East London Food & Culture

4 Things To Consider: Black History Month, Leyton Technical, Hackney Bridge -and Zaxx

Ideas for October weekends - as well as three more sad closures to contemplate

Black History Month

There’s a lot going on throughout October in the borough, most of it free. We enjoyed catching Dem Live A Foreign at Host in Leyton Midland recently, and this week it moves to Chingford. This free pop-up exhibition reveals the hidden cultural traditions of London’s Caribbean and Somali communities, with a snapshot recreation of their homes during key periods of celebration (pictured above, as seen in Leyton). Expect a fully immersive experience of Caribbean and Somali culture recreated through imaginative sets, words, audio, pictures, live music on Saturdays, and tasty food. 228 Chingford Mount Road, E4 8JL, Mon-Sat, 10am to 5pm, until 22nd October. More info.

Meanwhile, over in Leytonstone Library, catch a touring exhibition which raises awareness of the Windrush generation and the barriers they’ve had to overcome, as well as the Black community’s role in the health service (ends 17th Oct, more info).

Patchworks E10
Patchworks E10: enter through the gates. Photo: SE

Next up, on 19th Oct at Bakers Arms and 20th Oct in Leytonstone there’s a Carnival Workshop, in which participants use recycled materials to create headpieces and accessories for an exhibition as part of the Waltham Forest Carnival Conversation. Free for everyone of all ages, experience and abilities to take part. More info.

Finally, on 29th Oct, check out the Culture Market at Patchworks, for the sounds, flavours and creativity of our local Caribbean and African communities, with small local producers and street-food vendors (258 Church Road Leyton). There’ll be shopping, music, children’s play area and a Capoeira workshop (led by Brazillian Capoeiraista Paulinha). Follow @troditionculturemarket


Read the complete line-up of Black History Month events here.

Hackney Bridge
Hackney Bridge. Photo: SE

Hackney Bridge Turns 2

Our nearest streetfood hall, perched canalside on the edge of the Olympic Park, turns two this month. So if you haven’t yet been, perhaps now’s the time. And to mark their 2nd birthday, they’re throwing a 4-day blowout bash. On 20th Oct punters are invited to show off their creative talents whether it be poetry, singing, dancing, spoken word or drag; on Oct 21st it’s What’s the Craic Hackney? A night of laughs with the legends from Backdoor Comedy Club; on Oct 22nd, DJ Anja Ngozi + Phoebs MC are serving up live music, and finally on Oct 23rd it’s the Real Roots Reggae + Ramon Judah, with live music, DJs as well as an appearance from Hackney Dub Club. More @hackney_bridge

2015 heyday #throwback: Leyton Tech. Photo PR

Leyton Technical and other closures

We were saddened to see Leyton High Road’s formative pub post on social media that they are “temporarily closed until further notice. ” It turns out there’s a notice of forfeiture on the door now too, and the landlords have taken possession. In the current climate, it does seem to be especially tough for hospitality: two more notable closures in the last week are the excellent (and, we think, pioneering) Lighthaus Café on Argall Avenue, and, just as influential, and utterly surprising, Here East’s fantastic vegan cafe Mother Works, which managed to stick it out for six years before announcing its closure yesterday.  This is after another plant-based venture, Spice Box, shut up shop in Leytonstone this month. Key learning: support your locals, if you have the disposable income to do so.

Read on below for our new favourite meal at Zaxx on Francis Road…

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Zaxx chicken burger: utterly delish

We never understand why Francis Road’s Korean joint seems to divide opinion amongst locals: we’ve always enjoyed its relatively healthy bowls of bibimbap (read our original review here) with their nine different plant-based ingredients. But last Saturday was arguably our best yet: a creamily moreish bowl of yuzu fried tofu, with its Japanese 7-spice citrus dressing, was super delish, while our first try of the signature crispy tea-brined fried chicken burger, was also a proper flavourbomb. This is tender chicken thigh at its best, the tempura light, with pickles, gochu glaze, creamy nyam sauce – and the bun sturdy enough not to collapse. Quite literally smashed it. Find out more about Zaxx, 161 Francis Road E10, here.

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