Clapton Food Tour [London]
10 days ago my wife and I took a stroll along Victoria Park, had a look at the new Olympic stadium and then walked 6-7 miles up the Lea River along the Hackney Marshes and Walthamstow Marshes. We decided to employ the Gattaca tactic of not saving anything for the way home, and planned to take the bus to Victoria Park Village for some chowing.
Fortuitously our bus stopped at Clapton Pond and the fun began:
Stop 1: Organic & Natural / Grocery Store on the opposite corner
191 Lower Clapton Road
Organic & Natural is run by a Georgian family and there are a few reviews online. What caught our fancy was a spinach and feta burek. We bought one and went to eat it by Clapton Pond. It lasted 30 seconds. So we bought them out of burek as well as a pumpkin pastry thing. All amazing. Then we asked the guy whether they make these bureks themselves. No he says, they are made fresh at a grocery store 15 seconds down the road. Needless to say, 15 seconds later we were at the grocery store. They were out of burek but there were a few chicken things left that would look good to a carnivore.
Spoke to someone at the store (who incidentally looked insanely happy as he ate one of these chicken things) who mentioned that they have 4-5 women making bureks every morning. 1,000,000 notes to self: visit one morning. He also mentioned how much they love Clapton, they love their customers, they love the world.
Is this London, really?
Stop 2: Neden Urfa
113A Downs Road, Lower Clapton, London, E5 8DA
I couldn't stop thinking about or talking about Clapton Pond. Then I cam across this review:
Who doesn't want to hang out with a lovely Kurdish family while they make incredible food?
So I set out Saturday with my wife and friend for round 2 at Neden Urfa. Needless to say, before an early dinner we had three bureks from the grocery store which happens to be 30 seconds walk from Neden Urfa.
From the outside this little kitchen of dreams looks like any other crappy London takeaway joint. We strolled in and ordered a vegetarian pide. The two brothers were super-friendly and apologised that our fresh pide which would be made on the spot would take 20 minutes or so. We were prepared to wait and even read the Hackney Gazette and local Turkish paper. The pide came and it was out of control. Fresh pastry, light crust, great combination of flavours with the red peppers and feta. Alongside it was a cucumber, tomato and sumac salad.
My wife and I couldn't stop thinking about Neden Urfa so we decided to go back to Clapton Sunday to visit Chatsworth Road market.
As we cycled past Neden Urfa and the burek grocery I was forcibly restrained and good thing I was.
Stop 3: L’Epicerie
Chatsworth 56, Lower Clapton, E5 0LS
From the owners of La Bouche, this is a super cute deli worth a visit. Crowded with goodness.
Stop 4: Chatsworth Road market
Some of the stalls were missing, but overall it's a really nice local market with two highlights on the day (note I am vegetarian and not really going for sugar or dairy too much at the moment so my highlights are limited):
1. Osaka style okonomiyoki: http://www.debateyourplate.com/home/s...
We got our cheese free and it was seriously awesome, definitely worth a visit. Personally this is what I love about street food. It's not about doing 5 things moderately. This is the one stall, one tradition, one dish style. Check it out
2. Farinata at Zio Felice, vegan and gluten free flatbread. (The flatbread is from Liguria,and usually served on the streets in single large pieces and cutting pieces off as requested by customers. Farinata is made from chickpea flour, mixed with water, oil, and salt to form a thick batter.) Really lovely stall and a very nice farinata. Another worth checking out especially for all you chowhound vegans.
Stop 5: Creperie du monde
51 Chatsworth Rd, Clapton, London E5 0LH
Absolutely packed so we didn't visit.
Maybe worth a chowhound food crawl one sunday?
Sadly, I haven't been able to travel to London for 15 years or so, and it was certainly before the internet had resources like this. I sometimes think that wasn't such a bad thing. I based my day on a neighborhood in the city to explore for the day and found little places to eat by asking the locals. Not every spot was a serious "Chowhound" experience, but never bad. Planning every single minute of a holiday around eating at what others consider to be the top eateries would be exhausting. Your casual wandering and finding some memorable places is how I would like to revisit London.
Oh, and please don't laugh too hard, but I read your post at first glance thinking you had some Eric Clapton food tour idea. No idea why that would be good, but he was big in my day. ;op