Dinner and Drinks at Darkhorse, in Stratford’s East Village

It’s remarkable how much living in Stratford has changed in the four years we’ve been here: in that time we’ve seen the former Olympic Village move from being boarded up, to having a few ghostly residents, to now being the full of life year round. For me and my greedy stomach, the highlight of this has been the array of great restaurants and coffee shops that have now popped up on our doorstep, including Darkhorse among others.

The menu is southern European inspired, but with British roots: think tiger prawns on a bed of swiss chard, roasted guinea fowl with gratin dauphinoise, pork chop with celeriac remoulade, and was all perfectly cooked and presented. The desserts were especially good. I opted for a bitter chocolate tart while J had the hot chocolate bread pudding, which he promptly declared the best he’d ever had. Another highlight for us was the interesting cocktail menu – I tried a bergamot gimlet while J went for a classic Aviation. Delicious, but one was definitely enough on a Wednesday evening as they were pretty strong!

Darkhorse’s menu has been designed so that you can go for the traditional starter and main combo, or make your own ‘picky bits’ selection built up from charcuterie and smaller plates which are fantastic for sharing. It made the perfect mid-week date spot and would be a great way to finish off your day if you’ve been shopping in Westfield and want to get away from all the hustle and bustle for a far more relaxed meal than you can otherwise find.

A review of Darkhorse in E20's East Village: the perfect grown up date spot

Our meal at Darkhorse was complimentary, but we’ll definitely be back (especially as I have my eye on the Baked Vacherin Mont D’Or to share) 

Hand Cafe in Stratford’s East Village

Hand Cafe is the latest cafe to open up in the former Olympic Village in Stratford. We’ve lived just around the corner from here for the last three years, and over that time the village has gone from completely empty to finally buzzing with life.

The obvious advantage of this is there are finally some decent coffee spots nearby (all the more important since Grind Stratford closed a few months ago). I’ve been a loyal fan of Tina We Salute You since they opened up last August, and now over the most recent bank holiday, Hand Cafe has opened up as well.

An offshoot of 46B Espresso Hut in Homerton, this is now their bigger base just further along the overground line. The coffee is Square Mile and very delicious, and is served up these beautiful hexagonal cups.  We visited on their opening weekend when then kitchen didn’t look quite fully up and running, but I love sound of their greek flavours, locally sourced eggs and milk, and the natural wines offered in the evening.

It’s about average for a flat white (£2.60) so I’m sure we’ll be back soon for a repeat visit.

Hand Cafe, Victory Parade, Stratford’s East Village

Five of the best London coffee instagram feeds

Want to know the best London coffee instagram feeds to follow? These are some of my favourites that not only always have beautifully shot square pictures, but frequently chop up with new coffee discoveries across the city.

Faerie Tale Foodie: Chloe’s feed is always full of beautiful coffee & food spots from across London and her travels everywhere else (most recently Copenhagen).

London Coffee Shops: as the name suggests, this feed captures the best coffee shops in the capital. Beautiful latte art and bright shop frontage frequently appear.

East London Mornings: Katya’s feed is full of dreamy early morning shots, mainly from East London. I love this this image from Victoria park one morning.

Caffeine Mag: shots from the team at Caffeine Mag, takeovers at the weekend from the likes of Clerkenwell Boy, Simon Eats and Rhymes with Coffee.

Navinldn: moody, minimalist lattes. Sometimes less is more on Instagram and Nav’s posts are always so true of that.

What are your favourite instagram coffee feeds? Let me know down below!