Fuel Up With Filter Coffee At Allpress Espresso

allpress espresso coffee and roastery hackney


Allpress Espresso is a roastery and café in Hackney that attributes its delicious coffee to the Hot Air Roasting Method it uses. In London, it started out being on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, where it still sits as an espresso bar.

You can also find Allpress Espresso in Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.

Allpress Espresso, 55 Dalston Lane, Dalston, London, E8 2NG. Phone: 020 7749 1780


There are more coffee shops in Hackney than there are corner shops. Maybe this is hyperbole; maybe this is fact – either way, you are never too far away from a decent café serving average-to-excellent coffee. I’ve gone from cortados (my first brush with coffee only four years ago) to doppios and dabbled with a few soy/oat/coconut lattes along the way.

For the past six months, though, I have been obsessed with filter coffee, and I fuel my habit by front rolling to Allpress Espresso near my apartment several times a day. Allpress does excellent single-origin filter brews (as well as other permutations and combinations of the drink), but their coffee is just one aspect that keeps this particular café busy all day. Allpress in Dalston Lane is housed in an erstwhile joiner’s factory – meaning it has ample space to sit both inside and al fresco. Through the glass partition that divides the café and the roastery, you can see their massive hot air roaster (which is powered by solar panels on their roof!), and the few items on the food menu never disappoint. There isn’t any WiFi, so you will occasionally end up sitting next to someone drinking coffee, reading a book, and not much else – which is both terrifying and refreshing in our digital age.

I’ve spent sunny, rainy, hail-y, dreary, and cheery mornings at Allpress, and I always walk out feeling better.


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Footnote Focuses On Fresh, Local Food


Footnote is a café in Hackney that focuses on sustainability, serving direct-trade coffee and food from local producers. Their wines are sourced from their family vineyard. Located on Wilton Way, Footnote is canine-friendly.

Footnote, 51 Wilton Way, London E8 1BG. Phone: 020 7923 2901


“We’ve got a new coffee place.” That was the text I received from a friend about a year ago, excitedly telling me about Footnote. It’s been around for longer, but it was a new discovery for both of us, and I moseyed over later that same day to check it out.

Footnote is a ray of sunshine even on a cloudy day with its refreshing mulberry facade in the otherwise grey, white and black colour palette of Wilton Way. Since I first visited, it’s become an ad-hoc place to work out of, get a snack, meet a friend, or just sit with a book and a glass of wine.

Footnote has a strong stance on being fair – to its customers as well as its suppliers and producers. When it comes to their coffee, tea, wine or food, there is a conscious effort on sustainability and sourcing, and they prefer to work with small producers and local makers. And they also don’t waste any food either. They work with an app that allows them to distribute everyday excess food to customers.

With large windows laden with green plants, a counter-top embellished with dessert, and friendly staff, it makes for a quiet, welcoming space that I love to escape to. At any given point of time Footnote has several people scattered in different corners, bathed in light, doing whatever has grabbed their attention for that hour(s). 

PS: Dog lovers take note – Footnote is canine-friendly.

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Visit Climpson And Sons For Delicious Specialty Coffee

climpson and sons coffee broadway market


Climpson and Sons sources their coffee from around the world – Ethiopia, Brazil, Burundi, Kenya, and Colombia. Their flavour profiles range from dark chocolate and hazelnut to rhubarb and baked apple. You can visit their Broadway Market café or the Spitalfields Market coffee bar daily and the coffee cart at the Saturday market at Broadway Market, or take an appointment to visit their Hackney roastery and academy.

Climpson and Sons, 67 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH. Phone: 020 7254 7199; Pod 3 by Commercial Street, Old Spitalfields Market, London E1 6EW.


Climpson and Sons source and roast some of the best coffees from around the world. That should be reason enough to visit their café on Broadway Market. The small space has a tendency to be elbow-to-elbow even on weekdays with people popping in to get coffee to-go just before work, during lunch, or as an evening picker-upper. 

