Living in Hackney: London’s creative hub is also a real haven for foodies says cook and author Anna Barnett

·3-min read
 (Anna Barnett)
(Anna Barnett)

Hackney has a real villagey way of life, we walk everywhere — especially because we have a dog — whether it’s to Shoreditch, London Fields or into town. Some friends have moved to live more central, but we don’t mind as there are amazing transport links to get everywhere if we want to.

Where to eat and drink

Pavilion Cafe in Victoria Park has a chocolate and almond croissant that got us through the pandemic, as well as kimchi cheese toasties and a Sri Lankan daal. It’s all delicious, worth queuing for.

Bistrotheque is a staple. I remember when it first opened 15 or 16 years ago — it’s a must for cocktails and oysters at the bar. Uchi is a local Japanese with amazing sushi and great vegetarian options.

Violet bakery has the best cakes and the Dusty Knuckle is incredible for bread. Allpress does great breakfasts and Morito is also very delicious.

Wilton Way Deli is all about the neighbourhood spirit. They do mortadella in St John’s focaccia — my absolute favourite thing. We used to live four doors down from it and the owner Francesca is amazing. There’s a great community vibe.

To get out in nature

Victoria Park is our go-to. We also walk around the canals. An hour takes you to South Bank or Borough Market — we just walk along the canal via Broadway Market, Columbia Road, backstreets to Shoreditch then over London Bridge.

Where I work out in Hackney

Something I started in lockdown is HIIT in the square near where I live — or I jog down to Victoria Park and do classes there.

I swim a lot and use the gym at the Ned in the City which feels like a treat.

Walking the canals (Daniel Lynch)
Walking the canals (Daniel Lynch)

Where to go for a culture fix

Whitechapel Gallery isn’t far and everyone raves about it. More central is the Royal Academy which is a favourite and it’s a good excuse to nip across to the Wolseley afterwards.

Grocery shopping

I do most of my grocery shopping in Victoria Park village or London Fields Express, which has so many varieties of organic vegetables and doesn’t use plastic. There’s a deli in Victoria Park village if I want to spend all my cash, or the market on a Sunday has amazing produce.

Getting around

If I have time and can walk it I will, otherwise I jump on the train, especially when checking out new restaurants opening across town.

Broadway Market (Adrian Lourie)
Broadway Market (Adrian Lourie)

Dream street

Wilton Way. I lived there for 10 years and just loved it.

Something you only see in Hackney

Sourdough is everywhere. It’s great to be inundated with so many amazing bakeries. Hackney has a festival feel, there’s a real energy to the area.

What’s the catch?

You get stuck in a cycle of staying in the area. There’s so much to do here, so much going on right on your doorstep, it’s like a bubble — you have to force yourself to leave sometimes.

Three words

Green, buzzing, foodie.

  • Season 3 of Anna’s podcast The Filling will be out later this summer

Schools in Hackney

For primary education, Orchard, London Fields, Morningside and The Olive School Hackney are all rated outstanding by Ofsted.

Secondaries Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy, Cardinal Pole Catholic School and The Urswick School are rated good.

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