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August 10, 2012

Emily’s Openings: New Bars and Restaurants in Hackney

By Spear's

Having spent many an hour with close friends discussing plans to open up our own place, it is great to hear of chums who have actually had the guts to do so

Having spent many an hour with close friends discussing plans to open up our own place, it is great to hear of chums who have actually had the guts to do so. Two recent launches in the Hackney area have both come about from late night conversations over a fair few glasses of tipple.

White Rabbit (pictured below)
White Rabbit in Dalston is the result of chef Danny Cheetham and friends coming together to start an eatery. A mix of all of their ideas and passions, they turned a previous dilapidated space into a dining space aimed primarily at locals. The philosophy is simple: good, undervalued produced, sourced locally, cooked well and sold at a decent price.

The wood-fired ovens are used to smoke everything from fish to the yoghurt they serve with one of their aubergine dishes and pork bellies, roll mops and much more are brined and cured onsite. Menu inspiration is taken from the sharing elements of Spuntino and Brawn – a mix of small plates and larger dishes.

From melon, cucumber and Hendricks basil liquor to rabbit, summer beans and mint oil the menu is local and seasonal. Not quite finished yet, they are currently open Thursday to Saturday 6–12 and for lunch on Sunday. As the next weeks pass opening hours will extend, as will the queues of people outside, I’m sure.

15-16 Bradbury St, London N16 8JN

Crate Brewery (pictured below)
Much closer to the Olympic park in Hackney Wick you’ll find Crate Brewery. This great little craft brewery is situated in The White Building, one of the Olympic Legacy projects and is, once again, the product of several bottles of wine, good friends and one big idea.

The space has been painstakingly converted using local designers and materials found around the Wick: tables made from packing crates, a bar constructed using sleepers and light fittings made using bedsprings. The look is arty and relaxed, as are the locals. Even on a Wednesday night, only three weeks after opening and with relatively little song and dance about the opening, the place was packed.

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This is not a pretentious haunt full of hipsters in faux-glasses but rather somewhere incredibly friendly, lively and just good fun. The bright interior space opens out onto the canalside, where you can sit by the water on long communal tables and benches, chatting away until closing.

The brewery, visible to the punters, currently creates an IPA, a golden ale and lager with a stout, wheat and best on the way. The beer is – according to my army friend – jolly tasty as was the beer-wary lady’s option of the Monteith Crushed Apple Cider, which is one of the select few other drinks on offer.

What they produce on site is without doubt proper, artisanal beer that has been crafted with huge enthusiasm and passion. And what better to go with beer than stone-baked pizzas, made by hand only a few metres away? Crate offers 8 different pizzas including Sage, Truffle & Potato, Middle Eastern Lamb, Sweet Potato, Gorgonzola & Walnut and Laksa Chicken.

The Middle Eastern Lamb pizza was festooned with raisins, pine-nuts, minced lamb and heady spices and the vegetarian Sage and Truffle was simply delicious. There are no fancy sides on the menu, no starters and no puddings. Crate simply offers good, straightforward pizza and home-brewed beer.

Even after the games have been and gone, I will be making the trip to spend my evenings by a now gloriously shopping-trolley-free canal in Hackney Wick.

The White Building at Unit 7, Queens Yard, Hackney Wick, E9

If you visit any of these places, let us know what you think in the comments below or by tweeting @spearsmagazine

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