It’s open daily, and weekends are usually a whole different ball-game, with queues snaking out the door. The service is quick, the coffee is excellent, and if you are lucky, you might get a chance to sit on a bench with your coffee and a newspaper. Even on Saturdays, when it has a stall at the weekly market, the café is always full – come rain or shine.

Climpson were part of the first wave of specialty coffee roasters in the capital. They set up shop in 2002, and from a small stall in the weekend market they have grown to supply coffee to multitudes of cafés around the city, run a coffee academy (workshops, barista skills), their cosy café in Broadway Market, a pod at Spitalfields market, and retail coffee, coffee-making equipment as well as merchandise.  The coffee – sourced from around the world – is roasted at their roastery in Hackney.

On a lark one weekend, I decided to deviate from my usual Americano-no-sugar to a soy latte-one-cube-of-sugar-please, and my world turned to technicolour. It has quickly become a habit that I only tend to indulge at Climpson, for fear that I might be disappointed elsewhere.

Feature photograph copyright joesayhello - stock.adobe.com

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Share A Platter Of Ethiopian Food With Friends At Wolkite

wolkite ethiopian food islington


Wolkite is a restaurant in Islington that serves authentic Ethiopian food. The menu includes dishes such as Mishir Wot (split lentils cooked with a blend of Ethiopian spices), Yebeg Kikil (curried lamb stew), and Asa Wot (boneless tilapia fish cooked with seasoned butter and spices including berbere) that you can wash down with a chilled Ethiopian beer.

Wolkite, 82 Hornsey Road, London N7 7NN. Phone: 020 7700 3055


I’m a sucker for sourdough bread and stew, regardless of the variation. I had never eaten Ethiopian food before, so when a friend made a reservation at Wolkite sometime around the summer of 2016, I didn’t realize I was in for a culinary surprise.

Tucked away a couple of lanes from the Emirates Stadium on Hornsey Road, Wolkite is an unassuming 50-seater restaurant with bold murals of people and food on the walls. Within 10 minutes of being seated, I had the 101 on Ethiopian food through their detailed and well-explained menu. I knew immediately I wanted the Qey Wot (beef stew cooked with berbere sauce and other spices), Awazie Tibs (tender, marinated pieces of lamb cooked with spicy sauce, peppers, onion, garlic, tomato and a touch of rosemary), Gomen Kitfo (spiced, finely chopped spring green leaves), and Timatim Salad.

The food is served on a communal platter and meant to be shared. Since my greed had ordered for more than just myself, it worked out fairly well by the end of it. First comes the platter with a smattering of vegetables and legumes, then a basket of injera (fermented sourdough bread), and finally the stews and curries. Everything is served in respectable portions around the platter, and then you begin.

There is great pleasure in trying a cuisine of your taste for the first time. The flavour gets embedded in your frontal lobe and – if you’re as fond of food as me – your mind tugs at the memory often enough to make you go back for more. The food that night was exquisite – spicy, hot, sour, textured and, most importantly, new. After chasing the meal with Tej – a mead/honey wine with suggestions of orange blossoms – and dinner table chatter, we made our way home, happy in the belly and head. I’ve been back to Wolkite almost every other month since that night, and the excitement for the food hasn’t yet ebbed.

Feature photograph copyright fomaA - stock.adobe.com

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The Gasholders Define Bethnal Green’s Skyline

bethnal green gas holders hackney


Designed by George Trewby and John Clark, the Bethnal Green gasholders were built in 1886 and 1889 by Westwood and Wrights. While they manufactured and stored town gas before 1960, and thereafter stored natural gas, they have been made largely redundant because of gas pipelines. Today they form an important part of the landscape near Regent’s Canal.

Bethnal Green Gasholders, Marian Place, Bethnal Green, London E2 9AX.


The gasholders at Bethnal Green have served me as a unit for measurement for the last 18 months. Like metal lace coiled into neat cylinders, these looming structures on Regent’s Canal, just off Broadway Market, are the 3-kilometer mark on my twice-weekly runs. It’s around this point that I’ve shaken the sleep off my body and my breath has settled, and yet, despite having found a rhythm, I always stop to take a photograph. It could be raining or bright or just a chalky grey London day but the mighty metal giants stand tall and proud.

The gasholders (also known as gasometers), aside from being my run pit-stop, were also England’s lifeline for almost 200 years. These sites were used to store gas, but with the onset of sophisticated networks of pipelines that distributed gas directly to people’s homes, the gasholders have become redundant. There is a division in public opinion on tearing the gasometers down for the sake of housing and development or retaining and maintaining them for the sake of nostalgia.

I’m a sucker for structural nostalgia, so I hope the final decision is in favour of the gasholders. From my first 800m run to my last 12k run along the canal, the Bethnal Green gasholders have silently watched over me and have been the only constant witness to my pace, struggle and jubilance with every run. My runs wouldn’t be the same without these two gasholders. But then again neither would the Bethnal Green skyline.

Feature photo by Sludge G [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

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Visit Stone Cave For A Great Turkish Breakfast

stone cave turkish breakfast dalston hackney london


Stone Cave is a café, bar and restaurant in Dalston that serves authentic Turkish food inspired by Ottoman recipes. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a wide variety of vegetarian, seafood, and meat appetisers and mains. The Turkish breakfast – fried eggs, feta cheese, mixed olives, Turkish sausages, tomatoes and cucumber along with bread, butter, jam and honey – is a perfect way to start your morning.

Stone Cave, 111 Kingsland High St, London E8 2PB. Phone: 020 7241 4911


“A man who can't bear to share his habits is a man who needs to quit them.” – Stephen King

I am in no hurry to quit my habits, especially the ones that revolve around food. When I moved to Dalston last summer, I needed a breakfast spot that served healthy and delicious food swiftly. It was more a want than a need to be quiet honest. Akin to a security blanket, but made entirely of food. Several weekends were spent testing different restaurants and cafés. There were a few hits and quite a few misses (generic food, took too long, too far, didn’t feel right, the coffee was weak and so on).

It was on a bleak, grey day that I walked into Stone Cave, a Turkish restaurant on Kingsland Road, about 300m away from my apartment. I was predictable and ordered the Turkish breakfast, which involved a neat array of fried eggs, feta cheese, mixed olives, Turkish sausages, tomatoes and cucumber along with bread, butter, jam and honey. The portion size was enough to fill me up but not make me immobile, the bread and honey were pitch perfect, and the whole meal felt like a gastronomic symphony. I would love to wax poetic about the rest of Stone Cave’s menu, but I would have to make up stories to back it up – even though I have been back almost every weekend, all I have ordered is the same Turkish breakfast, chased by bitter and hot Turkish coffee. That’s proof enough for how deep my habits run.

Feature photo copyright COSPV - stock.adobe.com

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Stokey Bears’ Burgers Hit The Spot

stokey bears burgers stoke newington hackney east london



To be fairly honest, I fell in love with the name before I fell for the burgers. Stokey Bears has been around in Stoke Newington since 2014. They make no tall claims of being the best burgers in the area (or city for that matter) but they really should. With seven legitimately good burger options – one that comes with a Ribman Holy F*ck Hot sauce (yes please!) and one vegetarian bean burger – Stokey Bears knows how to hit the spot. Details of where the beef in your burger is sourced from are on the menu so you know exactly how fresh it is.

Expect loud music, dim lighting, comfortable seating and chatty, friendly service – I got the details for a yellow and red ’80s style t-shirt I would have otherwise been too shy to ask about. The interiors reflect Stoke Newington’s edginess but also wrap up the appeal of an all American diner, oozing some feel-good vibes.

Go with a big appetite and order the buffalo hot wings as well, heck order the fries too. Self hate and gluttony is overrated anyway.

Stokey Bears, 29 Stoke Newington High Street, Stoke Newington, London N16 0PH. Phone: 020 7148 2055

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Affordable Art At Nelly Duff

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If it’s street, tattoo and graphic art that you’re into and want to plaster your walls with, Nelly Duff exhibits original (and edition) pieces of some of the leading artists from around the world. With a very affordable to youhavegottobejoking price spectrum, it’s also a great space to walk around and lust after art while taking mental notes on what to buy next. I should know. That’s exactly what I did before getting my hands on a Sabrina Kaici print.

