Posts Tagged ‘food’

Grillstock review

In food on May 9, 2015 at 9:19 pm

So after a day where my partner fought fascism and I did the laundry we decided to give Grillstock in the new Empire Bunker a try. After having a lot of actual American BBQ food 10 years ago during a stint working in Kansas City, Missouri, I was quite curious at a British interpretation.

The 'stripped back' interior.

The ‘stripped back’ interior.

So as we came in I was hit by the sound; on a busy Saturday night the atmoshere was being fuelled by a lound soundtrack. Even though it was busy we were seated in 5 minutes, although it helps being a couple as we fit into a small window seat.

Nope, did not choose the death by meat option.

Nope, did not choose the death by meat option.

The system relies on customers making their choice from the menu and ordering at the bar. Unfortunatly the bar is an actual bar with a number of bar stools around it. If you want to order food you need to squeeze between the boozers and shout. I have a particular aversion to barflys; they are between me and beer and seem to begrudge the fact I have to shove past them to get served. It would be nice if Grillstock cleared this space a bit. There’s a good selection of beers, leaning towards the American style bottle craft ale. Sadly despite all the Americana there are no milkshakes.

I decided to start light...

I decided to start light…

Still the staff were prompt and soon I was returning with a Pistonhead lager and diet coke. While we waited for our food I had a good look around. Like its neighbour Turtle Bay it has a very fake ‘stripped back’ look.  As much as I moan about how ubiquitous  hipster shabby chic is I quite like it. But Grillstock just looks like a chain restaurant playing at being down and dirty. While we waited I looked for wifi; I found a connection on my phone but it was locked and the waitress said it wasn’t yet available. This kinda shows that the restaurant is still bedding in. No plates? Typical! I went for the Smokestack Burger (my partner the half rack of ribs). They came with fresh coleslaw, interesing lime tinged pickles and fries. The fries looked nice with seasoning on them but were rather dry and needed support of the BBQ sauce and ketchup. The burger had pulled pork on it. I’ve been off this for a couple of years after a food poisoning experience followed by a lousy pulled pork bap. However this was very nice, full of flavour and tender. The burger was nice; plain but well made. Typical ‘American’ plastic cheese and a simple white bun; no brioche bread here. Overall the food was nice but not the flavourfest I found in the states. I think next time I’ll try the chilli burger.

Dessert? Only in liquid form.

Dessert? Only in liquid form.

The highlight of the meal for me was Grillstock’s own Pale Ale, apparently brewed in Bristol. Three hop varieties means it has a good sharp edge to challenge food flavours but is not like being punched with a bag of hops (like the Brewdog IPA, also on the menu). I’ll have that again. Overall I liked Grillstock but it’s not a place I think you *have* to try. It’s like our own TGI Friday substitute with more interesing food and better drinks. I’d like to try on a quieter night or maybe a lunch time. I think it will do well and fills a gap in the choice we have.


Review: Bestowed Kitchen pop up cafe

In food on March 22, 2015 at 12:00 am
Bestowed Kitchen

Nice branding

So I was catching up with some reading in the latest issue of East17 last week and there was an article about Bestowed Kitchen. Following a good review in the Walthamstow Life Facebook page I went along with my partner and her parents to the popup venue on Hoe Street.

It was understandably busy on a Saturday lunchtime. Yet again we have shabby chic with the extra twist that most of the furniture has price tags. I felt like I was having a meal in a thrift shop. The counter seemed to be constructed from pallatte wood and there was art on the walls from local artists. They specialise in nice salads with other food; we only saw the option of chicken but there were 5 different salads.

They have hot drinks, soft drinks and a selection of ELB beers from Stratford.

chicken and salad

Mmm, chicken and salad. (£8 for a ‘main’ and two salads)

So the salad was very nice. The food style remninds me a lot of the Peyton & Byrne menu. Sadly in the busy rush our drinks were forgotten so I had to remind them; with the cutlery at the ‘start’ of the counter I got the impression of foodies with little experience of the practicalities of running a cafe. Their web site details their outside catering, which I suspect their strength lies.

Blueberry cheesecake with ginger base

Blueberry cheesecake with ginger base

We finished off with desserts which were very nice.

I’m glad we have had another successful popup in the council shop. There have been a number of successful projects there and I hope this is another local business given a boost.

Nandos review

In food on February 7, 2015 at 4:59 pm

So after a hospital appointment at Whipps Cross I took my partner to Nandos in the new bunker retail complex at the top of the high street.

Short review: It’s a Nandos. Like all the others.

