In the five years we’ve been living in Leytonstone there have been some serious changes. It’s hard to imagine life without the Red Lion (previously the blackened windows of Zulus!). It’s getting increasingly hard to keep this list down to just five with so many exciting food and drink things happening in Leytonstone. However, we were surprised to find that three of our top five have been here longer than us.
This is just our top five food and drink destinations for the environs of Leytonstone, but watch out for our favourites across Waltham Forest. Another blog coming soon.
These aren’t in any particular order. That would be too hard. We hope that if you’re new to Leytonstone this will be interesting. And if you’re not, please feel free to point out all the fabulous places we’ve failed to mention.
Number 1 – TFC (Turkish Food Centre)
We consider ourselves to be incredibly lucky to live just round the corner from TFC. If you’ve not been yet, it’s a supermarket (a small chain, they have 14 shops in London) but as my mum always says when she comes to stay – it’s like you’re on holiday! It’s stuffed to the brim with freshly baked Turkish bread, baklava, fresh feta, spices, dozens of types of olives and a huge variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. I’m going through a bit of a Middle-Eastern cooking phase, lots of Ottolenghi and Honey & Co, TFC is a godsend for those obscure ingredients. If you desperately need dried Persian limes or mahlab (dried cherry stone spice), at TFC it’s no problem. We shop here almost every day.
Number 2 – Muga at The North Star
Tucked away in probably the cutest street in Leytonstone, Browning Road, we’ve always been fans of The North Star. There is a reasonable selection of ales, a laid back atmosphere, and nice spots to sit outside either at the front or in the beer garden. However, since Muga Artisan Pizza (previously at a stall on Leytonstone High Road) has set up in the beer garden at the back this has catapulted The North Star into our top five. Who can say no to beer and pizza? And with a fab selection of wood-fired pizzas with delicious toppings such as ricotta, cotto ham, olives, egg and rocket at a very reasonable £8 per pizza it is hard to say no. Or to actually bother cooking ever again.
Number 3 – Wild Goose Bakery
The Wild Goose Bakery is a real sign of the changes in Leytonstone over the last couple of years. Freshly baked sourdough bread, delicious and inventive cakes and artisan coffee, I like to pop in for the sourdough and usually end up buying something sweet and irresistible too. On weekdays the bakery is always buzzing with mums (and dads) catching up over coffee and freelancers working on their laptops. It’s a little space so it can sometimes feel a bit cramped, but all that will be forgiven when you taste the coffee and the delicious treats.
Number 4 –Singburi Thai Restaurant
This Thai restaurant at the southern end of Leytonstone High Road is a gem. I honestly believe it is one of the reasons people move to Leytonstone, it’s certainly one of the reasons we moved here. A little unassuming place with slightly erratic opening hours and basic décor it would be easy to walk past, but it really does some of the best Thai food in East London. We’ve spent lots of time travelling in South East Asia and with a super spicy Green Papaya salad, a mean Pad Thai and a proper Thai mama (complete with traditional zip-up fleecy!) bustling around at Singburi you could almost be in Thailand. I’ll never forget the moment when our brother-in-law was basically forced to suck out the eyes of the steamed sea bass with ginger and lemongrass (apparently ‘the best bit’) by the Thai mama owner. But don’t be afraid, I don’t think that happens to everyone! It’s also BYO.
Number 5 – Panda Chinese Dim Sum Cafe
Dim Sum is one of our favourite things to eat so when Panda opened up in Leytonstone we were super excited. There are fluffy Chinese buns filled with char sui pork, crispy fried potstickers (try the beef and spring onion), little steamed prawn dumplings and steamed sui mai (pork and prawns). There is also some other delicious Sichuan dishes, we’re fans of the dan dan noodles which consists of spicy chilli sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, spring onions and minced pork over noodles. You can drink a pot of bottomless jasmine tea or you can BYO. The service is friendly, though it can take a while to get your food when it is really busy – but undoubtedly worth the wait.