Feverishly-anticipated Chick ‘n’ Sours is opening in Dalston today, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to remind you of what else is hip, hop ‘n’ happening in the area. From Hawaiian hangouts to white rabbits and everything in between, it’s liquorice allsorts in this east London stomping ground. But catch what’s hot while Dalston is still cool: neighbouring Stoke Newington is already being talked up as the next big thing...
Chick ‘n’ Sours (above)
Fried chicken continues to ride the wave of popularity as the dude food du jour, so it’s no surprise that street-food maestro Carl Clarke is opening a restaurant devoted to the stuff today. Fried, free-range and herb-fed, the house-fry has an umami-led ‘seaweed crack’ finish and comes with Asian-inspired pickled watermelon and peanut salad. With monthly specials as well as hot wings, wraps and steamed turnip cakes with pickled shiitakes for for veggies, it’ll leave Nando’s quaking in its peri-peri boots. Wash it down with sour cocktails and round off with soft-serve white chocolate and miso or Weetabix ice cream (below).
Named after the 1957 album by Thelonious Monk, this lively jazz bar is so very Dalston. Minimalist decor and a kickass sound system serenade mezcal, cocktails, ‘vieilles vignes’ wines, London craft beers, saké and matcha green tea. The food is equally modish: think avocado and shiso salad with wafu dressing, soft-shell crab roll and donburi rice bowls, plus ‘raw’ desserts such as lime and coconut tart (all organic, vegan and gluten-free, obviously).
Dalston Roof Park (above)
Opening its doors on 1 May for another summer of eating, drinking and dancing under the sun and stars is Dalston Roof Park. Modelled on an English country garden overflowing with herbs and hops, Dalston’s only rooftop bar overlooks Hackney’s Victorian warehouses and the City’s towering skyscrapers. Just don’t get too near the edge.
The Glory (below)
The tangible result of drag superstar Jonny Woo’s wickedly mischievous imagination, The Glory fills a hole in the market as a quirkily decked-out super pub, incorporating camp cabaret and a naughty nightclub in the basement. If cheap drinks, debauchery, drag, and discotekking ain’t your thing, steer clear.
A Little of What You Fancy
Encapsulating the hipster gentrification of once-gritty Dalston, you’ll definitely fancy more than a little bit of what this shabby-chic British restaurant has to offer. The menu of heritage tomatoes, English asparagus with 24-month Parmesan, shakshuka and Stoke Newington-smoked salmon followed by pomegranate and pistachio mess would have old school Eastenders turning in their graves.
POND Dalston (below)
Aloha! Hawaii has arrived in a Dalston warehouse in the form of smart cocktail bar and restaurant Pond. Hawaiian cuisine is melded with Chinese, Japanese and Filipino flavours brought together with modern techniques and global ingredients, all given an American wash. From tuna maki to slow-roasted pork, there’s something to satisfy all tastebuds.
The Richmond (below)
A refurbed pub with Brett Redman (of Elliot’s Cafe) at the helm, this London Fields restaurant of impeccably sourced food has a raw bar boasting oysters, clams, carpaccio and ceviche. For those who prefer their food cooked they do an excellent Sunday roast, while bar offerings include a very ‘now’ raw wine list and Negronis on tap. Because it’s Dalston.
Even in rapidly regenerating east London, where nothing is as it once was, Shanghai – converted from an old eel and pie shop – is a fascinating sign of the times. Dalston’s quirkiest Chinese restaurant has been here forever, probably because the menu flouts convention in favour of giving punters what they want – in short, dim sum night and day (from £2.80). Karaoke rooms make the venue a good shout for a party.
Soli Zardosht at Café Oto
Serving some of the best Persian street food around, chef Soli Zardosht has been turning heads at Broadway Market with her contemporary takes on the meals she ate growing up in the Middle East. Her signature dish – saffron and orange chicken – is to die for, and what better place to enjoy it than experimental music venue Café Oto, described by Italian Vogue as the coolest venue in Britain (Yoko Ono once performed here, don’t ya know…).
White Rabbit (above)
What was the Baby Bathhouse has disappeared into a silken top hat and emerged blinking as the White Rabbit. Styled as a cocktail club, its ‘drink me’ potions are a hit with the Stoke Newington set, with pizza and antipasti from nearby Il Bacio to soak it all up. Chill out in the whimsical Victorian garden or dance until late in the Rabbit Hole – a clubby basement where edgy rock, electro and Balearic beats rule.
This article was published 24 April 2015