Tag Archives: cafe oto

The greening of Dalston

Amid the cranes and dusty footpaths and tower blocks, with their balconies cleverly rebranded as ‘winter gardens’, pockets of leafy green are sprouting at Dalston Junction.

First up is Farm:Shop. When this first appeared I thought it was a hydroponics shop. But once they added a bit of signage I discovered it’s a cafe, workspace and arts venue. There’s an aquaponic fish farm out the front, where they are growing (breeding? spawning?) tilapia & prawns – apparently a supper is planned for later in the summer when they’ll all be eaten – a polytunnel out the back, chickens on the roof and quite possibly the most attractive staff you’ll encounter in East London – glowing examples of the term ‘rude with health’.

Then, just across the road, we have the Eastern Curve Garden. This has been here for a while, but it’s now looking more established, and this summer there are a series of events planned, including tango classes and a Family Fun Day this Saturday (July 9) with free entry. The Hackney Borough of Sanctuary Group are also holding a Garden Party on July 15 (next Friday) with food baked in the garden’s clay oven.

And Ashwin Street, just off Kingsland Road, has a newly planted perennial border. Home to the new Arcola Theatre & Cafe Oto, it also has a rooftop garden, which I’m yet to visit.


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A hive of activity at Cafe Oto in Dalston

cafeotoIs this the office of the future? I certainly wouldn’t complain. It’s amazing to see how many people run their working lives from cafes these days. I have never really liked the idea of taking my laptop to a café – I remember a story of a classmate in Holborn’s Starbucks having his stolen in the one moment he turned his back on it, and I’ve had my own wallet nicked while emailing in an internet café.

But I’ve taken to the idea lately because you get so much done. Plus Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down The Bones, is a big fan, and that lady knows her stuff. Continue reading

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