Sunday, 22 May 2011

Le Delice

I often hear Walthamstow described as an up-and-coming area, and having lived here for five years now, am starting to see some evidence to support that assertion. The village is already arguably the centrepoint of the Walthamstow revolution, with its series of wonderfully middle-class shops and restaurants ( I mean, even the Spar has an in house Sicilian pizza chef!), but the effect is slowly beginning to spread outwards towards the more run down areas. Hoe street has always been a particularly low point of the area for me, with its endless sequence of fried chicken shops, off licences and a suspicious looking 24hr sauna with frosted windows.
It was with some excitement then, that on my usual walk to the station one day I noticed the old Copycats printing shop on the corner of Jewel Road had been taken over. A sign appeared above the front door in ornate lettering bearing the words: 'Le Delice'. 'A new Deli!' I thought to myself 'Or a patisserie! And just around the corner from my house!' From then, each time I walked to the station I would look with anticipation at the whitewashed windows hoping for some sign that the refurbishment was progressing and that the place might be ready to open. And I waited. After one year had passed I assumed the plans had fallen through, and I abandoned my thoughts of lazy Sunday mornings reading the newspapers whilst enjoying a croissant after a leisurely walk through the park. It was not until earlier this year, just when I had given up all hope on the place, that I started to suddenly see some signs of life. The paper screens had been taken down to reveal a lovely little cafe with deli counter, and then finally in April, Le Delice opened.
Walking through the doors the first time on opening day, I was surprised to see how spacious the place is. Floor to ceiling windows all along one side give a wonderful light feeling to the place, which extends all the way down into a snug and cosy Moroccan inspired room at the back. For food you can choose from a range of tasty sandwich fillings, served on normal bread/paninis or the delightful homemade savoury pancakes (see photo) which I would highly recommend. The freshly made crepes are also excellent, but I have yet to work my way any further down the food menu! You can also enjoy a selection of enticing looking cakes from the front counter, and an ice cream bar. The staff have all been very friendly each time I have been in, especially the owner, who seemed delighted with the reception he was getting from the local community. All in all, Le Delice is another very welcome additon to Walthamstow and a great step in the right direction for the neighbourhood.

Here are the contact details for Le Delice:

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Save our cinema! Walthamstow EMD cinema protest

Last night marked an important milestone in the long-running quest to bring back Walthamstows beloved and neglected EMD cinema, as Waltham forest council met to decide whether or not to reject the UKCG's planning application to turn this historic venue into a church.

Shortly before 7pm the crowds started to gather on the steps of Walthamstow town hall, on one side local residents with placards and banners, and on the other side an equally large group of church supporters who were arriving in bus loads from other parts of east and north London. When the doors to the Assembly hall opened at around 7.15, the majority of the church supporters were able to rush inside, followed by as many cinema supporters as we could fit, leaving several hundred more cinema supporters including myself stuck outside!

And so began the agonising wait while the council meeting was called into session. Through twitter, facebook and texts we were kept informed of every detail of the proceedings inside. We glimpsed a photo of the Assembly hall interior, one side entirely full of UCKG supporters wearing matching neon yellow jackets. We were recounted tales from the pro-church speakers, describing how their lives had been turned around by the UKCG, we heard the rapturous applause and cheering from within when pastor Paul declared 'This cinema is OURS!'

Some enterprising individuals discovered an open window at the side of the hall, and we rushed round en masse, redoubling our efforts, chanting out our rallying cry 'Save our cinema!' as friends inside tweeted and texted encouragement: 'keep going! we can hear you singing!' I think it was around this point that we discovered that the social club bar was open, which only helped fuel our enthusiasm further. We heard statements from several councillors, who said that they had not heard a single word of support for the church from the many thousands of local residents that they represent.

