good. We speak to Martin Davies, of international architecture firm BDP, on what makes the best laid plans and how the future is shaping up for the area

How do you rate the quality of redevelopment so far in East London? I’ve lived in East London for nearly 20 years and I’ve seen it change from a fairly run down and shabby area to a vibrant and diverse environment. There was a lack of investment and even streets of empty abandoned homes. In recent years it's been an area which has seen a lot of innovation in building types and it is now home to some of the most pioneering housing schemes and award winning buildings. Improvements to housing, schools and workplaces have all created opportunities for creative industries to move in and together with its architecture that is what gives the area its unique characteristics which we see today.

Any favourites, and if so, why? I love what the 2012 Olympic legacy has done for the area, and also for the wider city. It is an incredibly successful development and home to some of the city’s best known landmarks. The city has an amazing new park and around which new communities have developed, all of whom can benefit from the retail, leisure, work and the planned education opportunities that have been created.

Do you see more opportunities? Maybe not on the same scale but good urban design has an incremental effect on its surroundings and new developments are well underway in neighbouring areas to the Olympic Park benefiting from the improved transport links. Other areas such as redevelopment of Lower Lee Valley, Royal Albert Docks, Barking Riverside and Thamesmead also provide opportunities for large scale placemaking.

Which areas still offer potential? BDP recently produced a vision for Whitechapel in preparation BDP is currently working with Boxpark to create new food & beverage destinations in regeneration areas

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for the opening of Crossrail in 2019. We focused on six key areas, including the revitalisation of Whitechapel Road and

A vision for Whitechapel in preparation for the opening of Crossrail

the creation of a striking civic hub. Our proposals will deliver over 3,500 new homes, generate 5,000 jobs and create seven new public squares and spaces.

What sort of developments would you like to see here?

Anything goes here and it's creating a melting pot of developments for the wide variety of people who live here

The best developments are those

What would you say is unique about East London? I think East London is unique because of its diversity. Delis and quirky coffee shops sit alongside betting shops and nail salons on the high street near me. As factories shut developers move in to create housing with restaurants at

characterised by a mix of uses which results in active

ground level bringing a new dynamic to areas. Anything goes

vibrant spaces for the local community as well as visitors.

here and it is creating a real melting pot of developments for

New public spaces are particularly important to create

the wide variety of people who live here.

places for meeting, relaxing, and outdoor events, allowing the mix of uses to spread.

Where do you see East London in 5 years time? The population of London is set to rise even further and

What are the key constraints?

the environment and infrastructure will need to improve

It takes a lot of vision and an element of risk to pull off

to keep pace with this. Building tall may be an answer to

a scheme like this. It relies on backing from developers and

this. Creating denser tall environments can offer the best

support from the local council, without this some schemes

solutions for a growing city if they are done in the right

can fall flat. Also there is still a lot of nimbyism which can

way and repond to their surroundings appropriately.

stifle progress.

For the full interview go to





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Bert & May specialises in reinterpreting old designs for new and handmade products


ld stuff is cool. It’s axiomatic in East London. Reclaiming old fittings, repurposing found objects, and questioning the idea that new is always better. It’s all around us, it adds a unique energy to our surroundings, and the rest of the world loves our take on it. Londoner Lee Thornley, the founder of Bert & May, is one of its early advocates. His love of reclaimed architectural fittings stems from the early 2000s, although it wasn’t triggered by something locally. Instead, he was setting up a reclaimed tile company in Andalucia, and sourcing materials for Casa La Siesta,

a soon-to-be award-winning boutique hotel in Cadiz. Fashioned from an old country ‘Cortijo’ or farmhouse, the property used old wood, tiles and rare antique fittings wherever possible. Says Lee: “I explored and hunted and became friends with the guys on the salvage yards. This is where I found my inspiration. I found an amazing set of old doors from Seville, and from there, my love of old doors spiralled. I loved the solidity of them, the worn finish, the quality. I found I could create other things too from these doors; things like table tops, headboards, cupboards. “Then I found antique floor tiles in Cordoba, and stone


41 49

flooring from Cabra, and so my love of flooring began. I found terracotta tiles covered in layers of paint, that had previously been used between the beams of an old house. Once they were sanded and laid on one of the hotel’s terraces, they looked spectacular. The old and faded colours were calming, relaxing and not overly busy. It was exactly the look I wanted.” In 2010, Lee met Juan Menacho, the owner of a defunct family business that had specialised in handmade encaustic tiles. Also known as inlaid tiles, these were popular from the 13th to 16th century, and they enjoyed a huge revival in Victorian Britain, when they became the material of choice for porches, hallways and other high traffic domestic areas. Lee and Juan bonded over a shared love of the chalky finish and artisan feel of these tiles, and they saw an opportunity to produce their own range of vintage-inspired designs. The family factory re-opened, and production began. After a rebrand, the company was officially launched as Bert & May in 2013, and they opened their first showroom in Vyner Street, Bethnal Green. A former

