Somesuch Guide

A guide to people and places that make us happy.

A Guide to getting signed

Step one. The approach email…

Every day we get a lot of emails from new directors seeking representation.
We love and appreciate those emails and are very flattered to be considered.

Thank you.

We take them seriously. Please keep them coming.

Most emails we get are wonderful, some are funny, some are kooky and some are downright odd.

So here’s out guide to writing an email that we will take seriously…

1.
Check our website.
'Contacts' will give you the addresses of who to contact.
If in doubt make sure you cc Denna.
She’s the don.

Do not send group emails to more than one company…
We want to believe we’re the only production company you want to come to.

Silly. Egotistical. But true.

Do not therefore bcc.
We can tell. See above.

2.
Do not just attach the link to your work and no explanation. We might misunderstand it for junk and delete.

Tell us a bit about yourself, but not too much. Keep it brief.

Tell us why you think we’re right for you. But be humble. And make sure you’ve looked at our work first.

3.
Get your facts straight, especially if you are resending the same email to multiple companies…
For instance ‘I have been a fan of your company for many years…’
Have we been running for many years? Nope. Just 2.

Or ‘Dear James’… Is there a James at Somesuch & Co.? Nope. Wrong company my friend.

4.
Spell our company name correctly…
If confused have a quick check on our website.
Is there a space between some and such? Nope.
Is the ‘s’ of ‘such’ a capital? Nope.

5.
Give us time to answer…
We try very hard to respond to every single approach we get.
But it may take a few days or even a week.
If you think it’s been too long. We’re very sorry, you may have fallen between the three of us.
Send us a wee prompt.
But be careful not to be rude.
We understand how frustrating it is to get representation, but being rude won’t encourage us to take time out to look at your work.
It is as important for us to like a director as it is for a director to like us.
We are much more enthusiastic about people we love.

London - a guide to what (not) to wear whilst you’re here.

At Somesuch & Co. call us fickle but after food we like lovely things. Some of us might have a reputation for shopping, we accept that, our choice. All of us have strong opinions.

So for our latest blog we have mixed the 2 together and come up with ‘What (not) to Wear Whilst You’re Here’.

At Somesuch & Co. you can’t say we don’t embrace an individual…

RIP

But we do love having fun and being provocative. So…

London is part of Europe, sadly a part of Europe with a questionable climate, but Europe all the same. We therefore believe our inspiration should be European, not Australian or Californian where it’s lovely and warm, European where it’s seasonal.

So, here are our tips for getting your attire right in London:

In general, if you’re confused, think of the French, it is one of few occasions where thinking of the French will do you the world of good.

Would the French wear it? Nope? Then you shouldn’t either.

Flip Flops:

Are you in Australia?

No.

Flip flops are only appropriate in city that has good weather and a beach, and never with long trousers or jeans.

It’s not hot enough to shed your jeans? Then it’s not hot enough to wear a flip flop.

There is nothing more disgusting than dirty flip flop feet. London is a very old city in which it rains often and without notice, dirty flip flop feet are therefore as inevitable as the 1000 year old shit they flick up the backs of your jeans/trousers/dress when you walk (which, fyi, doesn’t wash out).

And pick up your bloody feet when you walk.

Ugg Boots:

Ugg boots are the winter flip flop. The footwear of the lazy person. The ‘foot-dragger’ - our least favourite. (and what is it with Ugg’s always falling into their inner sole? Very unsophisticated)

Like the flip flop they only work in dry locales (although we would argue anywhere they should be treated strictly as one would a slipper). You think a soggy, stained Ugg Boot looks good? You my friend, are incorrect.

Practical when it’s cold? Lazy response. There are alternative warm footwear with a lot more style that’ll cost you less. Do some research.

Vests (tanks or singlets):

(nb: not a very feminist rule and therefore might cause offence)

To wear a vest you must be free of armpit hair….and a woman….

*Although women, please be mindful of size of vest and size of bra underneath. Take a look in the mirror. Four boobs and split back fat isn’t a thing of beauty. Go to M&S (or John Lewis, Debenhams, Fenwick or Rigby & Peller) and get measured for a bra that fits, it’ll change your life.

Armpit hair is unsightly and should be kept covered at all costs. Armpit hair immediately provokes the mind to smell BO.

Hairy pits? Then vests, like flip flops, are beachwear and therefore should be treated as such.

If you are confused about appropriate places to wear one, just consider whether you’d be wearing your swimmers and apply the same rule.

Football shirts:

Is your team playing?

No?

Then you are wearing a hideously designed piece of polyester.

3/4 length trousers (especially those convenient ones with zippers that can turn into a full length trouser):

Want to be treated like a tourist?

Want to be turned away from London’s best restaurants?

No?

Then leave them at home (or better still, don’t buy them at all and spend the money on a good meal instead).

The 3/4 length trouser is telling the sophisticated person that you have no imagination and care not for the finer things in life…what the hell, you’re probably not that good in bed either.

The ‘walking shoe or sandal’:

See above. The same applies. The walking shoe = missionary position; practical and serves a purpose, but the alternative’s are much more imaginative.

And don’t try that practical excuse with us again, London has pavements, made out of concrete, not rubble. Sure sometimes you’ll hit a cobbled street which might be a challenge for a heel, but a cobble does not justify an all terrain shoe. A flat or a nice looking trainer will do nicely thank you very much.

A novelty hat:

Don’t wear one, ever, and especially on St Patrick’s day. You look like a tool. Go to Ireland (or New York) and wear one there.

