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Monday, 26 October 2015

Matt The Jaunts : London Fields to Hackney Wick

Matt The Jaunts preamble: Whenever I take Matt The List abroad (keep an eye out for #MattTheTrips on Twitter / Instagram) we fit in as much as possible each day, from the pre-brunch coffee and doughnut (two separate stops of course) right through to the final nightcap at a 4am bar or a late night pizza delivery (thank God for Sizzle Pie).

Highlights have included 15 food & booze stops and as many miles of walking on my first day in NYC with Tim back in 2014, and similar hauls more recently in Paris and Portland (Oregon) with a strong team, all of which deserve proper posts on here at some point.

After a silly summer of travelling and ticking off a tonne of places (including 120 joints around West Coast USA in 14 days), visiting American friends inspired us to embark on similar outings around London.  It's an expensive game, and particularly exhausting for those with hefty work schedules, but we always love London a little bit more after an epic day out exploring.

So that's what Matt The Jaunts is...

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Route 1 : London Fields to Hackney Wick

Mentmore Terrace in London Fields

10.30am - Two tubes, two buses, and a train later, and boom I'm in London Fields. Just like that. Our first stop is Patty & Bun 'The Arch' on Mentmore Terrace.  All-time leading points scorer Tim is already seated and has got his legs out. 

Brunch buns are served from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and 10am-7pm Sunday, otherwise it's Smokey Robinson burgers all round. I power through a magnificent Smoked Ox Cheek, Scrambled Egg, Westcombe Cheddar & Pickled Chilli Bun (£6.50) whilst Tim desperately tries to contain Cheesy Scrambled Egg, Smoked Guacamole, Slow Roasted Tomatoes & Spring Onion Creme Fraiche (£5.50). Delicious carnage. Allpress Filter coffee with unlimited refills for £2 doesn't hurt either.

Smoked Ox Cheek Bun with Scrambled Egg, Westcombe Cheddar & Pickled Chilli at Patty & Bun "The Arch"

11am - We can't resist popping in to E5 Bakehouse next door for a treat. Brunch looks good here too, but on this occasion we come away with a gooey chocolate and sea salt cookie. They are pretty serious about their bread here, and there are often baking and cooking classes to get involved with. If you are craving pizza, pop in here on Sundays (or head to Lardo nearby). E5 Bakehouse is open 7am-7pm every day.

Looking for more coffee stops nearby? Try Climpson's Arch, Bolt or Coffee is My Cup of Tea.

Sea salt and chocolate cookie from E5 Bakehouse

11.30am - Two points already in the bag, and it's time for a loosener. Netil Market is hiding a teeny, tiny brewery and beer shop called ºPlato Brewing and Supplies so we stopped by for some 5% How Now Nut Brown Ale and a 5.4% Tenterhook IPA, direct from the source. Locals Olly and James join us, but they stick to classy cans of Red Stripe from another stall.

Netil Market is a glorious place; possibly London's loveliest little market. Be sure to visit if you haven't before, and start with a Bao bun and a Terrone coffee. It's open every Saturday from 11am-6pm.

Never been round the corner to Broadway Market? Head to The Cat & Mutton for Mother Clucker fried chicken, Hill & Szrok for next-level meat, and Kansas Smitty's for jazz and juleps.

Beer taps at Plato Brewing & Supplies in Netil Market

Plato Brewing & Supplies beers in Netil Market

12pm - Since it's sunny, we head up countless (three) flights of stairs to reach the Netil 360 Rooftop, only to find that it's their "closing party" and £3 entry despite it being a) midday and b) totally empty. No deal. 

We celebrate our combined £12 saving by snacking on artisan croissants and a Breton-style Kouign-amann (key-in-your-man) from Yeast Bakery. N.B. It's only open on Saturdays from 9.30am-5pm (at the time of writing). 

A couple more local London Fields tips: 

- A new bar and restaurant from Night Tales called NT's has just opened with top booze, a great view, and banging food from street food heroes Morty & Bob's. Check out my photos from a recent visit on Matt The Tumblr

Leo Carreira is about to start his residency at Climpson's Arch. Som Saa will be a hard act to follow, but the ex-Viajante chef is more than capable of handling that.

