The result of a collaboration between Pretty Decent Beer Co, Ransom Note Records and chef Fin Curran of Dalston pizza pioneers Voodoo Ray’s, the restaurant-cum-record-shop took over the arch formerly occupied by Johnny Rocco’s bar back in June. It’s on the stretch between Cranmer Road and Avenue Road that’s also home to recently reviewed Tromsø and next door to boxing training space MBox and yoga/pilates studio The Space East.
Don’t be put off by the slightly scruffy street outside: Tracks is the kind of neighbourhood gem you wish you lived around the corner from. Décor-wise the vibe is lo-fi chill and a masterclass on what you can do with a small space if you’re creative enough.
A well-stocked bar and open kitchen sit next to each other along one wall. Another is home to Ransom Note records, which comprises a listening booth, racks of vinyl and a DJ booth. The vinyl offering includes competitively priced disco, funk, house, boogie and garage.
A good rummage pretty much guarantees you a throwback classic you won’t be able to leave without purchasing. Seating is at high stools around three long sharing tables. Every time we visit, the plants – mostly cacti – seem to have multiplied in number. For sunny days there are picnic tables outside.
Open Wednesday to Sunday, brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays (10am until 3pm) and always includes a vegan, a vegetarian and a meaty option, so everyone’s happy, plus a selection of add-ons and boozy and booze-free drinks.
There are two “Bloody Marylands” – Mary, with vodka, and Maria with tequila – two mimosas, and virgin versions of both. On our most recent visit we had the vegan brunch – a slice of sourdough loaded with grilled artichokes, sautéed mixed wild mushrooms, smashed avocado and Tracks’ very own vegan mayo, plus a well-dressed mixed leaf and spring onion salad.
Walking the line between healthy and hangover-busting, it made for ideal morning-after-the-night-before food. With dancefloor-happy Sylvester as a soundtrack (unexpected but surprisingly worked on a Sunday morning) and followed by a walk on nearby Wanstead Flats under blue autumnal skies, I’m not sure there’s a better way to start the day.
I’m yet to check out Tracks of an evening. But, with a newly launched night-time menu featuring dishes such as griddled artichoke with tahini and cilantro dressing, smashed jackfruit mescal chilli and sriracha roasted cauliflower (that’s just the vegan options), plus a schedule which includes an Italian-food-meets-Italo-disco night, Beer + Burger bash and a new cocktail menu, I’m pretty sure that’s going to change soon.
Photo: Miranda Eason