Brunch: Hand CafeThis welcoming café run by Dom and Eva, the people behind Hackney’s 46B Espresso Hut, does coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner and – my favourite – weekend brunch. On a sunny morning grab an outdoor table, sit back, relax and watch as E20 slowly wakes up (if it’s raining, there’s plenty of room inside). The high quality coffee is by Square Mile and food has a Greek influence. My usual order is a cappuccino and Hand’s take on shakshuka, a soft boiled egg sitting on top of a spicy tomato sauce, with charred spring onions, feta and sourdough toast, served in covetable retro black octagonal crockery. Open all day, 10-11 Victory Parade, E20 1FS, follow @cafehand
Casual dinner: Mama LanMama Lan started as a supper club back in 2010 inspired by the food dished up by owner Ning’s Ma’s mum and granddad on their dumpling and snack stall in Beijing. It morphed into a bricks and mortar restaurant in Brixton Village and, following the opening of a Shoreditch branch this week, there are now five across south and east London. The menu comprises noodle dishes, dumplings, skewers and street food. As long as I’m there with someone who’s willing to share, I go for a mixture of dumplings and small dishes and I always over order. Go with a big appetite and don’t leave without trying the too-tasty-for-words vegetable balls and as many types of dumpling as you have room for. Daily, 21-24 Victory Parade, E20 1FY, follow @mamalans
(More) brunch: Tina E20Tina’s mixes it up in the kitchen with three different kitchen residencies of an evening throughout the week: Leytonstone’s own Taco Dave serving up Mexican-themed deliciousness on a Wednesday and Thursday, Dawg doing awesome hotdogs (try the chilli dog, pictured) and fries on a Tuesday, and Sunday Giane’s kitchen, with Brazilian street food on Fridays and Saturdays. They’re all worth a try. If you’re a late riser, on Saturday and Sundays they do brunch until a very civilized 3pm. If I’m feeling particularly hungry, I order poached eggs on toast with sides of avocado and their seriously tasty mushrooms. 2 Olympic Park Avenue, E20 1FT, follow @TinaWeSaluteYou
Sunday lunch: Red Yellow BlueI’m in Red Yellow Blue, the bar, kitchen and digital art space from the Jaguar Shoes collective so frequently the staff assumed I lived in the flats above. I don’t; I just really like the light and airy space with moving art on two walls and living art on another, the sofa seating which gives it a living room vibe, the casual food (burgers, dogs, slaws and impossibly more-ish fries) and the super-friendly staff.
Last weekend they added ‘proper Yorkshire’ Sunday roasts to their food offering and, as a Yorkshire lass and a RYB super-fan I had to check it out. I’m happy to report that the roasts are seriously good: our plates were piled high with mash and roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower cheese, kale, parsnips, pigs in blankets, Yorkshire puddings and nut roast, beef or pork, all covered in a generous helping of gravy. I really didn’t need to try the pudding of treacle tart, but couldn’t resist. Daily all day, 27-30 Victory Parade, E20 1EY, follow @redyellowbluE20