1. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Conflict Kitchen London

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/somewhere-you-should-go-conflict-kitchen-london/

    Somewhere you should go… Conflict Kitchen London

    It doesn’t want to force a message down your throat, but it hopes that by the time you leave you might have digested more than just dinner. Conflict Kitchen London wants to be a restaurant with a conscience.

    The pop-up eatery, launched ahead of the International Day of Peace on September 21, is serving traditional food from Myanmar, Jordan and Peru to encourage discussions about the prospect of peace in those countries.

    More than 100 people attended the first week of the three-week residency at Monikers, a space in East London.

    A mixed crowd of locals, foodies and nationals of Burma, the country now called Myanmar, got a chance to meet new people and try dishes including hincho, a spicy soup, and a chicken-and-coconut curry served with egg noodles.

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    As the £35 three-course meal was being prepared, guests broke the ice with strangers, using conversation cue cards about everything from Myanmar’s largest exports to the number of years its opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, spent under house arrest.

    They could also order themed cocktails, with a Negroni masquerading as a “Rangooni”, after the original name of Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon.

    Debbie Riehl, an up-and-coming Myanmar-born chef and artist who conceived and prepared the dishes, said the restaurant catered to a number of needs.

    “To talk about global issues over a meal? I just had to get on board with this,” she said. “It’s non-confrontational, people are having conversations about things, and exchanging ideas, thoughts, views, everything.”

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    The agendas for debate are far from rigid. On one table conversation soon swayed towards the topics of the Scottish referendum and the current state of music education in the UK.

    On another, a pair of Burmese friends discussed how they had never attended such an event before and could usually share Burmese food only in one of the few Buddhist monasteries in the capital.

    Debbie added: “A lot of Burmese people have come as well. They’re thrilled that there is a Burmese pop-up but also to be associated with something like this because they’re obviously more aware of the conflict in Burma.”

    The creative decor is designed to bring diners up to speed with the issues. A large rolling chalkboard outlines the history of Myanmar as a creative infographic. Communal tables have placemats with world maps.

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    A bell rings before each course is served, followed by a “fact” shared by Phil Champain, director of Emerging Programmes at International Alert, the charity behind the concept.

    He outlined the history of Burma’s independence from Britain in 1948, decades of authoritarian military rule and the reforms in 2010 which could lead to the country’s transition to a full democratic government.

    “But peace is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.

    He added that Conflict Kitchen London was inspired — loosely — by Cocina del Conflicto (Conflict Kitchen), a project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which only serves food from “countries with which the United States is in conflict”.

    The non-profit pop-up is part of International Alert’s current Talking Peace festival, which offers a series of peace-related events across London.

    “It’s very much looking at this kind of food as a way of bringing people together to ultimately resolve differences and reconcile and also deepen understanding,” Champain said.

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    A few days later, diners were invited to think about Jordan, facing pressure from an influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

    The final week will put the spotlight on Peru, where there is conflict between indigenous people and companies over land rights and natural resources.

    “I think it’s unusual to have food mixed with politics but those are two things I enjoy,” said Nina Harris, an 18-year-old student from London who came to the Jordan evening with her sister.

    “I’ve really enjoyed the evening. It was good to mix with different age groups, people with different jobs and backgrounds.”

    Robert Sutton, a 36-year-old American living in London, agreed. “It’s a good way to meet a lot of people to talk about issues that are current topics in the world. You can talk to people about their views and enjoy food represented from their countries first hand. It’s really good.”

     (First published on Reuters, 18th September. Editing by Michael Roddy and Andrew Roche)

    For more information about Conflict Kitchen London, visit: www.grubclub.com/conflict-kitchen

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  2. New Post: Somewhere you should eat… Trade

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/somewhere-you-should-eat-trade/

    Somewhere you should eat… Trade

    Trade is the sort of cafe I dream of owing one day. From the retro-inspired interiors to the beautifully presented food, this new drop-in on Commercial Street makes a good first impression, representing the quality produce that can be found nearby in New Spitalfields Market. I’m told businessfolk and locals flock here around lunchtime while tourists take care of the weekend – and after an invite to check it out, you soon discover why. The coffee is good, really good – and the lobster roll for a tenner is incredible, made with warm brioche, hints of dill and a welcome chilli kick. There’s an impressive array of dessert too; if you ever wanted a carrot cake to rival the best you ever had, their super-moist prized bake is an easy contender. Trade opens 7 days a week but for more info visit: www.trade-made.co.uk

    Check out pics from our recent visit below:

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  3. Friday nightin’ at Ping, Earls Court Road. So far, good! Ping Pong in 30mins (and kudos to chef on the food front - freshly baked focaccia?! YESSIR!)

