Barge East: Hackney Wick's cozy escape from the frantic bustle of east London
PUBLISHED: 15:18 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:21 21 November 2019
Barge East is a 114-year-old Dutch barge turned floating bar and kitchen docked upon the River Lee. Its seasonal menu and casual take on fine dining offers comfort and warmth to those who step on board - a little culinary escape from the hustle and bustle of east London life.
The unique, floating eatery is nestled between Hackney Wick and Olympic Park and its menu changes every six weeks.
It's pretty unassuming at first, just a little lit up boat on a quiet waterway. That is until you step inside and are greeted by a surprisingly spacious restaurant full of chatter and charm.
My friend and I were really impressed by the place.
"It doesn't feel like we're in London," she said.
The décor is made from repurposed 'junk' all sourced from the once derelict barge. Owners and childhood friends - Stuart Thompson, Ryan Craig and Rob Blandy- sailed it across the North Sea from Holland in 2018. The dining tables are up-cycled lee boards and the bathroom sink's an old battery tray.
Barge East's menu contains a great selection of dishes and generous portions - all reasonably priced.
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Hearty meals like the roasted skate or pork belly are perfect for a chilly autumn evening. They're best eaten accompanied by wine, cocktails and locally sourced beers.
Much of the produce at Barge East is sourced from small, local farms - like the pumpkins in the vegan Delica pumpkin and buckwheat pudding.
Head chef Stefano Camplone is passionate about British ingredients - that's why he cooks with them - as well as re-inventing classic dishes whilst reducing food waste.
He said:"We try to use fresh produce and waste as little as possible. All the stalks from the grilled leaf salad for example, [were] not using them, [so] we pickle them to use on the next menu."
Stefano has developed innovative dishes with chef owner Ryan - who once cooked on yachts all over the world.
They have re-imagined old classics like their cured prawn cocktail, and invented new ones, like the vegan chocolate mousse with crunchy chestnut glass.
There's no place in London quite like Barge East - a cozy, floating eatery upon the River Lee.
To find out more about Barge East or book a table visit: https://www.bargeeast.com/