Nelly Duff, 156 Columbia Road, London E2 7RG. Phone: 020 7033 9683

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On Spoon’s Carpets – 10 Questions With Kit Caless

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It’s a book about carpets, and its received rave reviews in just the few short weeks since it’s release. London writer – and The City Story contributor – Kit Caless authored and photographed Spoon’s Carpets, An Appreciation, which focuses entirely on the carpets at Wetherspoon’s, a national chain of pubs in the UK. Kit traveled extensively across the UK for several weeks to document some of his favourite Wetherspoon’s carpets, and we caught up with him to find out a little more about the book.

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TCS: Tell us why you took the very first photograph of a Wetherspoon’s carpet.

KC: I had just finished reading a book at a Wetherspoon’s near a train station and had time to kill before boarding my train. The book in question – The Way Inn by Will Wiles – was about hotel architecture and interiors, and I happened to look at the carpet and wondered if all Spoon’s carpets eventually fit together to become part of some giant tapestry. I didn’t think much of it until I went to another Wetherspoon’s soon after and noticed that the carpet there was entirely different. Having taken a photograph of the carpets at both Wetherspoon’s, I decided – as a personal joke -- to find out if any two Spoons carpets were the same.

TCS: What happened next?

KC: Well, by the time I had photographed 15 carpets (none of which were the same), I decided to set up a Tumblr account and invited people to send their photographs of Spoon’s carpets.

TCS: Was that when it took off?

KC: Yeah. Because the moment you ask people to collaborate, it gets big. Word spread rapidly, and the blog was even featured in The Guardian. It went viral.

TCS: So the Tumblr led to the book?

KC: Yes. It was a series of events that led to the book, really. The blog was really popular, and I happened to meet an agent at a literary festival who knew about the blog and asked me if I was interested in doing a Spoon’s carpet book. It hadn’t really occurred to me until then.

TCS: Do you genuinely like all the Spoon’s carpet designs?

KC: Well, to be honest, it went from being a joke in the beginning, like a personal “hahaha”, to knowing more about the establishment and the thought behind the carpets. When more interesting designs started to get sent to me by various people is when I got really interested in how they were actually designed, because some of them are amazing. Some are designed after a local area, or the history of the neighbourhood. The designs are not random at all. For example – there’s one in Camden called The Ice Wharf, which used to be a wharf that held ice in the 1800s. The design was a circle connected to a line and then another circle and a line. After looking at it for a while it occurred to me that it looked like a molecular structure. So I googled the molecular structure of ice and the pattern turned out to be just that!

TCS: Which has been the worst carpet you’ve seen?

KC: There’s one in Durham called the Bishop’s Mill. It is horrendous in a fascinating way. It’s like little worms in different colors, quite lurid. But I think it fits the pub. It’s a student-y pub, so it’s got a younger crowd than most other spoons.

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TCS: And one that you wouldn’t mind having in your apartment?

KC: There’s one called the Imperial in Exeter, which was a hotel up till 1994. They have an orangery on the premises and it’s a really lovely space. The carpet there is beautiful; it’s quite intricate and floral, and the design alludes to the Regency era. I’d probably have that in my house.

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TCS: Recommend three Wetherspoon’s in London to newbies.

KC: The Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington is the longest running Spoons in the country (not the first, but the longest surviving). It’s a real egalitarian space that one – full of old timers, students, families, people finishing work early and of course, Stoke Newington’s literary community who can’t afford to drink at the Shakespeare down the road.

The Mossy Well in Muswell Hill is a new building conversion and its pretty stunning. The carpet is pretty banging, all distressed and faded but with a Persian vibe that makes you feel like it came over to the UK in the 1700s. There is a huge mezzanine section where you can eat lunch, which has great people watching potential.

Lord Moon of the Mall is the Wetherspoon’s near Whitehall. The carpet is unspectacular and the building is pretty boring. However, you get to see juniors from the House of Commons and other underpaid people involved in the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of our current government downing pints in a bid to quell the voice in their head telling them that everything is going to the dogs.

