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25 January 2014

Dry Ginuary Part II

I've been wanting to go to the Hawker House Street Feast — an indoor, night-time, street-food market — for a while, but because its Hackney location isn't particularly convenient for me and because a lot of the traders also show up at KERB in King's Cross, I hadn't got round to checking it out. When one of my friends mentioned a pop-up gin palace in Broadway Market, however, Hawker House seemed like the perfect place to go to line the stomach.


Hawker House occupies a warehouse on an unassuming side-street off the Hackney Road. It's free to get in before 7 pm, or £3 afterwards. Inside, a whole host of street-food traders, including Bleecker St Burger, Fundi and Bad Brownie, were offering their wares. We wandered around trying to decide what to order. Bleecker St is always tempting to me, but I ended up going to Breddo's for some delicious tacos. The fish tacos weren't available yet, so I had one beef short rib (on the left in the photo) and one crunchy nut chicken with raspberry chipotle sauce. The beef was good, but the chicken was excellent, so I wish I'd got two.



I thought about having a burger too or a brownie, but in the end I went to the Whisky Bar and ordered a Gold Rush (bourbon, lemon and honey), which was strong but soothing — just what I needed after a long week. Once you've got your food and drink, you can grab a seat at one of the many tables and soak up the atmosphere. Even on a cold, rainy night, it was busy inside and a really fun place to hang out.




Soon, though, we were craving gin, so we crossed the canal and headed for F. Cooke, the Broadway Market pie, mash and eels shop, which is currently hosting a pop-up gin palace called Peters & Co.


Although it isn't really a secret, I loved the speakeasy vibe and the juxtaposition of having a fancy G&T in an East End caff. I was worried that after their feature in the Londonist this week, we wouldn't be able to get in, but we managed to get a table at the back, and we hung out there for the rest of the night working our way, through the gins.


There are a few cocktails on the menu, but the G&Ts are the main attraction, all served with Fever Tree tonic. I was pleased to see that Death's Door, which I recently discovered in my Ginvent Calendar, was on the menu, so that was my first selection. Death's Door is a fresh, citrussy gin, which slipped down very nicely indeed.



Later, I tried the Gin Mare, after some pronunciation issues: I thought it was [mair] as in 'female horse' (or, indeed, the nearby Mare Street), rather than [mah-ray] — the Italian for 'sea' (although it's a Spanish brand). It is distilled with olives but the bar tender told me you couldn't really taste it. It was a really nice gin, though, and quite different from Death's Door.


Peters & Co is a low-key but fun place to hang out, with a cracking selection of gins and some great tunes on the sound system. Also, the pop-ups at F. Cooke are helping to fund the much-needed renovations to the 100-year-old shop, so you will also be supporting important restoration work!

Hawker House. 38–50 Pritchard's Road, London, E2 9AP (Tube: Bethnal Green, or Cambridge Heath rail). Website. Twitter.

Peters & Co. Inside F. Cooke, 9 Broadway Market, London, E8 4PH (Cambridge Heath or London Fields rail). Twitter.

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