East London Food & Culture

Go Walala! Six Things We Learnt This Week

From Cafe Juno to Luna Lounge, Hooksmith to Exale, half a dozen newsy nuggets to take you into the weekend
Light and healthy: Juno. Photo: Stephen Emms

1. Juno Cafe makes a lovely lunch

Next to co-working space Mainyard Studios (formerly This Time Next Year), and a stone’s throw from Coronation Gardens, Juno is an airy wellness space and cafe. With Ibizan chill trickling on the stereo, you can devour a plant-based menu of brunch, lunch and sweet stuff. The tables are carefully distanced and it’s not too busy (at the moment), either. Recommended is both the Perky Blenders coffee and lunch salads (£6.50 eat-in): our Asian quinoa with miso, heritage cauliflower, carrot, peanut and sesame was delish – and smugly healthy. 102 Rookery court, 80 Ruckholt Road E10 5FA. More info here.

2. There’s a new ethical refill in town

Top Up Shop is a Waltham Forest-based zero waste delivery service which offers a refill system as accessible as possible. Customers order via the website and the team deliver products in reusable containers. “When you’re done with them, simply reorder and when we next deliver we’ll switch out the empties with sparkly new ones,” says founder Ava Lyall. “We stock a wide range of food essentials such as locally made pasta, organic rice, beans, peas and pulses, as well as all sorts of home cleaning essentials and even some treats.” Follow @topupshopldn for more, or go here

The man speaks the truth: Hooksmith. Photo: SE

3. We heart Hooksmith – alot

It’s great that this open streetfacing stall on Church Lane, run by friendly bearded artist Russell Frost, (see our interview with him here) is again open post-lockdown; it’s such an attractive presence on the thoroughfare. But admittedly it had been a while since we had actually stopped and perused his latest letterpress works. And now this little gem, pictured above, adorns the back of our brand spanking new garden shed space. Follow @hooksmith, open weekends, 54 Church Lane E11

4. Hanoi Kitchen is now at William The Fourth

We were pleased when Vietnamese streetfood dons Hanoi Kitchen, who’ve previously run stalls at Kerb King’s Cross and Broadway Market, started a lockdown Friday-only service from their gaff near Leyton Midland Overground. Now they’ve only bagged a residency at the handsome High Road boozer William IV: expect signature dishes as well as a ‘banging’ Sunday roast. Yay. Follow @hanoikitchen for more info. William The Fourth, 816 High Rd E10 


Perfect pints: Exale Brewery. Photo: PR

5. Our fave Waltham Forest Pale Ale is…

We totally support a brewery that forages for ingredients locally. And that’s the case with E17’s Exale: their ‘Getting Figgy With It’ IPA uses dried figs collected from Walthamstow Gardens. Best of all though is the Pale Ale, a decent ABV (4.2%) with exactly the right level of citrus flavours, while the Dortmund Lager is crisp and clean, too. There are also low alcohol IPAs, such as the Ripa (2.5%), a thirst-quenching kick of grapefruit with himalayan salt. The bar itself is on the industrial estate that’s also home to ace ex-Leyton born brewery Signature Brew (as well as the new mega Truman Brewery). More info here. Unit 2C Uplands Business Park E17 5QJ

Love this gaff. Photo: SE

6. Don’t forget Luna lounge

Before lockdown, Leytonstone’s brilliant home of free live music was somewhere we’d invariably pop into for one on the way home, before stumbling back after staying way longer than intended (blame the Neck Oil). And, as most of you will probably have seen, it’s back open. Except – unlike all the absolutely chocka beer gardens and boozers round these parts now – this venue still hasn’t been allowed to do what it does best: put bands on every night. Plus it has no outside space. Owner Suja Khaled last weekend told us that he desperately needs locals to come back and drink at his bar – so get there this weekend for a pint, pronto.

And finally, isn’t the new Walala Parade (main pic) coming along nicely? For the full story on how it will transform the Leyton High Road block housing Deeney’s (and more), click here.

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