A Guide to Leyton
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Leyton is like a little village in the Big Bad Smoke. People are friendly, products are locally sourced and independent businesses just generally seem to support each other. We half expected them to break into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast at one point.
All joking aside, it's a little rough and ready but still worth rolling into to see what a community really feels like, drink coffee in a bookshop that cares, eat food that knows where it's from and try your hand at the legendary music bingo.
Best for... a strong cup o' joe
Start your day right at Perky's with a strong cup of joe. They sell their in-house blend to a great many of the self respecting coffee houses of East London, so you know it's good stuff.
It's sourced from South America and Africa and roasted right here in the backroom. Sure you can stock up on lattes and flat whites but we like ours in an espresso martini. Cause we cray.
Best for... warming Scottish grub
Deeney's founder, Carol, grew up north of the wall and brings us her twist on a Scottish classic, haggis. Ask any Scott worth their Irn Bru and they'll tell you it's basically minced sheep's pluck (that's organs, chaps) chopped up with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices.
Carol's shoved her haggis concoction in a toastie with cheddar, caramelised onion and rocket. Try one and you'll get an idea of how the good people of Scotland survive the winter.
Best for... a seasonal feast
Owner and head chef Natalie was one of the first to settle in this village-like corner of Leyton. She saw a potential market for her indulgent brunches, epic Sunday roasts, and sustainable veg-heavy menu... She was right.
We plonked ourselves at the counter and watched the chef create wild mushroom and truffle arancini; and the most succulent beef shin stew. It's all made fresh, in front of your eyes, and tastes like heaven.
Best for... one of a kind trinkets
It's a tale of two artists: illustrator Tiff and jewellery designer Lucie. They got sick of lonely studio time and wanted a local shop championing local goods - so they thought up Venner.
Everything is ethical, environmentally friendly, and sustainably sourced from jewellery, bags and ceramics, to prints and woodcuts. If you are in the business of supporting independent shops and local artists, then you'll love it. You'll likely leave with something beautiful and original.
Best for... cosying up with a book
After working in bookshops all her life, Aimée needed to make hers less intimidating. She wants you to pop in to Phlox, feel at home, ask questions and have a good old rummage.
The counter serving Allpress coffee, wine, and craft beer makes it even easier to linger in this charming nook of a shop. If you're lucky, you might even steal a cuddle with resident French bulldog Huxley.
Best for... a glass of something fine
Yardarm is basically a glorified (and mighty stylish) 'food and wine', run by Eliza (the sommelier) and her hubby. And as the old saying goes, you're not supposed to drink till the sun is over it. (The yardarm.)
Up front you've got your wine, beer, cheese, condiments and the like. And round back you can pull up a pew and sip on a little something by the glass. Not bad for an offie, really.
Best for... real ale and quirks
We ooh'd and aah'd at Leyton Technical's high ceilings, marbled mosaic floors, higgledy-piggledy mirrors, paintings and taxidermy - for far too long. (So long that our camera ran out of battery.) The result of all their bric-a-brac is comforting and disconcerting at the same time - a lot like going through your gran's stuff behind her back.
We popped in for a pint of ale (one that promised notes of tea and biscuits) and sipped it real slow.
Best for... hearty brunching
Kettle and Ryan is a legit neighbourhood bistro. It's small, slick, and stylish - with dark green walls and fancy olive chairs. Happily settled on the village-like Francis Road, it marks a rise in hipster in the Leyton area. And damn tasty hipster too.
Brunches are seen to with shakshuka and the like, and dinners are heavy on the veg with a few ethically sourced animals thrown in - think South Coast mullet with turmeric spiced lentils and crispy Serrano ham.
Best for... a spot of Karaoke
The Leyton Star must have huge sleeves considering all the tricks that are up there. All seems pretty standard at first glance but a quick rummage reveals a big ol' beer garden, darts, table football, a retro arcade machine and not one but two hireable karaoke rooms.
You want more? Try quiz Tuesdays, DJ Fridays and some incredibly tasty roast Sundays. Also known as Sunday roasts.
Best for... finding friendly faces
The Northcote Arms is one of the friendliest pubs we've come across. By day it's filled with locals having a good old natter, then in the evenings things perk up substantially.
It's run by the lovely Tuesday, who's put together a killer events schedule. Our picks were the music bingo, drag nights and live acoustic performances in the garden. Pair that with wood-fired pizza and you've got yourself a dream pub.