Stratford may be hogging the limelight, but there are several other areas that will be linked with the Olympic Games this summer. We’re calling on residents from all six Olympic host boroughs (Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Barking & Dagenham) to be our guides and tell us what makes their particular patch of London special.
Age 27. Occupation Copywriter. Where the heart is Haggerston, E2.
‘I’ve lived here for five years and this area is more than “on the road to Shoreditch” or anywhere else in Hackney – although it is a mere 30-minute walk away from the Olympic Park.
‘What makes it special? Haggerston Tearoom for one. This quaint café looks quite out of place nestled between a betting shop and a newsagent. Venture inside and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been teleported into an episode of “Last of the Summer Wine”, but with less slapstick. With bunting pinned to the walls and homemade jams on display, it’s not for the tweephobic; but if you’re a tea lover, it’s a mustvisit. Try a pot of their rosebud tea – or regret it forever.
‘Honourable mentions must also go to stalwart local The Haggerston which is great for a pint-pizza combo, and A Little of What You Fancy, a perfect date restaurant on Kingsland Road. My favourite haunt for lunch, a piece of cake or a right old booze-up is Power Lunches. Any establishment that claims to be a café, gig venue, bar and exhibition space would usually have me running for the hills, or at least London Fields, but these guys get it right on every count. I’m a Cheryl Cole superfan who doesn’t care one way or the other about local bands, but the staff at Power Lunches do. Thier passion for the local music and arts scene is unquestionable yet the place is so unpretentious that even a pophead like me feels right at home downing cheap cocktails there.
‘Head to the arches next to Haggerston Overground Station and you can find Primitive, one of the area’s recently opened art spaces, which features installation pieces as well as designer clothes from Tokyo. Finally, when you’ve had enough ‘urban edge’, Haggerston Park adds a touch of greenery to the not-so-mean streets.
‘So think again, naysayers: this neighbourhood is Hackney’s hidden gem!’