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Insider knowledge: a local’s guide to Forest Gate

Posted at 9:15 am, July 15, 2012 in Olympics & Paralympics, Secret London

Neil Zakiewicz © Rob GreigOver the past few weeks we’ve been giving you a little insight into the unsung heroes of the Olympic boroughs and seeing as the main event is breathing down our necks, we wanted to make you privy to the local’s knowledge of Forest Gate.

Name Neil Zakiewicz Age 40 Occupation Artist Where the heart is Forest Gate, E7 Nearest Olympic venue ‘From the centre of Forest Gate it’s a 25-minute walk to the Olympic Park.’

Why do you love it?
‘I’ve lived in the area for ten years, but before I moved here, I knew very little about it. It’s accessible, but has retained a quirky, undiscovered feel. Unlike Stratford, it has kept a lot of its old Victorian architecture.’

Where should we go?
To shop?Websters is a DIY store that sells everything from U-bends to sash windows. There’s also a pet shop and garden centre called Smallholders, and we ended up buying our cat Georgina from there.
To chill out?Wanstead Flats is the area’s greatest asset. Its semi-wild grassland is particularly green this year because of all the rain. I didn’t realise how big it was until I started jogging around it.’
To drink? ‘The Golden Fleece (166 Capel Road, E12) is opposite the grassland of Wanstead Flats. It’s a local, family-friendly pub that even has a climbing frame in the beer garden.’
To eat? ‘The Forest Gate Hotel is good for a Sunday roast: it’s a very cosy pub. Green Street is a bit like Brick Lane without the tourists and Vijay’s Chawalla restaurant is a favourite.’ To find some local colour? ‘There’s a new Saturday market on the corner of Woodgrange and Sebert Roads that sells artisan food and has great bread.’

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