Where the hell is Hackney Wick? Well, chuck all your compasses away and switch off that magnetometer. Take this tip (‘tis simple to follow and pretty much failsafe except for the tedious time it takes to get there)-
Go to Portman Square (yes I don’t give a donks if you don’t happen to reside near Arc de Marbre) where the not so iconoclastic Churchill Hotel planteth. Now wait patiently at the graffiti-free bus shelter for the bus 30 (frequencies vary from 15mins to a dozing 23mins, but worse during lazy weekends). When upon embarking (do watch out for ticket inspectors), start reading Episode 13, Nausicaa from Joyce’s Ulysses. This will take as long as the 30’s destination stop to Hackney Wick (‘bout 67mins). Once alight, obviously with the insistence and assistance of the driver waking you up by shouting ‘last stop!’. A different dimension offering a varying degree of obliqueness awaits you. You’ve now arrived at Hackney Wick, ‘well-lost’ epitomises the place.
Perhaps I’ve been lucky (often with my bearings switched off), most of the folks who live here have been accommodating enough to direct me to The Counter, Fish Island, Wick Café (model greasy spoon caff), 1500m vantage point of the 2012 Olympic Stadium, BSM hotspots (driving lessons…lemon squeezy three point turns) and Oslo House where The Hackney Pearl inhabits.
The Hackney Pearl is a café and bar. And like all the new and fringy establishments of its ilk, it excuses itself on the simplicity and no-nonsense school as far as the grub and interiors are concerned. Fact of the matter is that I love the ambience, the unrelenting airiness, genuine welcome and the enticing looking menus. As for the food, well I can only pen about the breakfast and coffee, methinks a second posting if and when I come back here for lunch or dinner.
Does an elephant have a good memory or a spider need four pairs of Ray-Bans? Indeed, Square Mile Coffee is served here.
Americano- call me a stupid git for ordering such an ineffectual preparation…diluted espresso…deep down I thought it might provide the virtuousness of good old filter…so through no fault of Hackney Pearl I’m an ignorant buffoon…poor. £1.80
Flat White- the barista is still coming to terms…more time needed. £2.00.
Double espresso- a redeeming embrace after the Americano miscreation
Bubble & Squeak with Fried Egg- Companion’s choice. Nice she said. Sure? I asked. Yes, she said. £6.00 is a lot for a portion that’s bordering on meagre.
Scrambled Free Range Eggs on Toast with free range Devon Bacon- Yes this post is a breakfast series and this is no full blown fry-up, but the eggs were cooked beautifully and the bacon rasher (gawd I’m sure there was only one so hence singular) was very good. But the problem was the night before I’d too much obnoxious Retsina… a single piece of toast is simply not enough to soak up the self-inflicted excesses… I was still hungry after that serving. £6.00.
The Counter, 8.5mins walk away, although more erratic in its service and dare I say the haggard furniture, serves better coffee and brekkie*. But The Hackney Pearl is jewel nonetheless, not a rough diamond but simply unpolished. I look forward to either lunch or dinner here soon, follow-up post beckons.
*The food service at both establishments can be excruciatingly sluggish, think slow food movement, so please don’t throw a wobbly if your tummy starts to rumble. Curb that kvetching!
11 Prince Edward Road
(Grnd Flr Oslo House East Wing)
London E9 5LX