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Haggerston area guide

Keep busy in east London with Time Out's guide to Haggerston’s best restaurants, bars, pubs and things to do

Too-long overlooked as the regrettable filler in a Dalston/Shoreditch sandwich, Haggerston's moment has finally arrived. The newly rejuvenated arches ferrying the Overground north to Dalston and south to Hoxton have hosted an explosion of cool openings in recent years, from classy Japanese eateries to daffy east-London concept cafés. All this in close proximity to pubs both impeccably hip and craft-based, and comfortably ‘EastEnders’ grimy, and easy access to the lush Columbia Road Flower Market every Sunday.

Regent’s Canal towpath offers a serene and rather pretty passage to Angel, Camden, London Fields and Victoria Park, and animal lovers can enjoy the joyously trippy experience of pigs, goats, cockerels and more marking their territory in Hackney City Farm.

Restaurants in Haggerston

Duke's Brew & Que
Bars and pubs Book online

Duke's Brew & Que

This converted boozer, on a corner site in De Beauvoir Town, has made a name for itself since opening in 2012. The offering: no-frills meat dishes, mainly smoked and barbecued, and a fabulous selection of beers, both own-brewed and from top domestic and foreign producers. The Duke’s beef ribs were named one of Time Out’s 100 best dishes in London in 2012 – a high achievement for a newcomer. On the evidence our most recent visit, however, the staff seemed to have taken their eye off the ball. The spare ribs were fine, but a trio of pulled pork sliders were dull and dry. The famous beef ribs were by far the best part of our meal, but, again, were dry and chewy where they should have been juicy and succulent. Baked beans and chips were good, though mac ’n’ cheese was tough and leathery on top. Service seemed a bit clueless: our waiter confidently assured us the beer we asked for wasn’t stocked and looked nonplussed when we pointed it out on the list. We hope this was just an off night. It doesn’t take long to build a reputation for good food, but it doesn’t take long to lose it.  

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
Book online
Berber & Q
Restaurants

Berber & Q

If Fred Flintstone opened a dinosaur steakhouse, he’d do it in Dalston. This north-east nexus already has more places to eat great hunks of meat than Bedrock, yet there always seems to be room for more. Perhaps it’s this safety in numbers, surrounded by London’s densest concentration of Turkish barbecue restaurants, that led chef Josh Katz to open a Middle Eastern grillhouse on the southern fringe of Dalston, where yet another pall of smoke is unlikely to attract attention. But that’s cool for Katz, because the cool factor and quality of Berber & Q still marks it out from the crowds. B&Q’s tucked away in a cave-like railway arch in a back street. Dance music hits you on crossing the threshold. The vibe’s like a bar or nightclub, except that here the staff greet you like old friends and guide you to a low-lit table. Their uncontrived charm is sustained for your entire visit.   As at many of Haggerston’s other eateries, a Turkish mangal (charcoal grill) is central to the kitchen for searing meats and many veg. But Katz’s magic carpet has visited many places in search of inspiration. Joojeh, the Iranian dish of saffron- and lemon-marinated chicken, is served alongside shredded spit-roasted lamb, inspired by the Moroccan dish mechoui. That’s as close as the menu brushes to the simple rustic food  that typifies Berber cooking, before it then flirts with more sophisticated Lebanese, Egyptian, and Sephardic Jewish dishes. You could describe the kitchen as ‘Arabesque’, but Arabian

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Towpath
Restaurants

Towpath

This simple operation on Regent’s Canal towpath (near the Whitmore Bridge) was a novelty when it opened in 2010 in three shallow units. Three years later, it has expanded into four units, and continues to lure in passing walkers and cyclists with its original setting and enticing food and drink. Wing a table in the sunshine on a summer’s day, and you might end up staying for hours. Relaxed entertainment is provided by families of swans, coots tending their nests, and passing bikes whizzing by. Our last visit, however, was a rainy affair – yet it proved that Towpath shouldn’t only be reserved for fair weather. Huddling inside the covered, homely (think beaten-up furniture and cultural posters) open unit watching rain pummelling the canal was a comforting experience, made more so by the addition of delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and decent coffee. Come here for breakfast and the menu will usually include fried eggs on toast or granola with yoghurt, fruit and maple syrup. In the afternoon or early evening, choose from a range of alluring cakes (the beautifully light olive oil and lemon cake is a favourite) or savoury dishes such as pork tenderloin or own-made quiche.  