The Vyner Street showroom next to the canal

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A soft colour palatte characterises the Bert & May look

warehouse on the Regent’s Canal, this now features the entire product range, which has grown to include engineered wood, natural paints, furniture, bathroom fittings and kitchens. The space also includes a design studio, offering a bespoke service for residential and commercial interior design projects. Lee adds: “Vyner Street is a great place to mooch around. I love the honesty of the building. We just cleaned it up a little, and let the old materials do the rest. We show a few reclaimed pieces there, and have just widened this offering online. Our DNA comes from old materials, and our passion is to, wherever and whenever possible, source original pieces and give them a good second home. “However, the reality is we cannot find an endless amount of reclaimed materials, and therefore a key part of our business is now focused on re-interpreting old designs and colours for our new and handmade products." A bold use of simple geometric shapes, and a soft colour palette, characterises the Bert & May look today. It’s exciting yet easy to live with. And you can see it slotting comfortably into pretty much any type of interior, be it a Victorian conversion, an apartment taking its cues from mid-century design, or a family-friendly hotchpotch of randomly acquired furnishings. It has spawned a number of successful collaborations too, including a tile range for The Conran Shop, tile and fabric collections with hip East London design brand Darkroom, and graphic upholstery fabrics for “All the patterns and designs on our new products started once as an antique tile,” Lee adds. “Our kitchens are all about the material, the reclaimed timber and the raw finishes. Our paints and fabric prints are created using natural pigments. And our bathrooms feature concrete and brass that will patina beautifully over time. I think we’ve created a timeless and effortless aesthetic that can be adapted to many a personal style.” B

I think we’ve created a timeless and effortless aesthetic that can be adapted to many a personal style



t was these opening rhyming couplets of William Henry

Planted in 2010 on what was then a derelict site (it had been

Davies’ poem that sprang to mind upon entering the

the Eastern Curve railway line that once joined Dalston

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden on what turned out to be

Junction to the Northern Line, so hence the garden’s name)

one of the hottest May Day bank holidays on record. This

and taken over as a social enterprise two years later, the

magical green oasis, a true hidden glory, whose entrance

garden is home to all manner of wildlife-friendly trees

is located beside the iconic Hackney Peace Carnival Mural

and shrubs, while raised beds are awash with flowers,

on Dalston Lane, allows busy inner city dwellers to do just

herbs and vegetables, all looking resplendent on such a

that – to sit and stare. And to marvel, quite frankly, at the

beautiful sunshiny day.

fact that such a glorious green space has not just survived,

Despite being understandably packed, the garden didn’t feel

but flourished in one of our great metropolis’ most built

over-crowded. Roughly hewn wooden benches and assorted

up areas, where avaricious developers continue to snap up

seating is judiciously placed among the shrubbery, upon

land at an unseemly rate.

which hangs the occasional idiosyncratic ornament and

It was once home to the Eastern Curve railway line

This magical green oasis is a true hidden glory, right in the heart of Dalston, one of London's most built up areas

Yet despite offering such a leafy, tranquil haven in the heart of the city, the garden’s future is by no means assured. With the land partly owned by Hackney Council and plans currently afoot for further redevelopment of the Dalston Quarter in which some of the garden resides, visitors and supporters were encouraged last year to write to the council asking

decoration, where people happily sat reading, chatting

that the garden remain an enclosed and managed space,

or imbibing in the delicious offerings from the on-site

stay in its current location and ensure that no surrounding

café that’s housed beside a quirky wooden pavilion at the

development negatively impacts on its operation and

entrance. Alongside the café is a heated greenhouse, known

environment. Let’s hope their reasonable requests are

as the Pineapple House, for those chillier days, complete

listened to because without Dalston Eastern Curve Garden,

with a variety of squidgy sofas on which to loaf and lounge.

and echoing the final words of Henry Davis’ poem, life will be

Among the usual suspects of tea, coffee and cakes that are

that little bit poorer.


baked daily on the premises (as well as Irish soda bread), the café also serves freshly made soup and seasonal vegetables from Hackney’s Growing Communities. Beer, cider and wine are available alongside a wide selection of non-alcoholic drinks, with everything sourced where possible from East PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATASHA MONTAGUE

London suppliers. Each weekend from spring through to late autumn the wood-burning oven is fired up, from which fantastic sourdough pizzas emerge. Being a community space, volunteering is positively encouraged so for those who want to green up their fingers there’s gardening sessions every Saturday from 2pm. There’s also a roster of workshops and events, including regular art-based activities for children, cookery classes and gigs, with volunteers crucial to the success of the garden’s year-round programme.




THE HUNTER GATHERER From working in the city to foraging for wild food in East London, George Fredenham’s journey has been nothing if not interesting On a misty early morning you might well find him on Hackney Marshes, scrabbling around the undergrowth, clearly a man on a mission. But lest you think his purpose might be unsavoury, fear not, because the bearded gentleman in question is none other than George Fredenham, one half of The Foragers (the other being award-winning poet Richard Osmond), whose passion for wild food has taken him from a desk job in the city to the wide, open spaces of East London in a quest to find nature’s bounty. It's a passion with purpose, with George turning his finds into wild and wonderful culinary delights. So dinner at George's then! B


For the full interview go to

54 B E A S T




Beast magazine issue 1  

BEAST has arrived: an ultimate daily guide to everything East London for locals and tourists alike. The brand has a sharp local focus with c...

Beast magazine issue 1  

BEAST has arrived: an ultimate daily guide to everything East London for locals and tourists alike. The brand has a sharp local focus with c...