Crate Brewery, no. 18 in An Opinionated Guide to East London © Helen Cathcart
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‘An Opinionated Guide to East London’ book review

‘Information is dead. Long live opinion’, declares the foreword of An Opinionated Guide to East London. Hoxton Mini Press has produced an unashamedly biased list – by the publisher’s own admission – of the East London spots the founders Ann and Martin obsess over.

‘How dare we? Because we live here, work here, make books about East London,’ the pair say. The insider guide sings the praises of several of Bow and Globe Town’s hidden gems.

Lived in Bow forever? Used to live in a different London borough? New to the capital? It doesn’t matter. This delightful pocket-sized guide to London’s most exciting neighbourhood is the perfect way to navigate your free time.

Whether you’re putting together the perfect date night, brunch, weekend, walk, or quenching your cultural thirst, they have your every whim covered. The publishers nod to East London’s ‘slightly self-conscious hipster vibe. Do we find gentrification uncomfortable? Often.’

The pink volume opens with a mapped-out ‘Perfect Weekend’, which features an dreamy Saturday morning based around Bow. Clear your head with a stroll around the emerald in east London’s crown, the park for all seasons, Victoria Park (no. 33) then breakfast outside on Sri Lankan eggs at beloved café and bakery Pavilion, (no. 9). Walk up the road to browse Victoria Park Village’s contemporary homeware store, Haus (no. 37), run by a furniture designer and sculptor couple.

An Opinionated Guide also sings the praises of loafing on our canal bank. They declare Hackney Wick’s Cornerstone (no.19) the place for knock-out fish-based delights, from pickled oysters to potted shrimp crumpets. From Cornerstone, walk down the canal to waterfront bar and pizzeria Crate Brewery (no. 18), for stone-baked pizza, while watching narrowboats glide by and glugging a bottle of hoppy home-brewed ale.

The net is cast to Shoreditch, Dalston, London Fields, Hackney Wick, Stamford Hill and further, but another Bow recommendation shines through – Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park (no 31). Among the picturesque crumbling gravestones, there’s a wealth of wild flowers, plants, birds and butterflies to be discovered.

The second (2019) edition features 66 cafes, landmarks and shops, but doesn’t overburden you like most guidebooks. Rather, Time Out’s news and events editor Sonya Barber’s words read like a conversation with a friend. An Opinionated Guide mentions several East London art galleries, including our own Chisenhale (no. 53), but it could only do with a mention of Bow’s other galleries in its pages.

Indie Publishers Hoxton Mini Press’ latest offering falls in step with their other collectable photography books, which celebrate East London’s creative, colourful character.

Victoria Park, no. 33 in An Opinionated Guide to East London © Charlotte Schreiber
Victoria Park, no. 33 © Charlotte Schreiber
Pavilion Cafe, no. 9 in An Opinionated Guide to East London © Helen Cathcart
Pavilion Cafe, no. 9 © Helen Cathcart
Haus, no. 37 in An Opinionated Guide to East London © David Post
Haus, no. 37 © David Post
Cornerstone, no. 19 in An Opinionated Guide to East London © Charlotte Schreiber
Cornerstone, no. 19 © Charlotte Schreiber
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, no. 31 in An Opinionated Guide to East London © Charlotte Schreiber
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, no. 31 © Charlotte Schreiber
Chisenhale Gallery, no. 53 in An Opinionated Guide to East London © Charlotte Schreiber
Chisenhale Gallery, no. 53 © Charlotte Schreiber

An Opinionated Guide to East London (Second Edition) by Sonya Barber and Charlotte Schreiber is published by Hoxton Mini Press.

For more on the visually pleasing Hoxton Mini Press, try our ‘Isle of Dogs’ review, ‘East London Photo Stories’ review or ‘The East End in Colour’ review.

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