Monday, 5 November 2012

The Bell re-opening November 2012

The Bell pub, on the corner of Forest Road and Hoe street has been pretty much my local pub for the last 6 years. In all that time I think I only ventured inside once, found it to be generally quite run down and uninviting, and never went back. However, this summer the Bell closed for several months for refurbishment, and had it's much anticipated re-opening last week. The place was completely packed on opening night, including quite a large number of young trendies, which I cant ever imagine would have set foot in the old pub!

The bar area now looks open and inviting, with a wide selection of real ales and decent wines on offer. Signs in the bar indicate that they hope to start serving food soon, and I think the Bell would be a perfect place for a leisurely Sunday pub lunch.

The Bell refurbishment has been part of a very welcome series of improvements to several E17 pubs including the Cock and the Chequers on the High Street. 

You can find further details on the Bell here:

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Thainese - 313a Hoe Street

The quality of Walthamstow eateries has been on a slow but steady increase over the past few years. Not so long ago you would struggle to find a decent pizza in E17, but now we are spoilt for choice (the Spar, Peppe's at the Rose and Crown, the Nags Head and Oregano's for example). Something that has been noticeably absent however is a decent Thai restaurant. i'm a huge fan of South-East Asian food and have been hoping for years that some lovely little sushi bar or Thai place would open up in the village. So when I heard some twitter rumours about a new place called Thainese which had recently moved into Hoe Street, I knew I would have to pay them a visit.
Thainese is found along a rather quiet section of what I call the 'far' end of Hoe Street, close to the intersection with Grove Road. First impressions of the place were pretty good: sleek wooden tables and chairs and walls decorated with artwork and ornate metal lamps.We were greeted with friendly smiles by a man who appeared to be the owner and shown over to our table. The restaurant also boasts a rather unique feature of two cute and cosy little candlelit wooden cabins in the garden which can be reserved for a private party (see photos of the cabins on the Thainese website here).

The Food: Despite the name Thainese, the restaurant doesn't specialise only in Thai food, but also offers a range of Chinese and Singaporean dishes, in fact, according to  the website the head chef trained and worked in Singapore for over ten years. For starters we had crab rangoon, little crispy wonton parcels filled with a crab meat and served with a spicy dipping sauce. For the main course I had chicken Thai green curry, which was good although the sauce had more of the earthy undertones of a yellow curry  so was a little different to the traditional green curries I am used to (but still really nice!). Hubby ordered the beef claypot, beef noodles and vegetables slow-cooked in a spicy sauce. At £10.95, I'd say it was a pound or two overpriced, as were most of the dishes on the menu, although noodles and rice are included in the with all main dishes which makes the prices seem more reasonable. Service was attentive and incredibly friendly, and you could really tell how everyone was trying to make this new restaurant a success. I would definitely come again to try out more of the menu including the chef's speciality Singaporean dishes. One final thing to note is that there is no alcohol on the drinks menu, and no option to bring your own either. 

Claypot Beef
Chicken Green curry

The Verdict: If you're looking for authentic Thai food cooked by Thai chefs, this isn't the place for you ( I would suggest a visit to Singburi on Leytonstone High Road). But for some decent pan-asian food, and super friendly service, Thainese is definitely worth a visit.

You can find contact details, more information and a sample menu on the Thainese website here 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

William Morris Gallery re-opening

So the renovations in Lloyd Park seem to have been dragging on FOR EVER, certainly well past the original April 2012 predicted completion date. Between that and the great British weather we have been experiencing lately, it has somewhat scuppered my plans to spend most of my maternity leave sunbathing and picnicking in the park. But finally in the past week we have seen some progress. The path that runs through the centre of the park is now open, so I no longer have to drag the buggy across the quagmire of Aveling field on my way up to the station. The central island has been turfed over and is accessible by a new bridge, providing easy access all the way from the Brettenham Road entrance through to Forest Road. The new hub building, cafe and playgrounds in the centre are all looking very promising, although there seems like a lot of work still to do.
Ribbon Cutting
Walking up further into the park accross the island, the grounds and ornamental gardens surrounding the gallery building are looking fabulous and should be quite a sight when all the new plants and lawns have settled in. And round at the front of the William Morris gallery, an impressive new driveway has been put in, with ramps sweeping up to the entrance of the building itself, which has been re-opened to the public today! A little crowd had assembled for the ribbon-cutting ceremony before we all rushed eagerly inside.
The new William Morris gallery cafe
Downstairs, as previously, much of the exhibition showcased William Morris' work, with many of the exhibits updated with added child-friendly interactive features. There is also a large room which will house various different exhibitions throughout the year, currently on show is the impressive Walthamstow Tapestry by Grayson Perry. Almost as excitingly (for me!), just behind the contemporary exhibition room is a light and airy new cafe, with a conservatory style glass roof and patio overlooking the grounds. Sadly I didn't have time for a coffee break today as I was rushing off to the Lee Valley white water centre for some Olympic action, but I'm sure I will be back very soon to give a proper cake appraisal!