Kouign-amanns from Yeast Bakery

12.30pm - We trade O&J in for Sparkles, an experienced team member from our recent USA road trip, and head down Well Street towards the relatively new Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop. I'm a huge fan of the original Mother Kelly's in Bethnal Green. This little sister site in Homerton is currently just open for bottle sales and growler fills - no drinking in. Ask nicely and you can taste some stuff from the taps. Rumour has it they are converting the basement in to a drinking den. I'll be back. Damn fine bottle selection unsurprisingly.

After something stronger? Head over to Brahms & Liszt on Chatsworth Road for all the Mezcal and more in an off-beat off license and tasting room from Quiquiriqui queen Melanie Symonds.

Growler fill station at Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop

Great sharing bottles at Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop

Cans for the road from Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop

1pm - We purchase some high-class roadie cans for later, and head a few doors down to The Gun, a charming little pub with a vintage façade. The nice lady behind the bar kindly agrees to chill our Mother Kelly's stash whilst we sip on brews from Buxton, Partizan and Pressure Drop, and watch Spurs struggle against City.

1.30pm - Ella comes to join in the fun, and we ascend to The Gun's modest rooftop for a game or two of Shut The Box. I proceed to Batten Down The Hatches at the first time of asking. Downstairs, Spurs have found their shooting boots. It's all coming together.

Anything else nearby? Well Street Kitchen looks friendly, and a new neighbourhood bar called Machine No.3 is opening any day now.

The Gun on Well Street

Shut The Box!

2.30pm - Ella is too good at Shut(ting) The Box so we push on for Hackney Wick with our crafty Mother Kelly's cans, stopping for roadside LPs at Vinyl Pimp and incredibly slow coffees at The Hackney Pearl, a colourful café with lots of al fresco seating.

Seminal records at Vinyl Pimp

The Hackney Pearl

3pm - We level up from a strong quartet to a five-a-side team as List Leader 2013-14 Natalie joins us at Hackney Wick station. We march on to Crate Brewery and Pizzeria for... well, beers and pizza. It's a marvellous spot for outdoor boozing on the canal, especially when the sun is out, though the interior design is worth a look too, as is their Brew-Shed events space down the road.

The core beers are solid if not terribly exciting, though a couple of specials and a Crate sour catch the eye before I realise there are some awesome American bottles in the fridge.  A big bottle of The Bruery Reueze all the way from San Diego is reasonably priced - another beer is ticked off the bucket list.

Their pizzas do the job, though there are many better and less expensive examples of the genre in London these days. Across the car park, Burgerhub are slinging out enormous burgers for £6 - just sayin'. Our sixth and final team member Andy heads straight for it.

Crate Brewery and Pizzeria

A bottle of The Bruery Rueuze from San Diego at Crate Brewery and Pizzeria

Courgette, Feta, Red Onion and Gremolata pizza at Crate Brewery & Pizzeria

4.30pm - Our ultimate stop is the Howling Hops Tank Room bar, where 10 beers are served super fresh, directly from the brewery tanks. It's a beautiful, enormous room, evoking America's spacious brewery taprooms more than our Network Rail cupboards. Howling Hops grew up brewing out of The Cock Tavern's basement, but they have really moved up the property ladder here - something to aspire to!

Howling Hops Tank Room Bar

Howling Hops Tank Room Bar

Tim & Sparkles sharing

Natalie's tankards

Big Ella or small beer?

From Howling Hops, our ninth stop in 6 hours, we all go our separate ways, though there's plenty else nearby to enjoy. Counter Café & Roastery is another special spot on the canal, and you could peek behind the scenes Sandows cold brew coffee brewery and Truman's Beer round the corner if you so wish.

Got some suggestions for additions to this route? Want to send us out around another part of London? Leave comments below and I'll get back to you straight away.

Scores on the doors - 9 food & drink stops, 8 of them new to us: Tim (8), Sparkles (4), Ella (4), Olly (2), James (2), Natalie (1), Andy (1). Check the Team List leaderboard here.

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Coming up on Matt The Jaunts : 

King's Cross to Camden // Duck & Waffle to Dandelyan // Balham to Brixton 

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