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Photograph: Stephen Makin
Photograph: Stephen Makin

The best bits of Hackney, picked by a local chef

Pubs, bottle shops, delis and more

Written by
Nicole Garcia Merida

We asked Harry Bolton, chef at Pavilion Café in Victoria Park, to pick his favourite places around the epic green space. Expect good pubs, bottle shops, restaurants and delis. 

1. Ombra

‘This place is Italian, with a Venetian focus. It’s just fantastic. It’s started doing a really good set menu, a bit of a sharing one. There’s good à la carte as well. It’s very relaxed, the service is friendly and it has an open kitchen so you can see the chefs working. It’s a small place so when it’s busy it feels quite vibey.’ 1 Vyner St, E2 9DG.


2. Bottle Apostle

‘This is a really great little wine shop with a very good selection across the price range. It has wines for under £10 at the front and more serious stuff closer to the back. It has also converted the very back to what it calls the “beer cave”, with a lot of good-quality, small-batch beers. The team are really nice and helpful; they’re well informed and won’t try to push you towards expensive wines.’ 95 Lauriston Rd, E9 7HJ.

3. The Deli Downstairs

‘It has very good coffee and also salads and fresh pasta to take away. The owner just opened a wine bar that does small plates next door. It’s called Place Next Door.’ 211 Victoria Park Rd, E9 7JN.

Photograph: Jack Latimer

4. People’s Park Tavern

‘It brews its own beer here. It was actually one of the first places to get busy during lockdown, selling drinks to take away. It’s got a really big outdoor space and backs on to the park.’ 360 Victoria Park Rd, E9 7BT.


5. Bright

‘This is a great restaurant right next to Mare Street Market. It’s got a wonderful wine list and a very exciting menu. The food is excellent.’ 1 Westgate St, E8 3RL.

6. Victoria Park Market

‘There’s a guy who sells amazing homemade cannoli when the market is on (Sundays). And the biltong guy, I think he makes his own; it’s just delicious.’ Between Bonner Gate and Gore Gate, E2 9JW.

7. The Pagoda, Victoria Park

‘The entire park is great. It’s huge. I go running there a lot. The Pagoda is a really nice little spot to sit in, surrounded by the lake.’ 66 Sewardstone Rd, E2 9JG.

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