Part of the Walthamstow tapestry by Grayson Perry
The William Morris Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00 - 17:00. You can find further details of upcoming exhibitions and events on the website here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 18 June 2012

Arts and Crusts

I've been on maternity leave since the start of March, which has given me the unexpected luxury of time to explore much more of my beloved E17 than I normally get to see during my previously busy evenings and weekends. After my first couple of weeks off work I found that I was having lunch in the same few places over and over again, and it was time to try and discover some more local gems. Thanks to the power of our fabulous twitter community, it just took one quick message and 15 minutes later I was armed with a long list of personal recommendations.
First on my list was Arts and Crusts, on the corner of Victoria Road and Woodend Road. This lovely little cafe is tucked away from the main road on a residential street, making it a peaceful haven just a few minutes walk from the chaotic noise of Wood Street and Forest Road.
Inside the cafe you will invariably find Andrew, the owner and officially 'the nicest man in Walthamstow'. He goes out of his way to remember the names of all his customers, and I have spent many a happy lunchtime chatting to the other customers who Andrew has introduced me to. There is such a genuine warmth and friendliness about this place which keeps me coming back every week. As far as the food and drink goes, I've tried quite a few of the sandwiches and paninis on the menu, which have all been delicious! I'm not a coffee drinker myself, but I have it on good authority that the coffees on offer here are also excellent. The cafe also has a regularly changing display of local artworks, most of which are for sale if anything catches your eye!
You can find Arts and Crusts at 19 Victoria Road. Follow them on twitter @ArtsandCrusts for all the latest news.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Wood Street Indoor Market

This Saturday saw the re-launching of Wood Street's indoor market. I had walked past the market entrance several times in the past without even really noticing it, but it has now been completely  reinvigorated with the addition of 21 new shops. The place was a bustle of activity on re-maunch day, and it was great to see so many of the local residents out in force to support this new venture.
One of the new shops that caught my eye was the Significant Seams Hub where I put my name down for some 'waiting for baby' sewing classes where pregnant women can get together and sew a special toy or item for the new baby. We munched on yummy mango and passionfruit cakes from Plumbun, and I loved the funky T-shirt designs on display at Carbon 28 (definitely going to buy Jon a couple of cool presents from there!).

You can find Wood Street Market at 98-100 Wood Street, and it is currently open from 10-am - 5.30pm, Monday -Wednesday and Friday-Saturday. You can find a map and a full list of the market traders on the Wood Street Indoor Market website.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Daisy's Cafe - Hoe Street

Daisy's cafe is one of a few bright oases scattered among the pizza and fried chicken shops that make up the otherwise uninviting stretch of Hoe Street that leads from the Lloyd park end of town up to the station (Le Delice and L'hirondelle being a couple of the others). The cafe has an ever-changing selection of quirky decorations, toys and jewellery for sale which are scattered around the walls and give the place a really interesting vibe. The staff are really lovely, friendly and laid back. I normally pop in at lunchtimes for a tea and panini, and often end up bringing home a slice of one of the excellent homemade cakes from the main counter. Definitely worth a visit!
You can find Daisy's cafe at 176 Hoe Street
Goats cheese + chargrilled vegetable panini (with optional Worcester sauce flavour crisps!)

**UPDATE 7th Feb 2012**

Daisy's cafe appears to be up for sale! A for sale sign appeared outside at the weekend.....lets hope they can find a buyer and keep the place going.