Establishment neighborhood
Berber & Q
Arch 338, Acton Mews, Hackney
Though meat, and generous hunks of it at that, is the main attraction at this Middle-Eastern BBQ joint, the array of pickles and vegetarian side dishes are a major highlight here—the Moroccan Spiced Carrots and Blackened Eggplant are pretty great, just to name a couple. In fact, we'd build a meal out of side dishes alone here. We'd also recommend sharing plates with a group and coming ready for a night out as the cocktails, each with their own Middle Eastern twist, are lots of fun as is the music that ramps up as the night rolls on.
Xochi Balfour
[email protected]
Xochi Balfour is quickly becoming the face of millennial healing in London, working with clients in their twenties and thirties who need coping strategies for stress and burnout. Xochi meets with clients at her home for one to two sessions and uses a range of techniques customized to individual needs. Through anything from guided chakra meditation and sound healing to nutritional and skincare advice, she helps her clients develop their own personal toolkit for wellness and sets them on their way.
Crate Brewery
Unit 7, Queen's Yard, Hackney
On weekend afternoons, this warehouse bar and brewery is a haven for locals and young families who come for the wood fired thin-crust pizza served both indoors and canal-side. And, as the afternoon wears on, and the music turns up, the kids pizza parties get replaced by older groups of friends who come for the brewery's excellent beers, ales and local ciders. In other words, it's a pretty ideal place to while the afternoon away, in the sprawling, industrial space, drinking at the large communal tables both indoors and out. Open year-round, it's best in the summer, when you can take a leisurely walk down the canal until you reach the brewery.
Hotpod Yoga
Arch 406, Mentmore Terrace, Hackney
This ever-expanding chain of yoga studios features a massive, nylon, blow-up, womb-like pod inside of which the classes take place. This may all sound a little strange, but the effect inside is totally relaxing. The Vinyasa Flow classes here are perfect for mid-level yogis in that they're not so challenging as to scare you off, but they're hard enough to provide a great, cleansing workout and a deep sense of relaxation at the end. There are pods in Notting Hill and Brixton, too.
Ellory (Closed)
Netil House, One Westgate St., Hackney
Helmed by Chef Matthew Young (formerly the head chef at the Wapping Project and Mayfields) and Sommelier Jack Lewens (of Spring fame) this new-ish space at the Netil house is a big deal. The pair have teamed up to create a menu of seasonal dishes that's heavily focused on wine pairings. Lewens curates the wines so that the selection is always changing, and then Young works around the wines to create his beautifully constructed dishes—he tends to think first about presentation and then about ingredients, which makes for a beautiful meal, whether it's for a dish and a glass of wine, or the full tasting menu (£38) and wine pairing (£30) experience.
Poco (Closed)
Broadway Market, Hackney
Poco is a Bristol transplant that's arrived on Broadway Market full of good intentions and innovative tapas. You won't find any stale classics on this menu, and if you do happen to find some croquetas or fritto misto on the ever-changing list they will certainly be made with a twist and only the most local of ingredients. The whole local, seasonal thing may seem a little like an afterthought these days but over at Poco, it's the real deal—their mixologist forages some of his ingredients, they work with awesome growers and producers like Growing Communities and Kappacasein Dairy, and they also happen to cater eco-friendly sustainable meals for weddings and festivals. In short, they're doing things right.