The Dalston Guide
If you have already visited London a couple of times you might be in need for a change. Jumping on that train in Brussels or Paris is really tempting thanks to Eurostar’s frequent deals, especially considering you arrive in London in no time. Most travel guides tend to advise visiting West-London, but anyone who lives here will say East is best.
Although South-Ken is unparalleled for wandering through iconic museum such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the neighborhood lacks a certain edge to it. Shoreditch might be great for shopping, but restaurants are often overcrowded and loud. Heading to Dalston during your weekend will give you the perfect occasion to discover that other side of London. I recently moved to Dalston and this guide is my take on E8. Keep a close eye on our London page as I’ll be sharing my favourite spots there, or follow me on Instagram for my latest tips.
This breakfast classic is something you will find on a great deal of menus. That being said, not all of them are equally good. The perfect Eggs Benedict requires a runny egg and creamy sauce. At Ivy’s Mess Hall they managed to nail this combo superbly. Its an ideal spot for both brunch and lunch. Other options include sourdough toast, avocado and an assortment of juices.
It’s all about contrast
After a good breakfast I advise you to wander around and find your way to London Fields. Dalston still has a rough side to it. It used to be one of the less favorable areas in London. Nowadays you will find different kinds of streets though, with cute houses and edgy warehouses.
This beautiful park is my favourite spot in Dalston. Every season looks great with those large trees and open fields. I love sitting on a bench and looking at all the doggies playing. During the Summer you can barbecue in the BBQ area after a grocery haul from Broadway market.
Next to London Fields there is Broadway market, a sort of heaven on earth for foodies. On Saturday you will find a market with food stalls, optimal for a take away lunch which you can enjoy by the canal at the end of the market. If you are staying at an Airbnb, you could likewise get your provisions from the stalls or small (whole food) shops.
This street is not only known for its market however. There’s also a large selection of restaurants. For a sumptuous sourdough pizza, go to Franco Manco. You can also have a cosy evening at a tapas restaurant.
Of course this wouldn’t be London if there wasn’t some kind of cool concept. Every Sunday at the pie&mash place you will find The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion. A Japanese traiteur takes over this classic venue and serves mouthwatering traditional Japanese dishes. Have a look at their Facebook Page to discover the weekly menu. They are not always there, so it is advised to have a look before you head over.
If you feel like partying and need to fuel up before a night of disco dancing, I recommend going for burgers. Patty & Bun serves no-nonsense burgers paired with unexpected sides ranging from rosemary fries to duck nuggets. The burgers themselves are served with fresh ingredients & meat fried to perfection. Juicy & extremely flavourful, as it should be. They also serve a vegetarian portobello burger.
The best part of Dalston is the nightlife. After dinner you can start your night at a cocktail bar such a High Waters, where they serve a wide selection of sophisticated cocktails for very affordable prices. Dinner and a movie is also an option: Rio Cinema screens B-movies in an old school setting with Berlin Club Mate and popcorn.
If you still feel like dancing, have a look at Resident Advisor to find out what’s happening in E8. Oslo & Dalston Dance tunnel often have good line-ups. During the Summer you can enjoy the weather while dancing at Dalston Rooftop. Alternatively there are some extraordinary venues around for concerts, one of them being St John’s Church.
After you’ve had your fill of all that disco dancing, head over to Voodoo Ray’s for a slice of pizza. This pizza place is open until 3am and serves delicious American style pizza. I usually go for a classic Buffalo Margherita, but the Porky’s is also great!
A refreshing dive
Give your body some time to relax after a night out dancing. The London Fields Lido is a heated open air pool which is open all year round. Yes, you can go for a dive during the Winter. And, honestly, it is terrific.
Dalston Eastern Curve garden is one of those places I stumbled upon being too curious. This cosy garden is hidden behind a wooden entrance on one of the busiest streets in Dalston. During summertime it’s perfect for enjoying a refreshing drink underneath some foliage. In the Winter they keep it cosy by hanging twinkle lights in the garden. This is the spot to get away from the busy streets of London.
No trip to London would be complete without a Sunday roast. The Spurtowe arms is close by London Fields and coincidentally one of the most famous pubs in East London. Known for its great food and atmosphere on a Sunday, this pub is a must try during your visit. Try the double fried fries with aioli mayo; they are quite addictive!
Dalston isn’t only great for food & drinks but there are also several shops on Kingsland road & Stoke Newington Highstreet. From designers to a vinyl store. You can easily walk to Dalston coming from Shoreditch and end up in Stoke Newington. Give this neighbourhood a chance.