     

  4. New Post: Somewhere You Should Go…Vista Bar

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/somewhere-you-should-go-vista-bar/

    Somewhere You Should Go…Vista Bar

    It’s easy to think of Trafalgar Square as an area reserved for tourists and pigeons but near the museums and art galleries is The Trafalgar Hotel  which hides the beautiful Vista Bar, a stunning open air rooftop bar with views of the Square, Big Ben, London Eye and the Thames.

    As central London’s largest rooftop bar, if you’re for looking for somewhere a bit special  - perhaps for a date or celebration –  just take the lift up to the sixth floor and stop by for a drink. Fitting in with the impressive surroundings is a drinks menu which of course features champagne and cocktails (though the usual bar drinks are all available). My favourite was the Gin Mary, a Bloody Mary given an update with bacon (!) infused gin.  It gives it an extra kick that somehow works and makes you wonder why more drinks don’t have bacon added to them.

    It’s certainly not the cheapest bar in the capital but considering the location it is the perfect place if you’re looking for something special and areas can be hired making it great for a birthday celebration. As for  food, the menu is a relaxed mix of nibbly bits, salads and snacks perfect for picking and even includes caviar if you really want to go all out.

    Despite  the chilly winter months ahead,  Vista plans to cover the roof and put on extra heating for comfort, so it’ll be worth the visit – just note  it gets busy and is often used for private events – plus there’s a £5 entry charge after 4pm, though they do donate a £1 to charity.  (Words: Lucy Palmer) 

     

  5. New Post: Somewhere You Should Go… Netil House

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/arts-culture/somewhere-you-should-go-netil-house/

    Somewhere You Should Go… Netil House

    Already recognised as a centre for creativity and new trends, East London has another addition to its scene. Netil House provides a space for a meeting of creative minds, to discover inspiration and a great place for a drink. A home to 94 creative studios plus an events space, Netil House allows everyone from designers, photographers, music producers, film makers and more to meet, work together and most importantly socialise together.

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    Visit the Platform Cafe, Bar & Terrace for its Persian-inspired menu or just a drink while checking out the view of London through its massive windows. With so many events constantly taking place including exhibitions, book launches, film screenings, comedy nights, themed-supper clubs, music showcases and more, you’re in for a night that will always be memorable and unique.

    You can also get away from the usual crowded London cinemas and visit their roof top cinema where you can snuggle under a blanket and watch a film under the night sky. Check out Prince’s epic rock drama Purple Rain on October 5th.

    Finally, every Saturday and Sunday,  visit Netil market for stalls selling everything including vintage home wares, jewellery designers, illustrations, original artwork, vintage clothing, niche accessories and gorgeous food stalls.

    For more info, check out www.netilhouse.com

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  6. TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go - August 2012

    Oh August - how did you get here so soon? Here’s to the last of the holiday months in the capital, which promises some very cool new nights  and that massive event that goes down in West London over the bank holiday weekend that always has the best jerk chicken…

    Nightlife

    The Love Below at Trailer Happiness, August 5th - There’s a new monthly Sunday lounge coming to Notting Hill for those cool Londoners who like their music hip, chilled and classic. It’s called The Love Below (and if you remember anything about its namesake album by Andre 3000, you’ll know you want to be here).

    Nightlife

    No Long Ting at The Brick Box, 354 Coldharbour Lane, August 10th - Illustrious London MC Ty curates a night of music, artwork, films, DJs, food (and cheap drinks) in Brixton - and whether this is the one-off or the start of something regular, it sounds BRILLIANT.

