Tag Archives: Battersea

Things to miss about Shoreditch pt.2

Now that we’re leaving the area, naturally I’m dwelling on all the things I like about it: the narrow, Dickensian streets, the Barbican, the coffee stand in Fortune St park run by the nice Aussie bloke and the girl I thought was a Kiwi but who turned out to be a Geordie (such is my ear for accents).

And, as always with East London, there are new places popping up all the time. On Saturday I checked out Story Deli in Redchurch Street, which has relocated from its old premises off Brick Lane. Run by a former Vogue stylist and her husband, it serves what are hands-down London’s best pizzas (way better than Pizza East, or that place in Brixton everyone bangs on about). At £15 apiece, they’re also its most expensive, mind you. I was quite huffy about the price until I tried one:

The shit iPhone picture isn’t really doing it justice. They’re also massive – we found that one between us was plenty.

Despite the ELLE Deco décor, it’s the most child-friendly eaterie I’ve been to in a long time (ever?) thanks to one ingenious touch… A box of Brio. The owners have left one in a corner, meaning that my two-year-old – the kid who would have been shouting/running around/generally pissing you off – was silently engrossed in trains for the duration of our meal. Heaven. If only all café owners would do the same.

I’m going to miss the people here, too. When we were set to move to Battersea, I was slating South West Londoners (for being thickie minor-public-schoolkids with an inflated sense of importance, penchant for spotty Emma Bridgewater crockery, etc), when my friend gently pointed out that there were some people who thought that Shoreditch, too, was chock-full of idiots. Oops, point taken. If you haven’t seen this already, it sums them up far better than I ever could:

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Leaving Shoreditch…

So it looks like we are finally – finally! – moving out of our one-bed into something a bit more family-friendly. Not sure where that’ll be yet, but we are trying to be open-minded, and yesterday I went to look at a place in the Sussex countryside, outside Lewes. It was beautiful, unnervingly big (where would we find the furniture to fill it?) and cheaper than anything we’d find in last week’s area of choice, Battersea.

But, like anyone who’s lived in London for a long time, I’m slightly terrified of living anywhere else, and assume the world outside to be a backward, parochial place where everything shuts at five o’clock and the food runs the gamut from pub grub to the Panda Chinese takeaway.

I know, I know, this is misguided prejudice and these days you country folk have Daylesford Organics and literary festivals and everything. And it would be nice to see the sky and the seasons. Plus there are other things to think about these days, boring things like schools, parks and sufficient bedrooms.

I’m still not sure where we’ll end up. But although there’s lots about Shoreditch I won’t miss – the dirty main roads, the pollution, the endless fucking scaffolding – having lived here for so long, there is loads I will. Such as:

The cinemas
We have three within easy walking distance: the Barbican, the Rich Mix and the Aubin. They are all great, the problem being that, once you factor in babysitting, the cinema becomes gob-smackingly expensive. Not so long ago, we went to see Attack the Block in Leicester Square, which ended up costing about 70 quid. I wouldn’t mind but it was crap.

Frame
Babies are a test to one’s sanity and exercise is how I preserved mine. Namely at this place, which considerately runs a crèche on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. They do fun classes, like ballet to rock music, and tribute Jane Fonda aerobics, and Joan and Pip, the girls who run it, are lovely.
www.moveyourframe.co.uk

The markets
Columbia Road, Brick Lane and Spitalfields. On Sundays there’s no better place in London to be.

The transport
My friends in other parts of London often comment that they rarely leave their West/East/South/North comfort zone, which always strikes me as a shame because no one part of London is so uniformly great there’s no reason to go elsewhere: to West London for its schmancy boutiques and rich-person people-watching; North London for Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and gastropubs; East London for creative edge and comedy hipsters; South London for…

Anyway, what’s great about living where I do is that, with three walkable Tube stations, it’s easy to get anywhere else (except Fulham). And in 2017 there’ll be Crossrail, which means it’ll take six minutes to get to Bond Street and 30 to get to Heathrow. Only six more years to go…

Having proper bars/pubs/cafes/restaurants
Lots of people think that the cafes/pubs/restaurants where they live are nice. They are wrong. They’ve just lowered their standards. Shoreditch has no shortage of rank venues popular with the skirt-n-shirt brigade, but there are still some goodies if you know where to look (and don’t come on a Friday night). The Albion, for instance, or Bottega Prelibato, or the Princess for Sunday lunch.

So – sniff – Shoreditch I will miss you. Thanks for the memories. But I’ve a boy who needs a bedroom, and room to run.

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