Long Review: so we have been saying for many years that a Nandos would be a perfect fit for the high street. With all the crappy fried chicken places and our wonderful multicultural mix it would pick up the area. Sadly I think it has now arrived to the party a bit too late and will now help make that end of the high street into mini-Stratford (see what I did there?).

Anyway, it was okay. Frankly for the £20 two lunch mains and 2 drinks cost us we could have had a nicer meal in a small independant eaterie. My other half likes the chain so we may end up back there but frankly I’d rather support the smaller places with more personality.

Bygga Bo Review

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Another late write up. Complaints to the usual address please.

3 weeks ago we went in search of the new Nordic themed cafe/homeware shop Bygga Bo. We found it along Chingford road, just along from the Bell pub. ‘Found’ being the operative word; their premises have smoked glass windows like Cafe 56 and we just noticed the writing on the bottom of it with the name.

The interior reminds me of many shops and reclamation yards in Islington; large industrial lamps on swing arms, retro candle pots. The mismatched furniture isn’t quite full on shabby chic, which frankly made for a nice change!

We ordered drinks and started with cinnamon swirls to start. The baked goods came with a good reputation and frankly it was the best cinnamon bun I’ve ever had. We followed this with meatballs on bread with beetroot salad. Just look at the photos for how striking this light lunch is:

Image Image

So full marks for food.

As a gift/interiors shop they have a nice selection. My partner bought an orange tea towl. They have a nice selection of goods. Hopefully they’ll cycle their wares often to bring people back to shop as well as eat.


Frankly I highly applaud their avoiding the Village as a location; they are walkable from there by the ‘in crowd’ but as a ‘regular’ resident of the borough support for the non-trendy parts is much appreciated!

It’s a nice alternative to your weekend cafe. Please do give it a try.



Village Kitchen Brunch review

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm

While on the way to the Wildcard brewery (review later) we decided to stop off in Orford road for brunch. The little cafés were busy so we ended up in the Village Kitchen


Many years ago the ‘VK’ was on Hoe street and we went there often. So it was nice to go in and give the new place a try.The décor is quite smart with very ‘restaurant’ furnishings. Velvety chairs. So no ‘Shabby Chic’ here!

I went for the American breakfast; sausage, bacon slice,  fried egg, maple syrup and 3 halves of pancake (why three halves? What happens to the fourth?). My partner had an egg on toast with chorizo option. Both were very nice but at £6 each this isn’t your cheap high street fry up.

It was a lot quieter than the other eateries; I’d place it between cafe and Eat17 as an option. It has quite limited space but I think makes a nice alternative for a smaller party who haven’t booked Eat17 a week in advance!

Delice cafe review

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm

My partner and I usually have Sunday brunch in Daisy’s cafe on Hoe Street after visiting the farmers market. But that’s been shut for renovation for the past month. So 2 weeks ago we tried Delice a little further down. And we returned there today!

I’ve walked past many times but assumed it was more of a cake shop with all the cake references. While they seem to be a bakery it is also a cafe. The first time I went I had a tuna pasta bake with salad and this time I had a large chicken burrito. The salad bot times was really nice and each meal was good at just $4.50. My partner has taken a shine to their Spanish omlette.

It was quiet today but a bit busy last time. They have a lot of seating and the both times we had our food served really quickly.

They have a board full of lovely sounding sweets including waffles. Anyone remember when Eat 17 was a waffle restaurant?
Anyway after Daisy’s is back in service I think we may change our allegiance. Delice has a wide array of sandwich options plus different hot lunches. Worth that extra 2 minutes walk down Hoe Street in my opinion.











The Bell Pub review

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2014 at 3:42 pm

So a week late in a way as we went to the revamped Bell pub after visiting the William Morris Gallery last weekend.

I never went to the old pub before the revamp and it’s over a year since that happened. While I live just 15 minutes walk away in Higham Hill it’s just not on my route to anywhere. Even when I’m going to the big post sorting office or Walthamstow Central I will avoid that corner and cut down Jewel Road (and if I really want a beer I can stop off in the Rose and Crown). But I’m glad we finally made the effort.


The pub is outfitted in the now typical ‘shabby chic’ (q.v. Chequers and Cafe 56). Lots of mirrors on the walls and mismatched chairs. A few sofas. Still, it has a lot of personality and I was very glad to see families and couples enjoying themselves there. When we went there was a selection of Motown playing, which gets Weird Walthamstow’s seal of approval.


