Hackney Wick has seen much in the way of regeneration courtesy of the 2012 Games and now hosts a rich mix of gastronomic destinations. Bordered by Bow, Mile End and Homerton and with a pick and mix of postcodes (E9, E3, E20 and E15) the area still feels very industrial and raw — though the winding River Lea provides pretty canalside views as an antidote.
Here’s our pick of where to drink, dance and dine in Hackney Wick…
For an authentic taste of the East End, head to The Wick Café (28 Felstead Street, E9 5LG), a properly old school greasy spoon caff that opens from 6am to serve hungry builders, artists and creative types with their all day breakfasts. Portions are huge, prices are low and staff are cheery.
If that's not your thing, head over to The Breakfast Club (29 East Bay Lane, Canalside, Here East E15 2GW). With classics like the Breakfast Burrito, the amusingly named Ham So Eggcited (pancakes, ham, egg, cheddar, maple syrup) and the full Reggie the Veggie breakfast you can see why it's as popular as ever.
Wednesday through to Sunday, Grow (98C Main Yard, Wallis Road, E9 5LN) serves up some of London's best street food with regularly changing residencies. Grow is all about ethical, sustainable living and food and drink is free range, fair trade and organic wherever possible — right down to wines and spirits.
The Breakfast Club serves great lunch dishes too of course, or there's Mason & Co where Italian-American dishes such as the meatball hero and the steak braciole come from Capish? and beers are on point thanks to Five Points.
Gastropubs, pubs and bars
Number 90 Bar (90 Main Yard, Wallis Road E9 5LN) is a cool, airy bar with an impeccably curated drinks list.
If you prefer to stay on dry land, head over to The Plough at Swan Wharf (60 Dace Road, E3 2NQ) for Hackney's largest beer garden (grass not included — it's more of a deck) and plenty of tasty American-style eats. Beers are dominated by the Truman Brewery's wares, which is no bad thing, and they wash down a fried chicken sandwich nicely. Surprisingly good for coffee too, with many local workers using it for impromptu meetings.
Coffee shops are surprisingly thin on the ground in Hackney Wick. Head back to Grow for a decent cup, or try The Roasting Shed (Mick's Garage, 8 Queens Yard E9 5EN) who take their beans very seriously indeed.
Back in the Here East complex there's Gotto Trattoria (27 East Bay Lane, Here East E20 3BS) with a smart daily changing Italian menu from the people who brought us Soho's Mele e Pere. The sharing plates are exceptional and there’s some nice outside space where you can pretend you're on holiday.
Next door, Shane's on Canalside (26 East Bay Lane, Here East E15 2GW) is all about wild foraged seasonal produce. Think mussels with elderflower and white wine, wild rabbit rillettes and slow roasted roe deer and you’ll get the picture. Prices are reasonable.
Right on the canal you'll find Crate Bar & Pizzeria (Unit 7, Queens Yard E9 5EN) which is packed to the rafters at the first glimpse of sunshine. It has its own microbrewery and there is some very inventive pizza to be had, like the Kashmiri dahl (mozzarella, spinach, dahl, cumin, chilli, crispy shallots, mango chutney, Greek yoghurt, coriander and banana) all on a signature crispy base.
Docked outside Crate is the Alfred Le Roy (7 Queens Yard, White Post Lane E9 5EN) a restaurant-on-a-boat that makes trips along the Lea on the weekends. Hire it for a special occasion or sign up for one of their regular food and drink cruises and enjoy charcuterie, E5 Bakehouse bread and Neal's Yard cheese on board.
On the slightly fancier side of Hackney Wick is Forman's Restaurant (Stour Road, Fish Island E3 2NT) which is a celebration of London cure smoked salmon from one of the oldest — and best — producers in the country. Serving modern British fare with an emphasis on salmon and seafood, there’s an unrivalled view of the Olympic Stadium and you can visit their onsite smokehouse if you like, too.
Street food regulars Randy's Wing Bar (28 East Bay Lane, The Press Centre, Here East E15 2GW) has found a permanent home at Here East where they’ve perfected the art of chicken wings. There’s five varieties on offer here (we'll have the Hanoi beer battered with fish sauce ones thanks) and a great selection of cocktails for you to sup on at the bar. The Smoke Corn Oil sounds interesting — smoked spices, Jamaican rum and bitters.