Tag Archives: brick lane

The Brick Lane Bagel Shop

When I first moved to London someone told me that this is where you can get ‘the best bagels in the world’. I have since been informed by a born-and-bred New Yorker (in extremely weary tones) that this is in an exaggeration, unfortunate and misguided, and one that she has the unenviable task of correcting on a regular basis.

They are still pretty good bagels though. If the mark of good street food can be measured by long queues, even at 3am, and reliably unsmiling service then we’re onto a winner. I usually go for the smoked salmon and cream cheese one with a cup of tea on the side, but the salted beef with mustard and pickle is also pretty good, as are the cheesecake slices. 

Prepare yourself well in advance, don’t dither, speak clearly and have your money ready promptly. These people have bagels to serve. 

159 Brick Lane, Brick Lane, E1 6SB

PS Not only does he take away the 38, he’s now ramping up bus fares, and in a borough without a tube this is unfair. Send our golden-haired Tory toff of a mayor a postcard with some advice:



Filed under Somewhere to eat

On Cheshire Street, and the nicest shop in East London


I think Shop is my favourite shop in London. Mostly because it reminds me of my grandmother’s house… full of bright aprons, and crocheted teatowels, and beautiful vintage dresses, and buttons and scarves and rugs. And piles and piles of fabrics from the thirties and eighties and every era in between.

The staff are always friendly and there is no sense of the piss being taken in terms of pricing. When I was in one time a girl basically upended a chest full of buttons all over the floor (accidentally), and the owner just came over and said don’t worry, I’ll sort it out. How often do you see that in London?


They’ll even let you take stuff outside to check the colour (that wasn’t me, it was my sister, she’s a canny shopper). It’s very cramped, but somehow the grandma’s house atmosphere permeates the very mood of customers, so everyone behaves themselves and moves out of the way for each other. None of that primal scrabbling you get on the high street, all very pleasant. The owner encourages you to open up drawers and pull out more fabric (again, that was my sister), and then just quietly cleans up afterwards. And this patient approach actually works. We ended up dropping a good eighty quid between us, god knows how.

If only more shops would display this very simple, old-fashioned customer service. 

The Shop, 3 Cheshire Street, London E26ED. Tel 020 7739 5631

Open: Wed-Sat 11-6pm & Sunday 9.30 – 5pm

exteir 2


Filed under Shopping

Said why eggs?: New exhibition at East End Arts Club

 A new show at the East End Arts Club offers 26 interpretations of the alphabet, including this Most to Least alphabet by Amy WicksAMY-1.

The flyer says: Much of our time living in this world is spent devouring text and words, intentionally or not, whether it’s passively gazing at billboards from the window of a bus, being confronted by aggressive advertising campaigns, scanning headlines from discarded newspapers on an empty tube train or blearily reading about the nutritional value of our breakfast cereal. But do we ever stop to really appreciate those funny little forms scrawled across a page – their origin or even their beauty? And are there ‘enough’ letters to accurately describe everything we feel and need to say or do?

Artists include: Catherine Aguilar/Helen Lang/Mark Perronet/Tate Sisters/Phil Sheffield/Jess & George/Stinky Lincoln/Anthony Peters/Chu/Ben Allen/Angie Crowe/Lucie Sheridan/Art House/James Brown/Bangkokney Belle/Michael Vanderson/Hennie Haworth/Jennifer Camilleri/Owen Tozer/Alan Dempsey/Amy Wicks/Elliott Wilson/Ben Eine/DrD/People Will Always Need Plates/Richard Peacock. Artwork is on sale from £30. 

Or for anyone bored to tears of economic cliches like ‘credit crunch’, you might like Swifty’s ‘Spend Now Worry Later’ cotton bag, yours for just a tenner. 


If you’re coming from Brick Lane, the gallery is just over Bethnal Green Road (at the bagel-shop end of Brick Lane) at Swanfield Yard, 2b Swanfield Street E2 3DS (just off Redchurch Street). It’s open from 12-4pm on Saturdays & 12-6pm on Sundays until May 31.

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Filed under Things to do

Vegan treats on the Rootmaster bustaurant


I remember once a vegetarian saying that nothing made his heart sink more than going to a meat-eating friend’s house for dinner and being served vegetable lasagne… every time. I’d imagine that being limited to the veggie option on a restaurant menu must produce an equivalent heart-sink at times… so what’s it like to go to a vegan restaurant, where you can order everything on the menu? Slightly overwhelming, apparently.

But any vegans who are up to the challenge – as well as curious non-vegans – should definitely check out the Rootmaster Bustaurant, which is parked in the carpark behind the Truman Brewery, just off Brick Lane. Not only can you choose from the entire, enticing menu, but you eat it on the top floor of an Routemaster bus – perfect for anyone who misses those old bangers (my sister says she could always hear the rattling old Number 8 long before she could see it). Continue reading


Filed under Somewhere to eat