Saturday 15th February - Another day, another overdue write up on The List. Easter Holidays are round the corner, I'm going to sort it all out. Probably. Anyway, better late than never? Absolutely! Four absolutely awesome places to mention from one fun day out in East London, starting with The Good Egg brunch at Cortado.
Run by old friend Joel Braham, The Good Egg has been getting a lot of great press recently, all thoroughly deserved, praising their delicious eggy brunches which are currently running at Cortado in Hoxton (Sat&Sun - 9am-4pm) and The Hangover Club in Hackney Wick (Sat only - 10am-4pm). You can book places through Grub Club (highly recommended for a Mother's Day Special this Sunday) or you can just rock up and try your luck. Rumour has it, Joel will be opening his own joint for The Good Egg soon too.
We called ahead and reserved a table for a Saturday morning, with my sisters and Al & Tim coming along to try and pick up a few crucial Team List points before the 1 year cut off point on Feb 22nd a week later. The Cortado is well placed next to Regent's Canal, and is nicely set up with egg-based jokes lying around, plus Yumchaa tea, Allpress Espresso, cakes, and Mimosas & Bloody Marys available. A lovely little bowl of free fresh fruit was brought to our table for us to enjoy whilst we mulled over the menu.
I normally go for the outstanding Shakshuka (Cotswold Legbar eggs baked in a smokey, spiced tomato & pepper sauce topped with lemon yoghurt & toasted za'atar sourdough served with Merguez sausages or Halloumi) but I couldn't resist a bit of pesto so I went for the special of the day, Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs & Ham - two poached eggs with Italian Prosciutto on sourdough toast topped with homemade pesto. It disappeared in seconds.
Three went for the classic & reliable Breakfast Burrito (Tortilla packed with fluffy eggs, crispy potatoes, refried black beans, mature cheddar, roasted chilli salsa & homemade guacamole) whilst Jo controversially went for an egg free Reuben (home cured salt beef griddled with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing & sauerkraut on rye). Sadly noone ordered the Gary Barlow (that bloke off the Eggs-factor), a sandwich with chorizo, avocado & a fried egg.
The food is always fantastic, the staff are always charming, and the locations are always cosy & cool - The Good Egg brunch should be on everyone's to-do list.
Next stop, Ziferblat. Em & Al left, but Caroline joined at this quirky Russian café / social experiment tucked away above Bar Kick in Shoreditch. The premise is simple, pay 3p per minute that you stay and help yourself to as much tea/coffee etc as you wish. Food is not provided but you can bring along anything you like and make use of the tiny kitchen, provided that you help to look after the communal space. You can even volunteer to help out in exchange for free minutes another time.
Ziferblat started in Russia as Pocket Poetry - classic poetry was put on tiny laminated cards and left for passers by to find and pop into their pockets. Eventually they moved into a little attic in Moscow which they called the Tree House where people could come and play the piano, read books, recite poetry, have a coffee etc. Payment was voluntary and a suitcase was left near the entrance for donations. That was such a success that the Tree House is now Ziferblat HQ and many more "Ziferblats" have opened since. New York is next on the list.
You fill in a timesheet on arrival, and pick a ceremonious clock from the shelf. We went for Harold who was a little stuffy, but he was a lot more chirpy than poor old Alfred. It's a lovely little touch (of which there are many) that makes a stay in Ziferblat even more pleasant.
All around, people were messing around on whiteboards and flipcharts, making origami, chatting, working, reading (spot Tim soaking up Art in the USSR below) and relaxing. We got involved with a venn diagram project on Sane/Single/Crazy/Attached men that some ladies near us had undertaken. It does have that hippy commune vibe going on (especially when you are washing up in the kitchen), but at the same time there's free wi-fi, groups celebrating with champagne, and others working away on iMacs, so there's no chance of it going all Martha Marcy May Marlene on you.
Ziferblat is open from 9am-11pm every day, give it a try and don't forget to bring biscuits, preferably milk chocolate hobnobs. Thanks.
Next stop, more personnel changes. Tim & Jo out, Lauren, Paul & Luke in. We wandered round the corner to find the Craft Beer Social Club's latest pop-up pub. The CBSC has popped up in London Fields and Shoreditch High Street already, and had a very brief month long stay in a flat basement in Leonard Street which we went along to.
CBSC set themselves up in fun spaces, and serve up affordable and interesting British beers (mostly bottles) alongside rotating food residencies. Flippin' Cow were turning out some delicious looking lamb wraps when we were there. Interestingly, they accept Bitcoin, the digital currency that has been making the headlines recently. I won't bore you with the details, mostly because I don't really know what I'm talking about, but expect to see a lot more of Bitcoin this year. The Old Shoreditch Station coffee bar nearby has already installed a Bitcoin ATM! Click here for a newbie guide to buying Bitcoins.
