While tourists head in droves to bustling Broadway Market, there is a startlingly calm and much quirkier east London enclave hidden just a back road away. Mentmore Terrace was once an unassuming row of untended archways that was home to numerous squats in the ’70s and ’80s. But now, thanks to the rumbling march of gentrification, it’s a thriving hub of eateries, shops and bars.
Despite being home to London Fields station and just a stone’s throw from Mare Street, Mentmore Terrace has managed to avoid becoming part of the beaten track. And, what’s more, it’s essentially a bite-sized E8. Why travel the length and breadth of Hackney when it has all the cool of Clapton, the charm of Stokey and the variety of Dalston?
This little cobbled terrace is home to everything from cafés to craft breweries plus, of course, a handful of your quintessential Hackney newbuilds. It really does cover all bases: if you want mid-century modern furniture there’s a dealer, if you’re after hard-to-find vinyl there’s a remarkably good record shop, if you want to dance all night to live grime, you can. It’s all here, in a Victorian viaduct, with its own Overground station and everything. So let the avocado-on-toast brigade head to London Fields’s main drag while you take a stroll through this charmingly chill slice of east.
Sip on one of a number of limited-run lagers at the London Fields Brewery taproom. Craft beer aficionados, this is your mecca.
Down a cocktail and dance into the early hours at bar, restaurant, club and adult playground Wringer + Mangle, which is housed in an old industrial laundry.
Tuck into delectable rosemary-salted fries and a paper-wrapped maelstrom of beef, cheese and sauce at the local branch of Patty & Bun. It’s the ultimate cure when you’re hanging hard.
Feel zero guilt scoffing gourmet fast food at Street Kitchen. Their breakfast baps are irresistibly affordable at £3.50, and the stealth-health lunch is ridiculously good value.
Nosh on cinnamon buns and yeast-free loaves served by Nordic gods and goddesses at the contemporary Danish bakery The Bread Station, just around the corner.
Live your best millennial life breaking a sweat in a steamy gym, possibly among a sprinkling of celebs. London Fields Fitness Studio offers all of the hippest ways to get fit: Yoga HIIT, HulaFit and Boot Camp classes.
Settle into a generous sofa and watch a cult classic or make-you-think documentary in the darkened lair of the ironically named Institute of Light. Or stop by in the daytime and discover that this multidimensional studio is also home to a surprisingly well-stocked vinyl shop.
Rifle through the hand-picked vintage finds at Somewhere in Hackney, where you’ll discover dreamy ’70s dresses, barely worn cowboy boots and perfectly softened leather biker jackets.
Join the local mums and stock up on Neal’s Yard cheeses, homemade preserves, pickles and all the seeds, grains and nuts your heart desires at the E5 Bakehouse’s Millhouse Shop.
Invest in a gorgeous piece of mid-century furniture at Vintage Mix, where every corner hides treasures – from desks and light fixtures to retro crockery and curios. It’s an Aladdin’s cave, if Aladdin drank flat whites. n
And if you only do one thing…
What’s more Hackney than an artisanal bakery that offers cooking classes, charcuterie and gluten-free cookies? Yes, we’re on about E5 Bakehouse and yes, you should gorge.
By Lucy Morris, who prefers her Hackney unhackneyed.