East London Food & Culture

Eight Things We Learnt This Week: tulips, trails, terraces – and a wine bar

Plus: an ex-Ivy team are transforming the Hitchcock Hotel into a destination pub and restaurant

1. Street festies & markets are back

First up is the Francis Road Community Jumble Trail, a sprawling affair that’s back for another outing on Sunday 30th May – how good was last year’s? – followed by the rowdier Francis Road Street Party on July 4th (both 11am-3pm), with live music, stalls, tombola and more. Later that month vintage and upcycled freaks should head for the Made In Waltham Forest market (24th and 25th July) organised by Leyton & Stone Designers.

2. Is Wine Bar & More more ‘More’ than ‘Wine Bar’?

This landmark corner Leyton High Road building has been restored for its new incarnation. But, while the pavement terrace has been buzzing (and eye-catchingly lit) this last week, we’re a little confused about exactly what’s on offer. An Instagram account says it’s ‘an opulent and glamorous Greek restaurant and bar in the heart of Leyton’: which sounds kinda wow. But the menu reads as ‘international’ (steak £22, Greek salad £11, pan-fried salmon £18, pasta £16-19); and the wine list, which you’d imagine the star turn, is the briefest flit through corner-shop staples like Pinot Grigio, Malbec, Merlot and Sauvignon. What a time to be alive! Fun corner to people-watch with a pint, anyway. @winebarandmore.london 

Waltham Forest Fostering

Breakfast Club at Here East. Photo: SE

3. Here East now has full cover

On a drizzly Thursday last week we undertook one of our regular towpath walks and were impressed by the industrial new roof which makes the strip of restaurants and bars at Here East all-weather and as heated as can be in the great outdoors. Woop. Totally packed, but then it was the first Thursday after April 12th. We also have our eye on the cute new Lock Inn pub, too, for a future pint. @hereeast


4. There’s a magical church in the Forest

We’re not sure why it took so long to discover this beautiful pile (below pic), but its leafy forest location and dazzling romanesque splendour – designed by John Shaw and built in 1840 – is worth the short walk over Leyton Flats. Equally world-class, half an hour’s walk south-east is the much-admired Georgian late 18th century St Mary The Virgin right on the tip of Wanstead Park.

St Peter-in-the-Forest
St Peter-in-the-Forest. Photo: SE

5. The Hitchcock is getting revamped

A reader tipped us off that local mum Ruth and her business partner Will, who both used to work for The Ivy, have just taken over E11’s best located pub. The Hitchcock Hotel on Whipp’s Cross Road, overlooking Leyton Flats and seconds from Hollow Pond, has just opened its terrace for bar snacks, cocktails, craft beers and more. The pair have also recruited an ex-Ivy head chef for the Rear Window (geddit?) restaurant and Alfred’s Bar, still under wraps, which follow on May 17th. Look out for our feature next week. @thehitchcockhotel 

6. Outdoor seating: huzzah!

Speaking of terraces, it’s 100% cheering to see that Francis Road now has a dizzying array of alfresco tables and chairs, from Phlox and Zaxx up past Marmelo to Strange Brew and Yardarm. Also exciting up on Grove Green Road are the various new terraces at lovely Unity Cafe, and the parasolled benches placed by the Heathcote & Star to turn the pedestrianised corner into something approaching a piazza. Yes, let’s call it a piazza, dammit.

Grove Green Road piazza
Come 5pm the new piazza is roadblock. Photo: SE

7. Coronation Gardens is a beauty

Yep, we all know about the bluebells in Wanstead Park, now bracing themselves to enter full-on Instagram saturation, but the tulips – purple, red and yellow – on Coronation Gardens (main pic, above) along with the blossom, are just as impressive. Catch them before they droop. As we all will.

8. You lot like a list

Our guide to 18 outdoor terraces was only meant to be a friendly, not entirely comprehensive, round-up of some of the best places to sink a coffee or pint, but it seemed to provoke something of a ‘mass debate’ (ahem). Thanks for all the feedback, people. While specifically limited to E10 and E11, we hope a separate outdoor guide to Forest Gate will be coming up soon: if you’re an E7 business get involved and help us make it happen: info@leytonstoner.london

Waltham Forest Fostering
Fostering Waltham Forest are holding a Foster Care Fortnight Coffee Morning on May 18th. Intrigued? Find out more here.

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