a sunday in east london

My excessive blog-reading has opened my eyes to a number of very cool-sounding places in London. These places get added to my list of 'Things to do in London'. Now that totally ingenious Pinterest has been invented I can make my lists online (see my 'London' board here). It's brilliant.

by Brian Ferry
One of the places on my list was Railroad (discovered through Brian's blog), a cafe in Hackney, East London, serving brunch, lunch and dinner. I love brunch. It's probably the best meal of the day, but unfortunately it can only truly be appreciated in the weekends. We're always on the lookout for new places to have brunch and Railroad seemed like a pretty good option. So one Sunday morning in September, S and I took the overground to the other side of London to check it out. I had high expectations after reading Brian's glowing review of Railroad, and I was not disappointed. The mis-matched furniture, handmade espresso cups and little book shop made it feel nice and homely. The short and simple menu was so fresh and tasty. The Moroccan eggs baked in a terracotta dish was a winner and their almond croissants were delicious. This would be the perfect place to spend a few hours on a Sunday morning with the paper or an afternoon with a beer. We'll be back to try the dinner menu for sure.

After brunch I went on an exploration of the markets in East London. Columbia Road Flower Market is a half hour walk from Railroad. My Google Maps walking directions took me on a lovely route through London Fields park and Broadway Market (which has stalls open on Saturdays), completely avoiding any busy roads.

 Columbia Road is always rammed on a Sunday. The flower market is a riot of colour, and with the market vendors yelling things like, "two bunches for a fiver" and trying to outsell each other, there's always a great atmosphere. I picked up three hydrangeas for a tenner and they still look great (despite having completely dried out).

 My favourite thing about Columbia Road is the little boutique shops that run the length of it. I borrowed this shop guide from Laura and found it very useful. All of the shops are gorgeous. I'm a big fan of Rob Ryan's paper cuts and prints. I love the whimsical prose and romantic characters. I had to use a lot of will power to resist buying anything at his shop. I found myself a lovely cake stand at Vintage Heaven and had lots of fun admiring the pretty homewares in Treacle.

From Columbia Road I continued on to Brick Lane. By this stage my arms were full of hydrangeas, my new cake stand and an unnecessary coat, and the crowds were starting to get annoying so I failed to take any pictures. I did manage to get one in the Sunday Up Market of these delicious treats at Kooky Bakes. I bought the Truffle Brownie and their Signature Slice. S didn't want any so, unfortunately, I had to eat them all myself.

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