When it comes to discerning destinations, Dalston might not seem like the capital’s most obvious choice. But a trip to the East London suburb proves otherwise. E8 is surprisingly great says Kaye Holland
“Don’t go back to Dalston.” So sang Johnny Borrell in 2004 and back then Razorlight’s front man wasn’t wrong. Situated between Stoke Newington and Shoreditch, the east London suburb of Dalaston might have been popular with students and starving artists owing to its cheap rent and lively nights out.
Fast forward 10 years though and it’s all change in E8. Case in point? Stevie Parle – who has worked at River Cafe, Moro and Spotted Pig in the past, as well as running Notting Hill’s critically acclaimed Dock Kitchen – opened an Italian restaurant and wine bar earlier this month. Rotorino – a crowd funded restaurant – has only been open 10 days but has already been hailed by the Evening Standard as the “River Cafe of East London.” High praise indeed.
Dishes to get excited about at Rotorino include Sea Bream Carpaccio with squashed datterini tomato and marjoram and ice cream filled amalfi lemons.
Trip Kitchen and Tonkotsu East are two other smart new restaurants signifying that Dalston is dumping its hipster image in favour of a more upmarket one.
The aforementioned newcomers join established E8’ers like Lightspeed Champion and Dalston Superstore, celebrated cinema The Rio – one of the few independent cinema’s left in London – legendary jazz club, The Vortex, and London’s best kept secret: underground club night, Disco Bloodbath, which serves up a monthly dose of disco, disco and yes more disco.
Even better: reaching Dalston is much more accessible thanks to the introduction of the East London tube line ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Our advice? Now that Dalston has grown up, explore and enjoy E8 this Easter…
Must see and do
Die hard Eastenders fans will want to make a pilgrimage to Fassett Square which supposedly inspired the long running BBC soap opera.
No visit to E8 is complete without catching a flick at The Rio (107 Kingsland High Street, tel 020 7241 9410) – a fabulous independent cinema that shows new releases as well as classics.
At the excellent Ridley Road market, vendors peddle meats, sweets, salted nuts, exotic fruit and veg and every tongue tingling spice under the sun.
A trip to The Vortex should be high on everyone’s agenda. The former Stoke Newington Venue (The Vortex relocated to the Dalston Culture House in 2005) attracts musicians from around the world.