We absolutely loved the Leonard Street site, it was a cute little living room with cosy corners, low lighting and comfy chairs. I could imagine it turning into a very sociable evening in such a small space, which is just what CBSC want. What a shame it was only here for a month! Keep your eyes peeled for their next pop-up.
Now, the beer. Alongside the familiar Curious, Crate & Brixton beers, we also enjoyed Yakima IPA & Black Jesus from Great Heck Brewing, Yorkshire Special Pale Ale from Wharfe Bank Brewery and Wold Top Scarborough Fair IPA, all from Yorkshire. We were less taken with St.Andrews Brewing Crail Ale but we had a good run.
The bottle for Great Heck Brewing's Black Jesus kept us fairly amused:
The atmosphere was wonderful, the hostess/landlady was charming and beers were great. We are all Craft Beer Social Club converts, and are looking forward to visiting them wherever they pop up next - I hear SW11 is nice this time of year.
Last stop - we lost Paul & Lauren who sped off to Brewdog Shepherd's Bush for a quick drink before a n awesome Less than Jake & Reel Big Fish gig, but Caroline & Luke were still in. The three of us hopped on a bus to London Fields and made our way to the Platterform rooftop to experience the High Seas! I wrote fairly recently about Platterform's lumberjack themed Skylodge which was a riot, so I was pretty keen to see what they had done with the place.
For fifteen weeks (count from 16th January), everything on the rooftop is Sea Adventure themed - décor, captain's cocktails, seafood residencies, games, hats - it's all going on. Check the website to see what is coming up. They have transformed the space in style as you can see in photos below, but do go and experience it for yourselves - there's nowhere more fun in London right now.
We were there for Dave Yorkston's Smoke House, and we happily worked our way through his whole menu. Dave converted a cupboard into a smoking room for all the fish as you can see below. An absolute bargain at £24 for 4 (generous) courses, it was fantastic from start to finish - the smoked Bloody Mary sauce was a highlight.
|Dave Yorkston's Smoke House|
|Dave Yorkston's Smoking Cupboard|
The week after saw TOKO Indonesian Kitchen, Bar & Deli taking over the cooking, serving up 13 courses for £24 all served on a large Rijsttafel ("rice table") sharing platter. TOKO will be launching a full-time establishment in London later in 2014.
|TOKO Indonesian Kitchen, Bar & Deli|
In the galley tonight is Vinn Goute Seychelles' Kitchen - you can buy tickets in advance here or just turn up and find a table. Vinn Goute are presenting a tropical seafood feast including two of the Seychelles most prized fish- the Bourgeois Red Snapper and the King Fish. The Foragers are then turning up for two weeks.
|Vinn Goute Seychelles' Kitchen|
Onto the drinks! There are great bottled beers, including Einstock, Five Points, Harviestoun and Anchor (nicely strung up above your head), but really you should embark on the Captain's Cocktail Quest. There's the Zissou Sour with mezcal, absinthe & sea salt foam, Fish Called Wonder with hibiscus anemone & vodka jellyfish, Black Pearl Margarita with tequila & black mustard tapioca pearls, and the bonkers Phileas Fogg with smoked bourbon sazerac & absinthe helium, to name a few of their crazy creations. They may sound silly, but they are still very serious drinks to taste and will keep cocktail conoisseurs happy.
|Phileas Fogg with absinthe helium|
|Is that a sea anemone attached to Julian's chin?|
|Fish called Wonder with hisbiscus anemone & vodka jellyfish|
|Black mustard tapioca pearls for the Black Pearl Margarita|
|Creating the sea salt foam for the Zissou Sour|
|Zissou Sour with Sea Salt Foam|
We finished the evening with a game of Battleshots - much the same as battleships, but with 1, 2 and 3 length shot boards replacing boring plastic boats. This includes Visu (Fisherman's Friend infused vodka!), Stickleback (Jameson / Beetroot Shrub with Pickleback Foam), and Limey (Mount Gay Eclipse / Lime & Apple / Jasmine, Grenadine & Crate IPA). The 2 / 3 shot length ships are effectively shots with funky chasers. They foolishly let Caroline use the foam machine herself - she misjudged the power and blew her side of the board to smithereens.
|Battleshots at Platterform Sea Adventure Series|
It was another great evening with the Platterform team, they are always entertaining hosts and they have an excellent sense of humour as you can see from the dating profile that they have set up for Mr Winkle on Tinder.
I've said it for every place in this post so far, but make sure you go and check this out. Very highly recommended, fun for all, and top food & drink in a totally unique location. Thanks to various team members for keeping me company throughout the day!