Some places are cursed. The creepy crumbling mansion down the road from where you grew up, the old East End churchyard filled with nameless graves, the Houses of Parliament – and you can add to that list the little parade of shop units in Walthamstow that The Collab has just called home. Its unit was once a barbecue restaurant and the one next door was a Thai place, but all of them have closed, finding it impossible to maintain a viable business. Can The Collab buck the worrying trend?
Its plan of attack is to combine beers and burgers. Not novel, but done well, it might just work. Coming from the people behind Leyton-based Signature Brewery, there are 16 taps of keg beer on offer. Most come from Signature, but there’s a good selection of UK and international breweries too. Anywhere which has Kernel Table Beer on tap is good by me. Food is provided by We Serve Humans, and the burgers were juicy, oozy and excellent. Truffle fries got a big tick too, and the wings weren’t half bad either.
So it’s beer and it’s burgers – what could go wrong? Well, the problem is that The Collab can’t really figure out if it’s a bar, a pub or a restaurant. The seating is confusing, with whole areas cordoned off for diners but often empty, while the drinking space is too small and gets packed. Open it up and treat it more like an order-at-the-bar pub and it would be a much better experience. Maybe then it can undo the local curse…