    Activity

    Street Photography Workshop, August 12th - Our sister site The Culture Club Photography Workshops wants to take you on a journey around Shoreditch where your photography skills will go up a few notches making you the envy of all your mates. One to book.

     Arts & Culture

    Bush Bazaar, Bush Theatre, until August 18th - Described as a “90 minute fantastical adventure” this pop-up theatre event brings together some of the capital’s most daring performers to perform a collection of shows that sound pretty intriguing…

    Alternative

    Midnight Run, August 18th - Poet Inua Ellams leads a creative, after-hours expedition around London to experience the capital in a unique way.  There’s food, games and “experiments” - and no running required - so  just try to hold out until 6am!

    Cinema

    Guilty Pleasures Cinema Party, August 24th and 25th -  This one’s for all the Madonna lovers out there, as the Troxy Cinema hosts a par-tay to top all partays, featuring a screening of Desperately Seeking Susan.  It’ll be a crazy, colourful  throwback to the 80s with DJs, dancers and bands (and we LOVE that).

    Eat & Drink

    Flat Iron pop-up steak and cocktail restaurant - this new foodie spot actually launched a few weeks back, but runs for six weeks only until August 28th (so thought it’d be worth a visit this month).  These guys are serving up some serious slabs of meat, so those with carnivorous tendencies should head to The Owl and Pussycat pub, pronto (Tuesday - Saturday, 6pm-10pm)

    Special Event

    Notting Hill Carnival, August 26th and 27th - there’s dozens of floats, good food and tunes, happy people (although a little overpacked - but meh); it’s Europe’s largest street festival and a brilliant way to spend the bank holiday weekend. See you there?

     Best bits from last month

     

  7. Metropolitans: Kimberley Kasirowore, poet

    I am… a Poet/Uni student studying Literature and Creative Writing. I moved to London in 2000 when I was about nine, from Zimbabwe. I’d holidayed in London before, but adopting my own postcode was a rather different experience. I’d found her, London personified, eclectic in her music and tastes, energetic and modern. She still is. Random memory: I remember being excited when I first met someone of Jamaican origin. Lol at the novelty.

    The area in London I call home is… North London. Enfield, if I’m being specific. Somewhere people only seem to know about now because of the riots. Is it ironic that that’s where I feel safest? Who knows. My friends love to make jibes about how ‘technically’ I’m not a Londoner because the closest Underground station from EN1 is a bit of a bus ride away. It’s a red double decker bus, and I have an 0208 phone number, so in my eyes I make the cut.

    I’ve got to have a meal at… Caribbean Scene. It’s a lovely Caribbean Restaurant that boasts a serious vegetarian menu, not that they don’t serve meat, they do, but being a vegetarian my eyes tend to only read things with a green (v) next to it. There are a few in London but I like the one by the Royal Victoria Dock because I have a thing for water. The ambience at the spot is amazing, definitely worth a Google if you won’t take my word for it. A Google, then a visit.

    I tend to get my threads from… the High Street. I have a bit of a laissez-faire approach when it comes to my wardrobe. Unless I have a show and I have to leave the house on a specific mission to buy a specific type of outfit, I’ll usually be gallivanting about somewhere, as one does, spot something in a display window, investigate and end up blowing a week’s pay. On a day to day basis, the ensembles I leave my house in are usually unintentional, be that in brilliance or faux pas.

    To enjoy London’s nightlife, you should… definitely have an online presence. They are so many things going on in London, it can get hard to keep track. This is especially the case when it comes to niche kinda events. Websites like the Cultural Exposé amongst others, are pretty handy when you’re looking for a different kind of night out. Tip 2: Plan your route home ahead of time. Nothing as joy killing as watching your last bus pull away from the station after a good night out, or maybe that’s just for Enfieldians.

    If I was mayor, I would… shut down all the shops on Saturday. Hidden Adventist Agenda?  No, but really, as much as I love the hustle and bustle of London, I do think it’d be lovely if the city was to ‘pause’ once in a while, so its workaholic citizens could enjoy the beauty of the city’s natural spots and have un-timed conversation with the city’s mixed multitude.

