Chatsworth road smells amazing. Thanks to the fresh bread, exotic flowers, food stalls and reassuringly expensive scented candles all over the place, the whole thoroughfare is an olfactory marvel. It’s a feast for the eyes and tastebuds too. A long residential strip running through Homerton, Chatsworth Road is both a functional, neighbourhood high street and a genuinely great destination full of independent shops, excellent eateries and good-looking people.
Originally intended to cater for life’s practicalities, it was one of the first planned high streets in London. Some sparky Victorians turned fields near a growing suburb into a pathway of amenities for the locals, including a butcher, some greengrocers and a loo (which still stands today as Hackney’s only free unisex public toilet). But hey, times change, gentrification happens, and now there’s a dog-grooming parlour. But there’s also a string of nice cafés, a friendly family crowd and a weekly food market that’s much better than the nearby tourist trap of Broadway Market.
So whether you’re a Hackney local or a Chatsworth newbie, here’s where to find a great butcher, some wonderful bakers and a whole gang of scented-candlestickmakers.
Mountains of Mediterranean food at Pivaz where the portions are as big as the Greek deficit. It’s the perfect place for a boisterous weekend brunch or a romantic evening meal.
Anything at British game specialist Shane’s, but especially the steak and especially on a Thursday when it’s served with chips and salad for just a tenner.
The best crêpes this side of the Channel tunnel courtesy of Creperie du Monde.
Trek to the far end of Chatsworth Road for Scandinavian delights at Cooper & Wolf, a pretty corner café with outdoor tables overlooking Millfields Park. They do magical things with dill and the gravadlax alone is worth the walk.
Top-class coffee at 46b Espresso Hut, a tiny caffeine shrine with beautiful plants and not enough tables to match its popularity.
If it’s full, get your fix at Venetia’s Coffee Shop a bit further up.
Pop round the corner to The Adam & Eve on Homerton High Street for pints of golden, crafty beers and happy hour deals as tempting as anything in the Garden of Eden.
Try the nearby Elderfield if you like live music with your pork scratchings.
Go for punchy fruit juices squeezed by the giggly staff at Dorée & Co, who will also sort out all your homemade-cake-related needs.
A coat-hanger cactus-holder, scented candles and other homeware ‘gems’ you don’t really need but inexplicably really want at Darling & Gold or nearby plant paradise Botany.
Decorative bottles of the hard stuff at independent off-licence Brahms & Liszt. It also does tasting sessions where you can get smashed on saké and other elegant beverages from around the world that you’ll probably be too drunk to appreciate properly.
Rummage through the flower jungle at Rebel Rebel for beautiful bouquets.
Once out the other side, you’ll be in one of the poshest supermarkets on the planet: the Hackney outpost of Walthamstow’s Eat17/Spar mash-up. Fancy.
Bike bits and those shiny gold helmets everyone has these days at super-friendly A&S Cycles which has been keeping Homertonites pedalling since the 1980s.
If you only do one thing…
Arrive ravenous on a Sunday and eat your way round the globe at the weekend market: from haggis toasties to bowls of laksa via French cheese, takoyaki and a guy selling fish out of a sailing boat.
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