At 9.15 we heard that proceedings were beginning to draw to a close, and we rushed back round to the assembly hall entrance, excitement spreading through the crowd as we waited for the crucial decision from the seven councillors. 'We've got the first 4 votes!' someone shouted, 'We just need one more to win!', as everyone stood frantically refreshing their phone screens for the latest update. And then: 'We've done it!'. A huge cheer erupted from the crowd as we heard how the councillors had unanimously voted to reject the UCKG's planning permission. Our supporters from the inside streamed back out to join the celebration as our chants (somewhat optimistically, I admit) turned into 'We saved our cinema!'.

So, what next? There is still a long way to go before we see a cinema open in Walthamstow, but last night really felt like a turning point. It was truly heartwarming to see so much community spirit on show last night with people of all ages coming out to support our cause. Here are a couple of clips to give you a flavour of the fantastic atmosphere.

The moment we heard the result:

More celebrations as people emerge from the hall! Now the crowd starts chanting 'We saved our cinema!'

To read the full story of the Walthamstow EMD cinema and find out more about how you can support the cause go to:

Friday, 13 May 2011

Hoxton Salon Qype event

I was lucky enough to be invited along to Hoxton Salon in Shoreditch last night with about 12 or so other reviewers and bloggers for an evening of pampering organised by my favourite review site, Qype. The owner Paula and the staff were all so lovely and friendly and made us feel incrediblyHoxton Salon welcome.
First I went for a mini manicure where I was treated to a file, hand massage and polish in a rather funky mink colour whilst enjoying a girlie gossip with the lovely beauticians.
Next I went along for a styling session where my normally rather straight and boring hair was transformed into gorgeous voluminous curls in only 10 minutes or so - something I would never have managed to achieve for myself at home!
The hair and nails are still looking fab today - I can't believe how many nice comments and compliments I have had today from my coworkers. I would definitely like to come back some time for a cut or maybe try out the waxing that I am hearing so many good things about.
Thanks again to Paula, Sarah and everyone for organising a great evening!

Check out some more photos on the Qype does London blog here:

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mondragone, Orford Road, Walthamstow

It was a real loss to Walthamstow village when Mondragone closed it's doors a few months ago. The pizzas were always great, not to mention the fact that it was the only place you could get a table on a Friday or Saturday night without booking.

So when it re-opened recently , under new management I believe, I had to go along and see if anything had changed. The menu appears pretty much the same as I remember,
with slightly cheaper prices -most pizzas are aorund £1 cheaper than previously. Apart from that, it felt like a welcome return for an old favourite, with attentive service and familiar tasting pizzas.

Two pizzas and two small glasses of wine came to £21 in total, so a great place for a quick inexpensive meal.
Mondragone Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Monday, 2 May 2011

In praise of Eat 17

Being something of a food enthusiast, I have always felt lucky to have so many great restaurants and cafes within walking distance of my home here in E17. Orford Road in Walthamstow village in particular has several such eateries clustered together along a short stretch of the village high street. When I ask my fellow Walthamstow'ers to name their favourite local restaurant, the most common reply I get back is 'Trattoria La Ruga' which is undoubtedly deserving of it's high reputation. In recent months however, I have found myself repeatedly returning to 'Eat 17', just across the road, which is rapidly establishing itself at the number one spot in my own personal estimations.

The past few years have been a rather turbulent time for this particular establishment; since I have been resident here I have seen it transform from Thai place to Waffle kitchen, then incorporating the East London sausage company in an adjoining deli, and finally into it's present incarnation where it hopefully seems to have stabilised. The present format seems to work well; the old deli next door has been opened up and converted into a beautiful bar area where customers can come for drinks or to wait for a table to become free. This modification has given so much more light and space to the restaurant and really changed the whole atmosphere and ambience of the place.

But the one thing that keeps me coming back here time and time again is the food! Every meal I've had here has been superbly cooked not to mention great value for money. I love all the quirky presentation details: the handcut chips come served in a mini chip-fryer basket (see photo), the bread rolls individually baked in little metal pots, starters elegantly arranged on black slates or wooden boards. The staff also have always been immaculately well presented, polite and knowledgeable. So, my advice, go to Eat 17 and enjoy! Just make sure to book a day in advance!

Eat 17 is located at 28-30 Orford Road, Walthamstow E17 9NJ

You can check them out here: