Eat at E5!
A blend of hipster craftsmanship mixed evenly with some long standing East London traditions has led the London borough of Hackney along with the eastern fringes of Islington to yield some especially delicious baked goods. Here’s a slice by slice route to some of the best bakeries – old and new – around this part of town.
Not one for carb dodgers, the list starts near London Fields and Broadway Market (visit on Saturdays for one of London’s best food markets and for prime people watching) and bows its way north-westerward to Finsbury Park.
395 Railway Arches, Mentmore Terrace, E8 3PH
Owner Ben MacKinnon and his bakers are sourdough and ancient grain enthusiasts at this fairly new but already East London institution. Using recipes based on traditional techniques and natural ingredients, E5’s loaves are borne of one of four sourdough starters: locally-sourced organic flour, water and salt (the essence of any sourdough bread). The breads develop through a slow fermentation process that lasts up to 72 hours. Every bread is mixed, kneaded and shaped by hand, then baked fresh daily before the crack of dawn. Ben and co believe “we are making some of the most delicious breads in London.” A loyal following of happy customers would wholeheartedly agree.
19 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NS
Cake! The freshly baked and really inventive line up of seasonally changing treats at this spiffy local cafe (great coffee!) inspires and beckons. Beetroot cheesecake? White chocolate orange cheesecake? Poppyseed and amaretto cake? Spiced orange rolls? Oh yeah. Even the crusty bread that accompanies the home made goulash (worth a write up on its own) is excellent. Just in time for the holidays, Dreyfus is serving up mince pies and stollen until they close the kitchen for a hard earned Christmas break.
152-156 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0QJ
Perhaps the greatest corner shop in all the world – definitely one of the friendliest and with a most ardent following of local shoppers. Palm sells E5 Bakehouse breads along with their own creations baked in the back of the store. Croissants here more than please, especially if you’re lucky enough to get ’em fresh from the oven. The spinach and feta pancakes at £2.50 are a bargain of a fast and fairly healthy lunchtime option.
126 Upper Clapton Road, E5 9JY
The dudes from E5 Bakehouse just opened this to-the-point and back-to-basics pizzeria. Offering a smartly curated range of a few beers, a few wines and a menu of only four pizzas, it’s all about the sourdough at Sodo. They serve weekly specials, tiramisu and outstanding homemade ginger ale as well.
J Grodzinski & Daughters
170 Clapton Common, E5 9AG
London family bakers since 1888, the “Grodz” has been baking kosher breads and cakes for over a century ever since the Grodzinski family immigrated to England from Lithuania. Great bagels, jelly doughnuts, American-style cookies and plenty more.
Happening Bagel Bakery
284A Seven Sisters Road, N4 2AA
Hand-rolled, boiled and baked as owner Isaac Cohen learned working at various bakeries across London, are these the best bagels in London? That’s a tough one to answer! But Happening Bagel Bakery is without doubt a strong contender for the top spot in town and would receive more than an honorable mention on any reputable foodie’s list. Located conveniently close to Finsbury Park Station, these bagels are happening indeed … and really hard to pass up when you’re in the area.
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photo: Chris Osburn