Years ago, I used to work as a TA at a school in Hackney, and I got to know the area pretty well. It remains one of my favourite parts of East London to this day, with its eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants and shops. Broadway Market is a foodie’s paradise, and is where I first discovered the light-as-a-feather cupcakes of Violet Cakes bakery. My quest for more Violet cupcakes led me to their bakery on Wilton Way, and I’ve been a regular visitor every since, even ordering an embarrassingly large number of cakes for my 23rd birthday party.
Wilton Way is becoming quite a destination in itself, with its cluster of independent businesses that add such quirky charm to the neighbourhood. I thought I’d do a little guide to my favourite places. First of all, Violet Cakes, of course! My Mum and I had so much fun visiting it again over the weekend, and sharing an almond and polenta cupcake, as well as a slice of coconut cream cake, between us.
Violet Cakes, 47 Wilton Way
Violet truly has the most delicious cakes, and I was among the first to buy its owner Claire Ptak’s recent cookbook. It’s such a fun spot to visit too, with its charming garden, and a seating area upstairs that shows a lot of thought is put into the comfort of the customers: water jugs are scattered around the room, as are plenty of good quality magazines (yay, Kinfolk!) and newspapers. It’s easy to while away a couple of hours!
Borough Wines, 67 Wilton Way
Borough Wines has a few branches, and I love this one in Hackney. It has such friendly, knowledgeable staff, and you can perch on a stool and watch the world go by whilst sipping on a glass of wine. Even better, you can buy a bottle (rather than spending the equivalent on 2 glasses), drink as much of it as you’d like in the shop, then take the rest home.
J. Glinert, 71 Wilton Way
J. Glinert has a beautiful collection of homeware items that are hard to resist (I couldn’t leave without a rather gorgeous broom to replace my tatty old one). The prices are reasonable, though, which makes this a great place to shop for slightly unusual gifts that feature strong design. If you’re a history buff, then you’ll love their collection of pamphlets and books on London’s East End too.
Have you ever wandered down Wilton Way, or explored much of Hackney? Where are your favourite East London haunts?