    My favourite spot to check out art is… London’s walls, stalls, floors, trains even. I really like graffiti. It serves as the unadulterated voice of the masses, (till the council clean it up). My favourite piece is a pseudo Andy Warhol pop up piece of a girl in Tottenham. Because of where it is, it can only be seen from the upper deck of a bus. There’s a little voice in my head that shouts ‘exclusive’ every time I do get to see it.

    I’d kindly tell a tourist to… keep their receipts so they can claim tax back at the airport when they are leaving.  Nothing finishes a holiday like payment on exit. That, and keep to the left when walking, and, right on the escalators if they are standing. Been said before but, some people are repeat offenders.

    The things I miss when I leave London are… my mommy… like for real. TFL (my missing it being the love part of the love/hate feelings I have towards it), the variety of food available, delivery and in store, the spoken word poetry scene, oh and black hair shops. Really and truly someone should start delivering black hair products etc. to those outside major cities. Something for the people.

    My soundtrack to London would be…

    Tinashe - Mr Presumption: I really like this song and think it has a particularly English feel to it. A Zimbabwean Londoner, kinda like me. :) The beauties of globalisation.

    Calvin Harris - Flashback: An oldy but a goody. There’s almost a dichotomy between the deep lyrics of the song and the monotony of the house beat.

    Dean Atta’s - Revolution Awaiting Warriors: It’s not actually a song but if I were to make a soundtrack to London it’d definitely be on it. The piece speaks for itself in its brilliance and beauty. It’s one of if not thee most inspiring poem I can ever recall hearing.

    Labrinth - Earthquake: It has a really refreshed old school sound to it, methinks. I’m forever rewinding the bit with the trumpets at Buckingham Palace. Cheesy but I love it.

     

  8. Metropolitans: Ida May, model

    I am… a professional dancer, actress and a model loving the hotness of the bikram and living the life in the East side of London in Hackney. Moved here from Finland 4 years ago.

    The area in London I call home is… Hackney. After few years in Camden we found our home in East. Got a large space full of little swings and things n hula hoops just off Kingsland road overlooking the canal. Our lovely large windows guarantee that we will need lots of hot chocolate to survive over the winter. I feel like I’m at home when I’m walking down the streets and get a chance to catch few familiar smiles and heys on my way. I love the spontaneous coffee catch ups and surprise long night outings after exhibition openings. My ‘home area’ seems to be within walking (cycling) distance. I rarely need to travel further than that to find the action.

    I’ve got to have a meal at… The Breakfast Club. You can’t go wrong with the number 3 wrap. Sometimes during the week I gotta grab the tastiest street food from the Whitecross Street Market. In the evenings the pop up restaurants got something new to offer and of course the there is all these Vietnamese places on Kingsland road.

    I tend to get my threads (clothes) from… here and there. Yesterday I did some great fabric founds from the Cloth House in Soho. I love to check the treats of Dover Street Market and always pop into the Start in Shoreditch just cause they simply got the loveliest staff there. Sample sales and short trips abroad always rule and friends wardrobes are great too! Just gotta keep your ears and eyes open.

    To enjoy London’s nightlife, you should… keep your ears and eyes open (again). Be with great company, look for the gallery openings and exhibitions and let the night lead your way. House parties is the way…. to keep going til the next day ;)

    If I was mayor, I would… make the streets more cyclist friendly and fix the pot holes on the roads.

    My favourite spot to check out art is… isn’t art everywhere? That’s why London’s so great, there’s always something going on for everyone. It’s all out there, you just gotta go and get yours. When it comes to performing arts, War Horse at the New London Theatre is one not to miss!

    I’d kindly tell a tourist to… keep on running.

    The things I miss when I leave London are… friends and the chances the city gives to you. The action. Surprises around the corner.

    My soundtrack to London would be (name roughly 3 songs and what makes them so interesting) 

    Tanlines - Real Life - RAD TIMES! this video says it all!

    Cerebral Ballzy - Standing Tall - You sometimes gotta feel like 15 forever and let go. Influences everywhere, just remember to stand tall.

    Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation - Gotta love the old skool tunes! People of the world unite, London, you gotta have the rhythm.

    Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere - Because I’ve met some of the most amazing people in London.

     

  9. Metropolitans: Charlotte Fielding, photographer

    I am a… Londonite photographer, I love everything photo-related and strive to keep my work fresh. I cover events from Burlesque nights and underground film screenings to weddings and exhibition openings. I have lived in London for six years now and feel that the city really inspires me in work and play. Every day is different and I never stop discovering here. I think it might be love.

    The area in London I call home is… right on the river in Battersea, which is awesome. I haven’t been here that long but have recently stumbled on lots of little thrift shops and quirky places off the beaten track. My favorite spot to pass the time is Battersea Village Square; it’s a micro hub of world cuisine with Italian, Indian, Thai, Lebanese and seafood restaurants. There is always something going on there, whether is be a wacky jazz trio playing or an outdoor zumba class - it’s all going down in the square! I grew up on a farm but I was never terribly keen on overdosing on fresh air and frankly I find wellington boots ugly and incredibly uncomfortable, so like dear Dick Wittington (and many others before me) I packed my bags and journeyed to the Big Smoke to seek my fortune. Whilst on arrival I was initially disappointed to find the streets were not all paved with gold, I have found that there are more valuable hidden treasures around the city!

    I’ve got to have a meal at… Borough Market. It is certainly up there - although I am not sure you would call it a ‘meal’ more of a graze / gorge of all the amazing artesian foods they have. Places with offers on are also a winner for me for a couple of reasons – firstly they get you out of the rut of going to the same places so it’s a bit of a journey of discovery, and secondly I unashamedly love the smug feeling of getting a good deal!

    I tend to get my threads (clothes) from… shops. Especially ones that sell very beautiful and incredibly uncomfortable shoes, sadly I’m drawn to them like a moth to a flame… Will I ever learn?

    To enjoy London’s nightlife, you should… expect the unexpected! I always go out with an open mind and try to find out what’s going on before hand. I am really lucky in my line of work that I get to hear about, and photograph, lots of really cool things that happen around London. My main tip is to choose an area and stick with it. It’s a belief shared by Londoners that everywhere is an hour away - whether you are going a couple of stops on the bus or tubing across the zones it always takes an hour!

    If I was mayor, I would… crack the whip and get my fellow cyclists fully clad in neon and helmets and supply lots of flashing lights. I love, love, love my trusty stead and couldn’t be in London without it – it’s pretty much the only way I get around. But I have been knocked off a couple of times, it’s not fun…

    My favourite spot to check out art is… always changing. But ultimately it’s actually my flat as it’s covered in art I adore, and lots of my own photos – it’s like a private gallery! Having worked in the art world and a keen interest in photography and beautiful things, I’m signed up to various galleries so often visit new shows and pop up exhibitions whether they be on Cork Street or private homes. I am lucky enough to photograph for the Tate Museums so I never miss their exhibitions. I get a real rush from going to auctions and love seeing what the trends are and who is buying.

    I’d kindly tell a tourist to… Get out of Leicester Square and Covent Garden and try something new, there is a lot more to London then chain restaurants and people handing out flyers, I promise! Also the number 11 bus is a really good route – you get to see a lot of the sights.

    The things I miss when I leave London are… hmm… it’s far easier to talk about the things I would NOT miss about London. One is the dodgy paving stones that when trodden on in the rain submerges your feet in water to your ankles. Another is the bus drivers who see you running and waving frantically but then pull away at the last second leaving you in a puff of bus smoke.

    My soundtrack to London would be: 

    Airborne Toxic – “Sometime Around Midnight” During the day the city is so hectic you barely have time to think, I find my quiet times are always at night. To me this song expresses that as it’s all about switching off and reassessing your feelings and thoughts without the white noise.

    The XX – “Intro” A dear friend of mine got married in a photographic studio in east London and this is what accompanied her entrance. When the music started the atmosphere was electric everyone had goosebumps. The song wasn’t out there in the mainstream at that point and the words I would use describe to London also apply to this beautiful piece of music. Epic, urban, hypnotic, fresh and most of all… Love.

