Glass enjoys a canal view while dining at Hackney Wick hotspot, Barge East

TAKING a stroll around Hackney Wick can sometimes feel like you’re in another country. 

The picturesque Regents Canal runs through the heart of East London, and its neighbouring banks are filled with breweries, eateries and places to shop. The contrast of graffitied walls and shiny new high rises is a glimpse of London’s newly developed East London.

Barge East is currently one of Hackney Wick’s hottest foodie spots as it boasts plenty of informal indoor and outdoor seating, both of which offer a stunning view of the canal. 

Despite certain Covid-19 restrictions which are still in place, you don’t feel as if anything is different when you visit Barge East. We had the pleasure of sitting in our own outdoor booth which was sheltered with a roof and transparent walls.

The booths felt cosy and intimate, and this type of seating is ideal for group bookings, especially if you are uncertain of the weather.

The outdoor seating at Barge East

The sun shone down on the day of my visit, so I joined the guests around me and ordered a refreshing frozen strawberry daiquiri. Although Barge East offers a full menu of delicious food, it’s worth noting that they are fully equipped with a drinks menu, and as a result, attracts a mixture of diners casual drinkers. Indoor seating is situated inside the impressive 114-year-old cargo barge, which is ideal for more intimate meals. 

The food menu at Barge East calls itself “informal European street food”, but it deserves much more credit. The kitchen is overseen by Head Chef, Stefano Camplone, who has graced the likes of several Michelin starred restaurants. Many dishes offer an interesting take on classics such as the duck scotch egg for example. Also, they’re famed for their killer Sunday roasts which is always a good sign. 

Whilst browsing the menu I was pleased to see that they cater for all dietary requirements. We popped a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the act of dining out, and our waiter came over, brimming with food recommendations. They came in the form of the crayfish roll for my guest and the vegetable burger for myself. Both of our meals came served with Barge East’s speciality, panisse. 

The kitchen

If you aren’t aware, panisse is a chip-like fritter made from chickpea flour and water. It boasts a crispy exterior and a soft flavourful centre, and it came with a peanut dusting and some pepper seasoning. 

The panisse certainly wasn’t the best combination with the crayfish roll, but my guest and I were so thrilled by its presence to question it. As for the crayfish roll itself, it came served with a creamy dill mayonnaise, packed into a fresh brioche bun. Despite crayfish being a chirpy local alternative to lobster, you won’t find yourself missing out as it is uncanny when served in roll with lemon, chive and vibrant mayonnaise. 

My veggie burger followed in a similar vein to the roll. Instead of a portobello mushroom or some elaborate make meat, the patty was a humble mix of grains and beans. It was easy to eat and uncomplicated, and the accompanying chive mayonnaise gave it a pungent kick. 

For dessert, we passed on some of the more traditional desserts such as panna cotta and baked goods in exchange for a cold serve of East London’s own Hackney Gelato. 

Lockdown may have left many of London’s restaurants struggling to survive however, Barge East has returned with all its might. Whether you’re popping in for a plate of panisse or simply stopping by for drinks, you’ll find yourself drawn in by its lively atmosphere and a view of East London’s shiny skyline.  

by Katrina Mirpuri

Barge East, River Lee, Sweetwater Mooring, 98 White Post Ln, Hackney Wick, London

Tel: +44 20 3026 2807

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