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Tonkotsu East
Restaurants

Tonkotsu East

In 2012 a horde of noodlemeisters moved into central London with one thing on their mind: ramen. From rowdily flavoured bowls at Bone Daddies to the more traditional at Shoryu, ramen was undoubtedly one of the big trends of last year. And now at the end of 2013 it just got bigger. How so? One of the early pioneers of the movement has headed east. Joining the colonisation project happening under the arches in Haggerston – an area fast becoming an eating-out destination – the second branch of Tonkotsu is much bigger than its Soho sibling. In full view at the back of the cavern-like space, an industrious worker churns out noodles with a piece of kit not unlike a giant pasta machine. Like the bare-brick look, the menu is minimal with a handful of side dishes and four types of ramen (for now at least). A dish of dipping ramen (tsukemen) came with thick-cut noodles topped with rolled pork slices, half a soft-boiled egg and a bowl of thick, deep pork-bone broth. The balance of sweet and savoury in a vegetarian mushroom and miso ramen was less successful. But the noodles in each were impeccable. For a big bowl of comfort food in east London, this noodle joint definitely fills more than just a hole in the wall.  

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs in Haggerston

Fox
Bars and pubs

Fox

Until recently, the reveller on their way up to the more fashionable nightspots of Dalston could have passed the Fox right by. No more – it’s another boozer that has had decline reversed by new owners with a real interest in beer, and a straightforward approach to the provision of food. The pub’s been opened up and stripped back inside, and looks prepared for the crowds, with a lot of floor space. The addendum ‘craft beer house’ has been applied to the title, leaving us in no doubt what to expect to see behind the bar. We’re told there are ‘about 44’ bottled beers: not the biggest selection in town, but it’s well-chosen. There are brews from Kernel and Bristol Beer Factory, a good few Belgians, and from the US, Goose Island and the fabulous Odell. And on the eight draught pumps is a rotating selection from brewers such as Scottish Hillfoots’ Harviestoun and the rarely bettered Thornbridge in Bakewell. Along with Dark Star (also represented) they create some of the most exciting British cask ale around. A menu lists good bar snacks, such as ‘pork belly bits’, or meat pasty. Another good thing: it means drinkers don’t have to choose between food that comes in packets or a sit-down meal. There is more substantial fare too though, and roasts on a Sunday. We had a potted mackerel which, although a simple test, showed the chefs know what they’re doing. Another nice feature of the Fox is its refurbed roof terrace, which is decked and embellished with flowers. It’s not huge, but

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Proud Archivist
Restaurants

Proud Archivist

It’s unsettling to walk along the Regent’s Canal towpath to find loiterers grinning at you – until, that is, you’re close enough to see the quality of their funk-goth nail polish, admire the luxuriance of their bandido moustaches and be warmed by their solar-flare strength hospitality, for they are this new bar-café’s greeters.The Proud Archivist seems out of scale with its setting, and buzzes with dressed-down fashionables. A short brunch menu of pumpkin hash or pancakes with maple syrup and caramelised apples was being prepared in an open kitchen on our weekend visit. Drinks covered an appealing range, from lattes to mulled wines and ciders.The food wasn’t yet up to the mark: only the cucumber of the trio of trendy pickles that accompanied our sausage bagel had any bite, while a fragment of shell was found in our eggs florentine. Still, we’ll return for an events programme that runs from ‘wine clinic’ to a performance by legendary guitarist John Etheridge. Weekdays: Breakfast 8-11.30am. Lunch noon-3.30pm. Dinner 6-10pm. Weekends: Brunch 8am-4pm; Dinner 6-10pm.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
2 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs

De Beauvoir Tavern

With Budweiser the only brew on tap, it’s clear that beer appreciators are not really the target audience at this misleadingly monikered cocktail joint. It occupies a small premises between a Nigerian restaurant and a former builders’ merchants. Mass-market lager is also indicative of the bar’s lack of pretensions – there are no Victorian affectations here, no pre-mixed artisanal drinks (like you’ll find at the nearby White Lyan or Liquor Cabinet). And though the bar staff will happily knock you up an Aperol spritz, this in-vogue tipple doesn’t have a place on the cocktail list. Instead you’ll find a selection of classic-ish drinks, all – shall we say – ‘ambitiously’ priced at £9. The candy-floss pink, egg white-topped, gin-based Clover Club is as smooth as they come and ideal for those not into the sting of spirits, while at the other end of the scale the Fisticuffs is a dizzying blend of three different rums and very little else. For snackers, the sausage rolls are impressively meaty, but also overpriced at £5 a pop. And that’s it, really. No blue-rimmed bowls of pickled oddities, no gramophone belting out Prohibition-era jazz. Even the decor is mercifully un-moodboarded, and while faux-velvet booths and gold trim may not be for everyone, it’s a welcome break from mismatched chairs and faux-vintage trinkets. The wholesale shunning of bar trends here is actually rather refreshing, even if what remains does only add up to a fairly average experience.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Things to do

Stag's Head

Users say
4 out of 5 stars

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