Some places just have that certain something. The French have a phrase for it: ‘zat certain sumsing!’ Quirky spots you stumble upon and tell stories about. Lesser known marvels like bonkers bars, rickety restaurants or curious museums where the curator’s cats run wild. It’s not about price or prestige, no, no. It’s all charm and character. Places with personality. That’s a GLP, my friend. Come in and explore, then go out and explore.
You tend to think east London businesses based in railway arches should contain bald headed boisterous brothers running questionable mechanics outfits. However, the arches next to London Fields not only contains the quirky vintage furniture shop Arch 389, bespoke carpenters and coffee hangouts, but are also home to a bread revolution going by the name of the E5 Bakehouse.
You may have seen the E5 Bakehouse in Saturday mags alongside articles about artisan food and what appears to be an influx of floppy haired men in their early 30s getting their kicks from dough (I’m looking at you the fabulous baker brothers). But it’s not just a bakery selling freshly made loaves of sourdough, sourced from local ingredients; alongside the production of the East end’s finest sliced, is their rugged and perfectly formed coffee shop. With the working bakery as the backdrop, rough and ready tables adorn the front of the arches, spilling out on to the pavements of London Fields – perfect people watching set up.
The lunchtime allure is the doorstop sandwiches made from the day’s batch of sourdough; crackling crusts and hearty fillings at decent prices really do make you question those copious curled-edged-packeted-purchases we buy by default. It’s pretty much the freshest thing off Mare Street and did make us consider for a moment attending their bread making course (runs most Saturdays) – the fillings on the day we visited were mature cheese and sliced pickle and a rather fetching feta and beetroot salad. But if the noble sandwich isn’t your bag, there’s a range of lunch plates with decent offerings of falafel, robust salads and, of course, to round it all off some sturdy cakes and sweet treats for afters.
There’s a petite, but not over done, offering of coffee and teas, plus of course you can pick up a loaf from the morning’s batch along with the mix of lunchtime goers – local workers, East end Broadway market types and surprised passers-by getting to grips with the sourdough revolution. The beauty of the bakehouse is that it’s not over done or pristine, it’s honest and has heart, the staff are laid back and clearly care about their creations, whether that be their bread or your lunch.
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