TCS: Do you have a favourite Wetherspoon?

KC: One of my favourites – just for the story of it – is in Liverpool. It’s called The Raven, after Edgar Allan Poe’s poem. There was an artist who lived there and left for America in the1800s to find fortune. He was a street pavement artist and quite poor. He entered a competition in Boston to illustrate The Raven for a new publication but didn’t end up winning the competition. He lost all his money and eventually came back to Liverpool, died a pauper and was buried in an unmarked grave near where this Wetherspoon’s is. About 75-80 years later someone found his illustrations in America, and they’re now in the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Virginia. That pub is named The Raven because of this illustrator who died penniless was buried so close to it. This is the sort of story that, If you didn’t bother looking it up, you’d never know of.

TCS: Where can we buy your book?

KC: Online: Amazon, obvs. But better to go via an independent with a good online shop like Foyles

Offline: All Waterstones branches have copies. As will my fave independents Foyles, LRB Bookshop, Brick Lane Books, and all good London bookshops (and in the rest of the UKKit Spoons_004

 The Rochester Castle, 145 Stoke Newington High Street, Stoke Newington, London N16 0NY

Mossy Well, The Village, 258 Muswell Hill Broadway, London N10 3SH

The Lord Moon of the Wall, 16-18 Whitehall, Westminster, London SW1A 2DY

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11 Questions With Designer Kichu Dandiya

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Kichu Dandiya’s eponymous jewellery brand doesn’t create your run-of-the-mill designs. Kichu, she says, as a brand or an individual is someone who is well travelled or has an appreciation of the various ethnicities and respect for new age design movements – someone who not only appreciates the creative process that goes into the making of jewellery but also understands the value of using alternative practices in jewellery as a form. The City Story has a quick chat with Kichu Dandiya about the brand and some other essentials.


TCS: Where did you grow up and what did you study?

KD: I grew up mostly in Maharashtra, between Mumbai and Panchgani (where I did my school). I completed a B.A. (Honours) in Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London

TCS: When did the idea of starting Kichu come to you?

KD: It took a while until I figured out what exactly wanted to do with Kichu and jewellery. Right after my shift from Mumbai to Jaipur in 2014, it became easier to manage good quality production and suddenly I had the resources to start Kichu. I launched my brand in July 2014.

TCS: Tell us a little about your design aesthetic.

KD: Strong, impactful, yet not too much a fuss. I prefer things to be less complicated, and that doesn’t necessarily make it weak in its aesthetics.


TCS: Could you name a few artists whose work you really admire?

KD: I like Tanel Veenre’s work, especially the deer hoof necklace. Rene Lalique’s dragonfly brooch. Naomi Filmer made these metal fangs for Hussein Chalayan, which I quite like, and finally Henrik Vibskov’s jumpers.

TCS: Which is your favourite account to follow on Instagram? Why?

KD: Norblack Norwhite for their vibrant and whimsical visual sense.

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TCS: Were you always immersed in design or was it something that you cultivated?

KD: Yes I was. My upbringing was influenced by a variety of designers in my life. My father was great with design and we got along very well on that note and still do. An uncle who is a fashion designer has also encouraged my growth in design. With them, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people whose work I respect.

TCS: What do you love about Bombay?

KD: Vada paos, Malwani/Konkan lunch homes and Parsi cafés


Photo by Srishti Gurung (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

TCS: Name an object you couldn’t part with. Also tell us why.

KD: My travel pillow. I am all over the place these days.

TCS: Tell us 3 things about your design aesthetic that are most important to you.

KD: Form, material and finish


TCS: Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery? If yes, what is it and why do you like it?

KD: I have these massive silver kadas that I wear on my arm. They are samples from my father’s workshop, which were extremely hard to get.

TCS: It’s 2 a.m. in Mumbai and you’re hungry. Where do you go and what do you eat?

KD: Amar Juice Centre for the juices and Mini Punjab for their rolls.

You can buy Kichu products at Fantastique, 5, Battery Street, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai 400 001.

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