London Fields, Afternoon Tea + a meat restaurant in an old, bombed church.

Soooo I found my new neighbourhood. London is cool, but I hadn’t found anywhere I really wanted to live. Today, I did. A guy in a coffee shop in Bloomsbury had lived in Adelaide for a while, so told us as Melbournians we would probably like London Fields. So we planned to head out Hackney way to check out LF and Victoria Park Village (which I had heard was like a little country village in the middle of London). We headed over on a sunday to check out the market, and got so caught up with the neighbourhood, completely forgot to go to the market. We stopped in at a great cafe, Coffee is my Cup of Tea, in a row of cafes in the converted Railway Arches. I had some soft-boiled eggs, mackerel and mixed salad on sourdough, and a delicious banana and cinnamon smoothie.

 

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We wandered over to London Fields, the big park that runs down the middle of the neighbourhood. Everyone was out soaking up the sun. Eric and I commented on how spoiled we are in Australia – we take our free, inbuilt, council provided BBQ’s for granted. We were so confused as to why everyone was sitting in the park here with little, tiny foil BBQ’s, like little chimneys puffing out smoked that covered the park.

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We wandered down Regents Canal, where we saw the ‘next-level hipster’. These guys are the epitome of young, attractive, and DIY. They live in canal boats, covered in pots full of flowers and herbs, their meals eaten on the roofs of their boats, their bikes tied down to the deck with ropes. Guys with cropped locks wore flannels and overalls, and cut wood with a handsaw to make furniture on deck. People stepped over to their neighbours boat to join in a conversation.

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We made it up to Victoria Park, where the rest of London seemed to be hanging out – rollerblading, biking, smooching on picnic rugs. We head down Lauriston Rd in the sun, and people were spilling out of cute cafes and bakeries. For all the people around, the area still had a quiet country vibe – I’m moving here. It’s settled.

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We were meeting Husni and Hadiah in Shoreditch, so took the bus down and stopped in at the Albion for a Afternoon Cream Tea while we waited.

 

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We found this cool food village, that had a little hub for the street carts to congregate around.

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We dropped into MEATmission for dinner, a converted church space that had been bombed in the war. It had a distinct ‘evil church butcher vibe’ as the boys put it, and we sat up in pews and drank jugs of beer and ate medium rare meat like heathens. The buffalo wings were TASTY.

 

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They have a stack of beers on tap that you can get in huge jugs or pints – we went for 5 jugs between us and Husni and I initiated Hadiah and Eric into the very serious army drinking game dating back to the 17th century, the Cardinal Puff.

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It’s a memory game, inherently, and it is one of the most successful drinking games because everyone is determined to be ‘initiated’. And they have to keep drinking every time they get something wrong. Suffice to say we downed those 5 jugs fairly quickly – but they both got there in the end.

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