This weekend there was a protest against gentrification on Brick Lane. The protestors attacked Cereal Killer and somewhere else. There’s quite a good thing about it by Hugo Rifkind in the Times today.
I used to live in Shadwell (between 2000 and 2005 so in the proper olden days). People used to set cars on fire along Cable Street sometimes and a load of stalls sold tat on Watney Market (which may still be there for all I know). I loved it because I could walk to work in Tower Hill and it was super convenient for getting to the west end (DLR then the central line). I could also afford it.
I definitely wasn’t a hipster (too straight, too corporate, too dorky – and not in a good way) but I loved the area’s quirkiness. I felt as though it was an undiscovered area that only I, my housemates and a few others had cottoned on to. Clearly, this is a ridiculous thing to think as the area also housed a few thousand first and second generation Bengalis. It probably still does.
Having said that, I also loved to walk up to Spitalfields market. They had an Indonesian food stall and a stall that sold pashminas, you see. However, it was only after I moved to Islington that the area started getting to be so much smarter. Occasionally I go for lunch at Dishoom (there is one closer, by King’s Cross, but the one in Shoreditch is a lot more fun). I love it. I love the poncy shops, the hipster coffee bars, all the young people wearing hats and beards. If they’d been there when I lived nearby, I would have been so happy.
Here are some places that I love in the east end:
Fancy, new, “hipster” places
Dishoom isn’t really what you would call cheap. But the other three are what I would call expensive. Nice, though.
And some from the olden days
Beigel Bake, 159 Brick Lane. They are so old school, they don’t even seem to have a website.
All of these are really quite reasonable. Tayyab’s and the Lahore Kebabhouse don’t have a drinks licence so you will need to buy beers from the off licence nearby.
Having read about it, I definitely want to go to Cereal Killer Cafe. I even love their website.
And having read Hugo Rifkind’s column, I REALLY want to go to a pop-up gin bar.