Gizzi Erskine's guide to east London: street food, neighbourhood restaurants and an arty boozer

Madeleine Howell
Gizzi's recommendations include Tom Brown's restaurant Cornestone in Hackney (her favourite is the raw mackerel, lime pickle, coconut and coriander dish, pictured here), as well as The Royal Oak Pub - Andrew Crowley/Cornerstone

Chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine's latest book Slow: Food Worth Taking Time Over is full of recipes to linger over, such as lamb hotpot, Korean kimchi jiggae stew and braised chicken with orange wine, brandy and shallots.

They're all about taking time out to chop, brown, braise and bake with care. "Time is the most under-rated ingredient," she says. 

Here, she shares the local foodie haunts she frequents in her east London neighbourhood for our weekly Local Heroes series...

 

Black Axe Mangal

 “Probably one of my favourite restaurants of all time. Founder and head chef Lee Tiernan does a really cool take on barbecue – interesting flavours, beautifully cooked, clever vegetable dishes, a huge wood-fired oven, artwork and heavy metal. I always go for the mixed grill and the daily specials.”

156 Canonbury Road, London N1; blackaxemangal.com

Cook Daily

Gizzi Erskine grabs these nourishing vegan noodle and rice bowls from Cook Daily when she's on the go

“This is a really cheap and cheerful vegan noodle and rice bowl bar. A lot of people doing modern vegan food just aren’t quite good enough as cooks, but the founder, King Cook, is an exemplary chef. His curries and stir-fries are delicious, exciting, super healthy and full of flavour. He ticks every box for a quick lunch.”

Arch 358, Westgate Street, London E8; cookdaily.co.uk

Cornerstone

“Great British Menu’s Tom Brown was formerly the executive chef of Outlaw’s at the Capital. Cornerstone is his first restaurant, and he’s cooking the most delicious fish, so well and so cleanly, with no frills. I had the raw mackerel with coconut yogurt sauce and lime pickle purée and crispy garlic – brilliant.”

3 Prince Edward Road, London E9; cornerstonehackney.com

The Royal Oak

The Royal Oak is Erskine's favourite pub

“I used to live right opposite, and still think it’s one of the best pubs in London. It’s a proper, old east London local, but also full of artists and musicians. It’s been used as a film set for Goodnight Sweetheart, The Krays and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. They do great sausage rolls with spicy English mustard and ketchup.”

73 Columbia Road, London E2; royaloaklondon.com

The Bread Station

“Michelin-star chef Christoffer Hruskova and baker Per Brun are renowned for natural, organic Danish baking. It’s where we buy the bread for Mare Street Market. The sourdough is slow-fermented for days and days and days to create a full-bodied, healthy dough with less than five ingredients.”

373 Helmsley Place, London E8; thebreadstation.co.uk