There was a selection of ales so I had a Hotback Summer Lightening. I was asked if I’d like a jug or straight glass, which shows focus to the main product! My partner isn’t a drinker so had a coffee which apparently rated ‘okay’. Their menu is typical top end pub grub; not cheap but no doubt nice. I was still peckish after wandering an exhibition so decided to try the bar snack menu and have a £2.75 sausage roll.


See how nice that looks? Tasted lovely too.

Sadly they don’t seem to have free wifi  – 21st Centuary, guys! The toilets seemed clean and well maintained. It’s always nice to avoid ‘dive’ pubs.

It’s a bit out of my way but I will be making that effort to visit again soon. It’s worth it.

All You Read is Love pop-up bookshop/cafe review

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm


So two weeks in a row I get to be a cool hunter and comment on what the Twitterati are gabbling about!

All You Read is Love is a bookshop/cafe that seems to have been opening for over a year now. They’ve been active online for some time. The first I recall hearing of them was during last year’s food festival in the Summer. They were intending to open a Scandinavian bookshop/cafe… and that never seemed to happen. Which is odd as the recently opened 56 and Lavender Village openings have shown there are plenty of small retail units available around the stow within easy reach of the High Street.


As part of the councils jolly positive pop-up business plan AYRIL have opened for three weeks in a council owned shop in Hoe Street along from the junction with Church Hill. We went there when Massis tea and a cake stall set up for a couple of weeks, which were nice. AYRIL have made much more of an effort fitting the shop – obviously no structural changes but hey have added lots of art and furnishings to make it more cosy and personalised. Very much in the shabby chic style favoured by 56 and the Chequers pub. Hopefully there will be a business opening locally with really nice furniture for a change! Still, the style is very homely.


I went with my partner and her parents for lunch.Most of us went for the salmon rolls which had a lovely soft cheese and came in a quality crusty roll. My partner went for the crisp bread with jam. They also do other fillings for rolls, hummus and a salad. Not a huge selection but well done. I didn’t get an opinion on the coffee but unlike 56 last week they did have Earl Grey tea!

One of us had a lovely looking cheese cake. I say ‘looking’ as it wasn’t me; after seeing it I wish it was.

They also had Kopperberg ciders and Mikkeller ales. In keeping with the Nordic theme but I was surprised they had an alcohol licence.


They had a number of books for sale. There was one bookcase of second hand books and two opposite with new books. Unlike most shops which mix new and old stock I really appreciated that they had separated the two. For me as a reader I like to know which I’m buying. While the second hand case was a mix the new looked to focus on crime (especially the fashionable ‘Scandewegian’ genre) and a number of classic novels. My partner said it couldn’t be a proper Scandinavian bookshop without Moomin books. We found some at the back, so AYRIL has full credentials!


I can see AYRIL being a success as a cafe. They just have to find good premises for a permanent basis. As a bookshop I don’t think they’ll worry Waterstones. They have a distinct focus on book type; I’d love to see them having promotional events to promote new, unknown authors in those genres.

56 Cafe Review

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2014 at 10:19 pm

So, yeah, long time no post.

My partner and I went to the new cafe, ’56’, on St James Street this weekend. The Twitterati had be talking about it for the two days it had been open.

It’s on a street corner in a shop which used to be a solicitor’s. The tinted windows aren’t really inviting; there have been other cafes which obscured the view inside. In this case they are a left over from the previous tenants and a costly element to replace.

On Saturday the front door was wide open; inviting to customers but also the noise from the busy traffic. The décor is a shabby chic the high point of which is a large collection of National Geographic magazines on a high shelf. There is a mix of tables and chairs and some nice antique tiling around the door.

They were quite busy, probably on the back of the internet hype. However their lunch menu consisted of a £5 salad which was just salad, no bread or sides and ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches. I went for the latter and on discovering they had no Earl Grey tea went for a posh lemonade.

Apparently the coffee is excellent but as I don’t like coffee not really a bonus that attracts me. They also have some cake.

Frankly I think it needs a lot of work before it’s worth making the extra effort to get there from the high street.


Café De Morgon

In Places on July 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm

This place opened up a few of years ago under the name ‘Euphoria’. It specialises in doing a range of fruit smoothies. These are really nice, and the perfect choice for a hot day. They also do filled bagels which make for a  light lunch. I’m not a coffee drinker but they are very proud of their own custom blends and I’ve been told they are very good.

They recently had a rebrand and shop facelift so it’s looking nice!

cafe de morgon

The new sign and name

cafe de morgon

It's a nice place to go on a sunny day.