    Cash Machine – “Hard Fi” This was released around the time I moved to London and I listened to it over and over and over again, it was kind of an anthem for me at that time and has a great beat for stomping around getting to know the city.


    Check out Charlotte’s photography at: www.charlottefieldingphotography.com

     

  10. 10 of the best places to go for tea and cake in London

    Over the past few years, London’s interest in tea and cake has exploded and the capital’s best bakers, pâtissiers and café owners are gifting the city with an ever-growing number of quality and characterful alternatives to high street chains. My guidebook, Tea & Cake London, brings together the best of these, from frills-free tearooms to ultra-fancy afternoon tea destinations. Here, I’ve whittled the guide’s 70 entries down to ten…

    J+A Café

    Housed in an old diamond-cutting factory on a seemingly secret passageway, J+A Café is a true hidden gem. The café’s Irish owners turn out wonderful scones and brownies as well as an unforgettable Guinness cake. www.jandacafe.com (4 Sutton Lane,  London EC1M 5PU, Closest tube: Barbican)

     Lanka

    This is where the best of British, French and Japanese patisserie meet. Settle down with a pot of tea by Euphorium and a fragrant jasmine crème brûlée or moreish green tea chocolate cake. www.lanka-uk.com (71 Regent’s Park Road, London NW1 8UY, Closest tube: Chalk Farm)

     The Savoy

    Of all the many and wonderful afternoon teas in London, The Savoy is easily one of the best. A glamorous, fairytale setting gives any outing here a grand feel, while the attentive service and astonishingly good petit fours complete the experience. www.fairmont.com (Strand, London WC2R 0EU, Closest tube: Covent Garden)

     Fleet River Bakery

    A haven in Holborn, Fleet River Bakery provides those in the know with a cosy café buzzing with character. The gorgeous array of cakes, tarts and bakes make it a prime teatime destination, as do the enticing loose-leaf blends by tea specialist Emeyu. www.fleetriverbakery.com (71 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JF, Closest tube: Holborn)

     TeaSmith

    Staff at TeaSmith are experts in the art of brewing tea, using traditional Asian techniques to ensure you have the perfect brew. Sit up at the long bar and watch the masters at work; or else browse the shop’s good range of loose leaf teas and tea paraphernalia. www.teasmith.co.uk (6 Lamb Street, London E1 6EA, Closest tube: Shoreditch High Street)

     Kipferl

    Austrian classics are served with aplomb at the stylish Kipferl. The apricot-heavy Sachertorte is a must, especially washed-down with a pot of tea by Austrian supplier Sonnentor. www.kipferl.co.uk (20 Camden Passage, London N1 8ED, Closest tube: Angel)

     Cake Hole

    You have to negotiate your way through Vintage Heaven’s heaving collection of crockery-for-sale to get to Cake Hole, the shop’s backroom café. Here, more lovingly sourced china meets wonderful home baking and sweet treats ferried over from Primrose Bakery. www.vintageheaven.co.uk ( 82 Columbia Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 7QB, Closest tube: Bethnal Green)

     Ms Cupcake

    Vegans will delight at Ms Cupcake and her dedication to creating cakes that everyone can enjoy. Her generously iced vegan cakes come in a range of bonkers flavours, from choc-mint to Bakewell tart. www.mscupcake.co.uk (408 Coldhabour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF, Closest tube: Brixton)

     Drink Shop & Do (pictured)

    Good tea and cake isn’t the only string to Drink, Shop & Do’s bow. The retro café (you can buy all the reclaimed furniture) hosts craft and making events in the evening. It also serves wicked cocktails, sells old-fashioned sweets and can organize a very girly afternoon tea hen do. www.drinkshopdo.com (9 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, Closest tube: King’s Cross)

     Violet

    Situated on an unassuming residential road, Violet is a word-of-mouth hit. Having started life as a stall at Broadway Market, the vintage-style café continues to serve superlative American-style home bakes made with quality ingredients. www.violetcakes.com (47 Wilton Way London E8 3ED, Closest train: Hackney Central)

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