As London's newest postcode, E20 (playfully shared with the fictional Walford of ‘EastEnders’ fame) is as shiny and culturally anodyne as you'd expect. Some of the gleaming rows of modern apartment blocks were used by athletes as accommodation for the 2012 Olympics, so you never know; your room might be the one in which Usain Bolt celebrated his 100m victory with the Swedish handball team and some cardboard boxes. Westfield is just a hop skip and a jump away, packed full of eateries with a smattering of bars, too. Not forgetting the specially landscaped park and wetlands are a lovely, wildlife-rich place for a serene wander. Get in now.
Restaurants in Olympic Park
Jamie's Italian, Stratford
When Jamie's Italian was first conceived, the starting point was to re-create what Italians are most proud of - fantastic, rustic dishes, using recipes that have been tried, tested and loved! Jamie talks about "feeling Italian" and in Gennaro Contaldo, we can tap into real thing. A great mentor for our young chefs and someone who, as a boy growing up in a tiny fishing village on the Amalfi coast, learned how simple, fresh ingredients, prepared and cooked with love and passion (a phrase he uses every day - and means!) become truly great dishes. So of course we wanted to serve exceptional food. But our aim was also to create an environment with a "neighbourhood" feel, inspired by the "Italian table" where people relax, share, and enjoy each other's company. Jamie's Italian was designed to be accessible and affordable, a place where anyone is welcome and everyone will feel comfortable, no matter how much you spend or how long you stay.
Things to do in Olympic Park
Bars and pubs in Olympic Park
The name of this Old Street cocktail bar may have delicate drinkers running for the hills, since a Gibson is also the name for a martini with a pickled onion bobbing in its depths. There’s nothing inelegant about the setting though, a small space that’s been given a 1920s look. Well, the Kirstie Allsopp version, with DIY lighting effects from decanters filled with tea lights and such. It’s an attractive room, if not all that authentic. But what is the real deal is the skill behind the operation, with bartenders having done their time over at prohibition-themed Nightjar down the road. And you can tell, with that vague ’20s decor, a similar tome-like menu and flamboyant decorations on drinks. And there’s table service from a flapper girl, which feels a touch unnecessary in a bar this size, especially when the barman can hear your pleas for recommendations (it really is a long menu). Thankfully, our flapper is unflappable, breezily rattling through our best options based on spirit and flavour preferences. I opted for an Electric Earl (£11), which is a knock-out mix of gin, earl grey liqueur, grapefruit juice and a whole host of citrusy ingredients. They blend it with in-house bitters made from the ‘buzz button’, a flower whose bud has an electrifying effect on the tongue that lives up to the drink’s name – my tastebuds were dancing for quite some time after each sip. A less classy version, The Great Japito (gin, tamarillo puree, Campari, tonka beans, pink grape soda, £11), was