Yesterday morning I woke early and made the trek from Shepherds Bush to London Fields, so I could have brekky with one of my loveliest ladies. There was no question that we would meet anywhere other than e5 bakehouse.
When I lived in Hackney, we were a mere five minute wander from the wonders of e5. In hindsight I was very spoiled.
What we ate: I’ve spent the last month eliminating wheat from my diet, for reasons I won’t bore you with, but I sighed with relief knowing this wouldn’t be an issue at e5. Nicnac enjoyed her customary granola with fruit & yogurt while I nommed on toasted rye with honey, banana and some sort of cinnamony-nutty-dukkah style crunchy topping. Plus a loaf of seeded rye for the road. Brekky + loaf + a heavenly flat white set me back £10.80. Bargain.
This place is a bit of an institution, so I’d strongly suggest popping by if you find yourself in the London Fields/Broadway Market area. Nestled under a railway arch, with a permanent queue of hungry Hackneysiders snaking out of the bakery, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a table. Grit your teeth, get your elbows out and fight your ground.
e5 location/details etc: Arch 395, Mentmore Terrace, E8 3PH. Check out www.e5bakehouse.com for details of their bread making courses. I keep meaning to book onto one and report back…
Brixton Village is the place to be seen in London at the moment. The food is tasty, the culture is vibrant and the hipsters are a-plenty.
I am not cool at all so I didn’t discover the delights of the Brixton food scene until very recently. We trekked south of the river on a windy Saturday just before St Jude hit England.
Overwhelmed by the very many food options, I resorted to a Twitter plea along the lines of ‘Help! What should I eat?’. Luckily my co-workers are food geeks too and I received several enthusiastic tips within the space of ten minutes. Yay for geekery! I was feeling a bit hungover tired and overwhelmed by the crowds so we nabbed a seat at ‘the mexican place’ and ordered up large.
El Panzon mexican
To start, we shared a platter of tortilla chips with guacamole, sour cream and salsa. Portion size isn’t an issue here – the platter was nearly overflowing onto the table. The tortilla chips were fresh, crunchy and delightful but the salsa was lacking in kick.
Our second starter (ooh naughty) was the fish tacos, adorned with regular-spice-level- sauce. Wish I’d gone for the ‘fuck I’m dead’ sauce as ‘regular’ should have been labelled ‘bland’. I’d heard rave reviews about these tacos and while they were lovely, I was a wee bit underwhelmed for some reason. They weren’t as zesty or tangy as similar dishes I’ve had before.
For a main I got stuck right into a pulled pork burrito with all the trimmings and hot-level hot-sauce. The meat was tender, the fillings were juicy and generous, but again, I wish I’d gone for the ‘fuck I’m dead’ sauce as the meal just wasn’t giving me the spice kick I was after. I mean, Mexican street food in a foodie jaunt that taunts you with it’s claims to spiciness? Can do better, El Panzon. The basics are there but the extras aren’t.
The verdict: 3.5/5
In a sentence: Nice, but give me a £6 Chilango burrito any day of the week: tastier with ‘zingier’ flavours and spicier sauces. Of course, now I want to go back to Brixton Village and try ‘the crepe place’ and ‘the seafood place’ that were our second choices. I’ve been reliably informed that El Panzon’s soups are ace.
Location etc:El Panzon, Brixton Village Market, 1 Granville Arcade, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8PR, London
Imagine a Gothic Disney-style castle with dark towering spires. Overlooking a cobbled square with copper statues, horse carts, hog roasts and crepe vendors. Add craft beer and strip bars to the mix and you’ve got Prague, a city of sleaze-and-beauty, rather than Sleeping Beauty. It was my first trip to the Czech Republic and my fellow travellers were Prague-virgins too.
The digs Our crew rented a six-bed apartment in the Downtown Apartments complex, a five-minute walk from the Old Town central square. The apartment was spacious and warm, with a wee kitchenette for much-needed morning fry-ups. It worked out to £37.50 per person – bargain much?
Prague in a day-and-a-half
So here’s the deal: you’ve made it to Prague, finally, but you’re dishevelled and harassed from the previously-mentioned flight dramas. Here’s what you should do to perk right up again.
