Hackney Wick is just as lively during the day as it is at night and it’s all down to its buzzing brunch scene.
Hackney Wick’s food scene is hotting up; there’s sustainable Silo and Michelin star Cornerstone if you want to go a bit fancy, impress a date by dining on a 120-year-old Dutch barge, Barge East, and for more low-key fun, a pint and pizza at Natura. With this thriving and diverse food scene, it was all but inevitable that brunch would follow suit and become something of a thing in the perennially cool Hackney Wick.
For image-conscious twenty-somethings to hard-working tradies, energetic party-goers to dedicated pup lovers, there really is a brunch spot for everyone.
BEST FOR: HIDDEN GEM CUTENESS
Blink and you’ll miss it. Independent café, Thingy Café, is tucked away behind a low-rise red-brick wall and a gate with foliage trailing either side of it on Trowbridge Road. But don’t be put off by this unassuming entrance; enter and its cosy indoor space leads out to a leafy back garden through giant bi-folding doors. Come as a group or even on your own; its long benches can see you make friends with your brunching neighbour.
It recently launched a new autumn menu. Usual brunch suspects include scrambled eggs with sourdough toast (and, of course, avocado can be added too), but it also has some deliriously delicious sounding toasties; focaccia oozing with burrata, almond pesto and prosciutto, and chunky cheese and onion toastie with mango chutney.
Part café, part music studio, it’s good vibes only in this hidden gem.
Find Thingy Cafe at 1 Trowbridge Road E9 5LD
BEST FOR: FRIENDLY STAFF
From concealed cafes to conspicuous coffee shops, Ethical Bean Co’s entrance on Dace Road is a giant mural by the award-winning artist Luke Gray.
Walk through the double doors of this small family-run business and you’ll find yourself in a cosy, no-nonsense space where brunch is served every day of the week. With no meat on the menu, the full breakfast gets you two vegan sausages, hashbrowns, mushrooms, beans, kale and toast. For those who don’t fancy the full monty, the cafe offers a range of bagels. Being a family-run business, a warm greeting and convivial conversation are all part of the service.
As the name suggests, Ethical Bean specialises in ethically sourced, fairtrade coffee. Every cup is made using a four-origin blend, with beans from Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Sumatra. Iced coffee are also available alongside a range of teas.
Find Ethical Bean at 41 Dace Road E3 2NG
BEST FOR: CANAL-SIDE CATCH UP
Ok, so while this isn’t an East London native, we have to concede they do serve up some very good brunches. Opening up in spring 2016 on the banks of the River Lee, it’s a popular spot anytime of the week. And we can see why.
You will be spoilt for choice. Serving brunch until 5pm, Breakfast Club caters for meat-lovers with its range of full English fry-ups aka ‘Caf Classics’, sugar-chasers will eye up the all-American pancakes or deep-fried pancake balls, and dedicated veggies can choose from a range of breakfast burritos. And its drinks options? Forget your usual teas and coffees, go hard with a Bloody Mary.
It’s walk-ins only during the weekend so if you want to nab a seat, be sure to get there early to avoid the inevitable queue.
Find Breakfast Club at 29 East Bay Lane Canalside, E15 2GW
BEST FOR: DOG LOVERS
Brunch and coffee catch-ups are all well and good with friends, but sometimes you just want to hang out with your pet pooch. Have a date with your dog and head to Barkney Wick.
This doggy daycare, training, and walking service in Hackney Wick is also a café. Order your date a puppachino, made from coconut milk and topped with doggy treats, while you tuck into plant-based goodies. Its vegan pastries (which include raisin swirls, perfectly formed croissants, and vegan sausage rolls) are made by local bakers. Or, go one step further and share a treat with your dog – Barkney Wick stocks East London company Lick & Mix’s treats which make goodies for doggies and their humans, such as its Classic Beer Bones made from grains, oats and covered in sesame seeds. The ultimate bonding experience.
Find Barkney Wick at 75 Smeed Road, E3 2NE
BEST FOR: LATE-NIGHT RAVERS AND EARLY RISERS
Welcome one, welcome all. Placed just around the corner from all the clangs of the Wick’s construction worksite by day and frivolities of the Hackney Wick Horseshoe by night, Mapp’s Café is the perfect spot for early workers to late-night ravers. Opening at 4.30am Monday to Friday and 4am on Saturday, Mapp’s has been serving Hackney Wick for thirty years.
All fry-ups are cooked from scratch by Mapp’s owner Hussein Husseiyn with tried and tested recipes that have held strong for the last three decades. His full English is £8 and teas are £1, with coffees £1.50. A fry-up, and a caffeine kick (and, for those bleary-eye revellers, halfway to a hangover cure), all sorted for under a tenner. Bargain.
Find Mapp’s Café at 13 Chapman Road E9 5DW
The Wick Café
BEST FOR: BARGAIN FULL ENGLISH
Like Mapp’s, the Wick Café is a tried and tested greasy spoon. Run by Yusuf Yinmaz, it has been on the scene for the last twelve years. This spacious traditional East End caf is visited by locals and professionals, and even the neighbourhood policemen. A testament to its loyal following, it even has customers travelling back to the East End after moving out, just to get a taste of Yinmaz’s beloved food.
The café’s speciality is the meat omelette, with ham, bacon, and sausage. Another recommendation is his traditional £6.50 English breakfast, with eggs, chips, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and baked beans.
Find The Wick Café at 28 Felstead Street E9 5LG
If you enjoyed reading this, then read our guide to Hackney Wick bars, restaurants and clubs.
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