Tag Archives: local shop

Tommy is Pacified

16 Dec

Big flavours mean big bubbles don’t spoil this laid-back little coffee place.

Tommy loves nothing better than a great cup of coffee and something delicious to go with it. If you’re that way inclined too and find yourself in that no-man’s land between Clapton and Hackney Central then Pacific Social Club is the place to go.

No stressing allowed. This place has an atmosphere as chilled as a sleepy sloth lazing on a lilo. Something about the layout, the furnishings, the bookcase and the music combine to hit all the right relax buttons.

They’re using a La Marzocco coffee machine and Climpson and Sons’ coffee, so they

Bubbly flat white

Bubbly flat white

care a lot about what they’re doing when it comes to coffee. Despite that my flat white was not exactly perfect when it arrived. The milk texturing seemed to have gone wrong and it was delivered with a head on it more like a pint of craft ale, the bubbles were way too big. However the problems were largely aesthetic as the coffee itself tasted good.

What also tasted good was the chipotle and apricot jam, with cream cheese, on toast. That was a taste explosion. Sweet, spicy, smoky and warming it is an unusual and memorably delicious plate of food. I understand that the jam was made by the proprietor and it has an artisan feel to it. Some mouthfuls are spicier than others and it all adds to the charm of the dish and of the place.

I also got a freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice which had big flavour too, sharp as a tack and an incredible pink colour. When they say pink they mean pink.

This is a top spot for a relaxed thoughtful approach to coffee and full-flavoured delicious snacks. A bit more attention to detail when making a coffee would be good, but on second thoughts maybe this is part of Pacific Social Club’s charm. They care, but they’re not stressed.

Pacific Social Club, 8 Clarence Road, London E5 8HB
Pacific Social Club

Pacific Social Club

Spud-I-Like

14 Dec

The new grocer’s shop on Church Street is a welcome addition.

I used to pop in and get delicious homemade samosas from the newsagents on Church Street when the Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market was held in William Patten school. They were made by the wife of the man who ran the newsagent and they were great. So I was gutted to see the notice in the window announcing their retirement and the closing of the shop. No more samosas. Bad one.

I was fully expecting to see it re-open as a designer kids-clothes shop, or some kind of vintage homeware emporium. However, after a month or so of furious renovation and remodelling it has, in fact, opened as a greengrocer’s. Bold move considering it is directly opposite Whole Foods Market, that global behemoth of corporate retail which has managed to slip under the middle-class outrage radar of Stoke Newington.*

So can Stoke Newington Green compete, thrive and survive in the tough retail conditions that prevail? It’s too early to say, but they have got off to a great start.

This place has a really extraordinary range of produce and it all looks in tip-top form.

Thai rambutan

Thai rambutan

No tired looking fruit and veg on display here. Ten types of apple, including English grown and cooking apples, and my favourite russet apples, exotic fruit from all over the world, fresh, good quality veg including British grown baby and full-sized varieties. It’s a cracking-good fruit and veg shop. I hope more people who use Whole Foods will spot it and support a local shop instead, and I’m sure they will because this place is excellent.

*I remember when Stokey residents were up in arms about Nandos opening on Church Street, but no one seems to bat an eye at shopping in Whole Foods Market whose global sales for 2011 topped $10billion. Go figure.

Fresh turmeric

Fresh turmeric