I only moved to Bethnal Green a couple of months ago, so I’m still new to the area and working out where my locals are. One name I’ve kept hearing over and over is E Pellicci, a well-known East End caff. I can’t think of a better time to finally visit it than when I’m nursing a hangover from a wedding party the night before.
E Pellicci is not your average greasy spoon; it’s like entering a time capsule where nothing’s really changed since it opened in 1900. I’m sitting in the Grade II-listed building surrounded by art deco wood panelling and signed photos, including one of Jessie Wallace (Kat Slater from ‘EastEnders’). While tourists might choose afternoon tea at a historic hotel for an iconic taste of the capital, this feels like proper London.
‘Look at you, all fancy-schmancy, young lady! Whereabouts have you come from? Let me get you a cuppa,’ yells the wonderful Nevio Jr, grandson of the original Mr Pellicci, while busily serving someone else across the room. ‘What can I get ya? You’ve got to try the lasagne or cannelloni – it’s swimming in rich sauce and cheese.’ I politely decline his suggestion and opt for the all-day veggie breakfast: I don’t think my stomach can handle that much carb and cheese right now. Within minutes, my order’s on the table and there are a few chunky hand-cut chips on the side for good measure.
‘That was quick!’ I tell him. ‘That’s what all the girls say to me!’ laughs Nevio Jr with a wink. I tuck in, sip my tea and watch the different characters popping in and out. I can’t believe that a local gem like this still exists around these parts: I’m one lucky bugger to have this place practically on my doorstep. Angela Hui