1. Eat at Bakeshop Because you’ll want an awesome feed for the day ahead. You’ll have to fight for a window table but it’ll be worth it. I sampled the pumpkin and feta tart, side salad and some of the ham & cheese quiche. The lattes are decent enough, bit on the giant side. This ain’t a cheap place, I spent 500 koruna (roughly £15) to feed two of us. But the rest of the city is so cheap you won’t care. Bakeshop: Kozí 918/1.
2. Explore the square. The buildings in the Old Town Square are amazing and there are crazy gargoyles everywhere. See the famous clock if you must (it puts on a little show every hour on the hour) but it was pretty underwhelming. Hell, I’d even say it’s shit and don’t bother – but you probably will, coz someone said the same thing to me and I went anyway. The food stalls in the square are delish, especially the hog roast.
3. Beer stop! It’s tough work being on holiday. You’re lucky there’s an amazing hidden bar underneath the square. Opposite the clock is an unassuming alleyway that takes you past a Starbucks. Go just past the Starbucks and you’ll see the signs for U Zlate Konvice, an underground haven of delicious beer and taxidermied animals. Very Gothic. As far as Prague goes the beers are pricey at 98 koruna each (roughly £3), compared to 30-ish at other places (£1). U Zlate Konvice: Melantrichova 477/20.
4. Shop at the junk markets behind the square. Buy shit you don’t need. Someone in our crew bought a Russian doll toy that was painted to look like members of the All Blacks rugby team, complete with a teeny tiny Piri Weepu in the middle of it. As you do, Prague. As you do.
5. Another beer stop! Since the first one didn’t quite hit the spot, you need another beer, obvs. Our second stop was for an outdoor beer at Lavka Club, overlooking the famous Old Town Bridge. The beers were cold, the blankets were snuggly and the sun was starting to set. Nice. Lavka Club: Novotného lávka 201/1.
6. Photos on the famous ‘statue bridge’ as the sun sets. The Old Town Bridge is one of the prime landmarks and is also an ace spot for photobombing other people’s pictures…
7. Yet another beer stop! With chips! It was getting cold, so we needed even more beer. A friend had recommended we try The Pub, where you can order casks for your table, but it turns out you need a reservation to get a seat on a Saturday so we couldn’t get in. Just around the corner from The Pub we stumbled across Kozlovna and I am Glad That We Did. The beers were cheap and plentiful and the staff were hilarious. My memory gets a bit hazy here but I am pretty sure two rounds of large beers, plus chips and some shots of the local nut liquer, set us back about £20 equivalent. Tops. Kozlovna: Křížovnická 4
8. It’s probably time you eat something. Yes, that’s a good idea. I can’t quite recall how we chose our dinner location. Or what it was called. Or where it was. What I do know is that I ate goulash with potato dumplings. At a really nice place that was stumbling distance from Kozlovna. Sorry I can’t be of more help.
1.Get your hungover ass out of bed and eat something. You won’t want to but you’ll thank me later. Grab a coffee and a snack from one of the plentiful bakeries (but don’t get one of the star-shaped fruit pastries you’ll see everywhere, because gross).
2. Get thee to the Strahov Monastery. The views are great. The monks brew good beer. They make damn tasty goulash-in-a-bun. And it’s pretty. Strahov Monastery Strahovské nádvoří 1/132
3. Check out the castle. Take some photos, the view is great. We didn’t go inside. It was too much. Prague Castle: Pražský hrad, 119 08 Praha 1
4. Have another beer, on a boat. A floating restaurant is still a boat. We sat here as the sun set and it was a beautiful way to end a rowdy, lovely weekend. The swans floated by as we sipped our ice teas and eventually felt brave enough for a beer. Marina Grosetto Ristorante: Alšovo nábřeží, 110 00 Praha 1
And man oh man are these some tasty buns. The buns themselves are basically dumpling-dough (sweet & fluffy = good times) with 4 options for fillings: chicken, pork, fish or veg.
The damage: Buns are £3.50 each, or two for £6.50 so it’s a cheap feed.
What to eat: I wasn’t going home without trying the crispy fish special with coriander mayo and crunchy spring onions. Drool. Second on the agenda was the pork bun, which had less of the zingy flavours of the fish but was bursting full of porky goodness. Mmmm. We washed it all down with a quick pint at the neighbouring pub, where you can perch on the counter and eat your buns in style. Overall a great snack on the go and deserving of the hype. Yum Bun: we will be back!
Location: Stumbling distance from Old St roundabout, Yum Bun’s at 31 Featherstone St, EC1Y 2BJ