This is one of the few success stories of the great Hackney Wick Olympic café boom. While many of the area’s newer cafés and restaurants have floundered or closed since summer 2012, Crate is more popular than ever – especially among the Wick’s young creative types. This hip canalside pizzeria-cum-microbrewery is run by the people behind the Counter Café. High vaulted ceilings are accompanied by bare light bulbs, benches made from recycled coffee sacks and a bar pulled together using railway sleepers.
Combined with the visible brewing room, this gives an airy, ex-industrial feel to the place. The open kitchen churns out some pretty great pizzas. Moroccan lamb and pine nuts was salty and flavoursome, as was the chilli-flecked pepperoni. But the white pizzas are probably best avoided: sage, potato and truffle somehow managed to taste of very little.
Crate’s own brews – a pale ale, a bitter and a strong stout were available on our visit – may not be the best in town, though its selection of world beers (including London’s Kernel, Flying Dog from the USA, a variety of antipodean ales and some powerful Trappist choices) is hard to beat. Service could be speedier, but Crate has become an island of good vibes and food in a still-quiet area.