Quick summary (in case you’re in a hurry): GS Cars will happily leave you stranded and out of pocket if anything goes wrong. The drivers they send out are not necessarily licensed or registered with them. There are many other, better minicab services in the Stoke Newington area, including Sam’s Cars almost right next door.
So, if you’ve followed this site at all over the last eight years, you probably know that I don’t like posting negative reviews. But what GS Cars, that good old Stoke Newington minicab company, put us through, and then left us to deal with and pick up the pieces… things, or rather GS Cars, really went as low as they could! Hope you enjoy a good rant…
GS Cars, N16 minicabs – do not use them unless you don’t care about your life and money
Fasten your seat-belts, let’s go, and enjoy!
Just when you thought we had it all… along comes a man from Norway and starts offering salmon smoked in our own backyard.
Ole Hansen-Lydersen has recently set up his smokehouse in Shelford Place here in Stoke Newington, carrying on a family tradition that has now lasted four generations in his native Norway. He and his wife Flora have a plan to provide London with affordable, fresh and perfectly smoked salmon, and they are off to a good start. Their salmon is delivered straight from Loch Duart in Scotland (though Norwegian salmon will be on offer in the future as well). It’s from a sustainable source, never touches plastic, never gets frozen, and (I had a chance to try some straight from the kiln) it really is divine. Continue reading
Phew… so only a couple weeks after the Butchers closed its doors to be turned into yet another gastro pub we now have a new late night venue in Stoke Newington. And, fear not, my gentle friends, I’m glad to be able to tell you that it is nothing at all like that fiendish place used to be.
The Washington Rays
The Drop is located just below the Three Crowns, just turn left instead of right once you get inside. It’s a bit of a box of a room with seating along both sides, a stage on one end and a bar on the other. There you have it, easy enough… you won’t get lost in here.
Yesterday I finally sampled the pizza at the latest addition to Stoke Newington Church Street’s Italian Connection, Datte Foco. As someone else has said before me, Datte Foco, which calls itself a “pizza and love joint”, is not like other pizza restaurants out there, and this might be the reason it took me so long to go after they opened in December. The interior is a functional affair somewhere between take-away, caff and restaurant, and the menu and concept takes a bit of getting used to…
Datte Foco - A Pizza and Love Joint
Datte Foco serves pizza al taglio, sort of similar to Soho’s Maletti or Moorgate’s Mangiare… slices of pizza that are in this case prized by weight. The selection available also differs from what you get in most other pizza joints; you definitely won’t find pineapple here, thank you very much. The key here are original Roman creations with simple yet gorgeous toppings. It’s a great concept but it means that the first time you go you will need some time to figure out what your options are.
While not strictly Stokey the Hackney Empire is a local(ish) institution and their Christmas pantomimes are especially worth a visit.
Aladdin at the Hackney Empire
This year’s adventure is Aladdin and his magic lamp, transported from its usual Arabian setting to the Peking suburb of Ha-Ka-Ney. Clive Rowe (Duke from the Tracey Beaker series) stars as the Widow Twankey and is joined by an all-singing, all-dancing cast including flying genies, tap dancing pandas and a singing camel.
Alistair used to cook in The Daniel Defoe along Church Street, and having often eaten there we decided to check out his new restaurant, also on Church Street. We went along on a Friday evening for dinner. Being the first ones in there initially, the place soon filled up and seemed quite a popular choice, so it looked promising for a good experience. The table service was quick and polite and the simple decor of the place was appealing. The wine list was good and the red we choice really tasty. However that is unfortunately where the positives end in the experience.
This is a fairly new, good old fashioned British chippie offering sit-in, take away and delivery.
As well as traditional fish and chips (in both kid and adult size portions), The Fishery offers fresh ‘catch of the day’ specials. You can even choose the piece of fish you want packed on ice at the front. Specials range from organic salmon to halibut to fish pie and cost around a tenner.
I headed down to Green Sundays at the Arcola theatre a little apprehensively, not really sure what to expect. I’d heard it was a meeting place for the ‘ecologically curious’ to explore green issues through film and music which did sound quite interesting, but having said that, each event has a different theme and this one was the rather dry sounding ‘Urban and Community Re-generation’.
Green Sundays at the Arcola Theatre
Climbing up the ancient, rickety fire escape stairs to the new roof garden, I realised I needn’t have worried. Sustainability and recycling were the order of the day with old toilet cisterns starting a new life as container gardens. Flowers, herbs and vegetable seeds had been donated by well-wishers for the opening of the roof garden. Folk had the opportunity to get their hands dirty with three-year old manure which was, we were told, perfect for providing all the nutrients these growing plants would need. But the thought of being elbow-deep in poo was all too much for me and my new found friend Michelle and we sloped off to the rugs to enjoy some truly scrumptious carrot cake and tea.
When you ask the average Stoke Newington resident (if such a thing exists) what their favourite pizza restaurant in Stokey is, chances are that they’ll pick Il Bacio. But then Booth’s seems to win a lot of awards recently, and I personally prefer their pizza. In fact, this was one of the dividing factors between me and my ex girlfriend… she rated Il Bacio, I always preferred Booth’s. Of course we would always go for take-away only, and that seems to be the crux of the matter.
There is no denying the fact that the Il Bacio restaurants (apart from the slightly garish Bacio Mare) are way more pleasant places than either Booth’s bar or restaurant. They are proper Italian restaurants, complete with Italian waiters and a cozy/bustling atmosphere. I don’t know what Booth’s do wrong, the bar is not a bad place in itself, but it seems to attract a very unattractive, loud and unpleasant crowd. Whenever I go there to pick up a pizza I can’t wait to leave. It makes one wonder…
After Yum Yum and Mercado Atique Choudhury has now set his sights on Japan. Oishiii, a Japanese “Eatery” (that’s a restaurant in old money), opened its doors on Stoke Newington Church Street last week, and we had a good look at it last night.
Oishiii - Salmon Nigiri and Tuna Hand Roll
Oishiii looks great, no doubt about it. Everything from the big open kitchen to the toilets has been designed to look the part. I was quite worried that after the bland and overpriced food you get at Mercado Oishiii might have gone down another notch but I’m pleased to say that’s not the case.