Fancy jeans:

This includes, but isn’t limited to: fancy or oversized or weirdly shaped or out of place pockets. Bell bottoms. ‘Zany’ stone washing. Too many machine made holes.

No, you’re not being ‘trendy’ or individual, you look like you’re in Italy C1988.

Tip: Diesel (and quite a lot of other Italian brands) are the worse culprit, so if in doubt just wear a vintage Levi or APC.

Jeans with a torn or frayed bottom of leg:

Often adorned by the flip flop wearer.

If your jeans are too long, get them hemmed or roll them up FFS, DO NOT walk on them, it’s disgusting, especially when it rains, which it will.

The Deep V Neck on a dude:

Where did this one come from?

We recall it first appearing with the ultra skinny jean (what a combo), but unlike the ultra skinny jean, it appears to still be as popular as it was 10 years ago.

The deep V neck was designed for a cleavage, a WOMAN’s cleavage, men don’t have cleavages (or they shouldn’t) they have chests.

The same rule should apply to showing your chest in a T Shirt as it does with a shirt. Do you wear 6 buttons undone on your shirt? If yes, we presume you’re also wearing ‘fancy jeans’. If no, don’t do the deep V either. And especially don’t do the deep V if you wax or shave your chest, nothing worse than chest stubble (ok, armpit hair competes, but you get our point).

The Ultra Skinny Jean on a dude:

Thankfully this fad is fading.

For those of you persisting, here’s the thing: men’s legs and bums aren’t like women’s legs and bums and therefore shouldn’t be treated as such.

Either your legs will be super skinny and you’ll look ill (tip, no chick wants to kiss a dude who’s legs look skinnier in a jean than hers), or they will be too chunky and you’ll look fat, oh and if you have hips like Russell Brand please just don’t, you look like a dude with a chicks figure and trust us, that isn’t a good look.

Oh and we know those jeans you’re wearing are chicks jeans, that’s why the back pockets look weird of your ass and the zipper is on the wrong side.

Short shorts on a dude:

The short short rule is similar to that of the skinny jean or deep v, generally best avoided.

If you’re really gay and have great legs, go for it.

Otherwise keep that hem on the knee.

And watch the size, when you looked at yourself in the mirror this morning and gave yourself the thumbs up, you were standing up. We might have the misfortune of sitting opposite you on the tube, and trust us the split testicle look on shorts or trousers that are too tight isn’t a good.

Short shorts on a chick:

(lol)

AKA Daisy Dukes…

Sans tights…

Unlike the skinny jean you don’t need to be 8.5 stone or less, but you do need to be FIT, and by fit we means sans cellulite. Don’t ask a friend, they will lie (they love you, last thing they want to do is hurt your feelings) look in a mirror in good daylight. If in doubt leave them out.

With sizing, apply the same rule that applies to the dude, have a look sitting down….no one wants to be faced with your camel toe, or worse, wax rash.

The shoe and sock.

That has a ring to it doesn’t it?

'Shoes and socks'….that's because they go together.

DUDES, What’s all this wearing dress shoes (for instance, a brogue) without socks (and short shorts)?

It looks daft and your lovely shoe is going to stink, as are your feet. Think to the future…you wear this to a bar, you pull a lovely young lady (or man) you take them home, things are heating up, you remove your shoes and BOMB a sexy-time stifling stench fills the room and ruins the mood…

Put a sock on, there are small ones to cater for the ‘no sock look’.. Or better still, wear footwear appropriate to a short: a loafer, a trainer…

For our final image, we leave you with the ultimate faux pas:

Bombay


As most people that know me know I’m a bit of a control freak. I like things done a particular way and I’m a nightmare at attention to detail. I think I can let go, I can’t. Just ask any of the Somesuchers about Tim and me when it comes to treatments…

The Guide is my baby, I love writing it, it makes me happy.

Sadly running a company takes a lot of time so most of my personal projects have to take a back seat…

But give it to someone else to write? Are you fucking joking? No chance…

I wouldn’t let John Cheever rise from the grave and guest-write, and I love John Cheever.

But then there’s George…

George has been with us from the beginning, he was the first person we hired…

Although we very nearly didn’t.

Daniel found him, sent him to me, I interviewed him and wasn’t impressed. Dude was way too confident. Verging on arrogant. Who the fuck did he think he was? That was George over. He went on holiday to France. I went back to the office and forgot about him….that was until we got busy very suddenly and needed someone, quick. Fuck, who do I know? No one. Runners / assistants are not my forte.

Bugger it, lets give that dude George a go, see what he’s really like…

And that was that, he’s been with us ever since and is now assistant director and director in his own right.

George is a legend and Tim and I love him (most of the time, some of the time we could seriously smash his face in, but I guess that is the sign of a good director emerging).

Here is George’s guide to Mumbai (or Bombay as we were taught by the locals to call it). I hate to admit it, but it’s very good, I didn’t change a thing….


“We love to call it Bombay. They changed the name in … 90s? When was it Ganesh? 97? 97 I think. The kids call it Mumbai but anyone over 30, we love to call it Bombay. Ganesh do you say Bombay or Mumbai? Bombay right? Bombay. We love to call it Bombay. It’s got a ring on it, is this the saying?”

Yogesh is the producer who was scared of getting busted by the cops. This was his main concern, despite the continual lack of police interference. To be fair to him, he also managed to persuade a cabbie to stuff a generator the size of a dishwasher in his boot so we could project films from the windows.

Some things you can only get away with in India.

This one’s for you, Mr. Yo.

Bombay sleeps less than New York and works twice as hard as London. The first thing you notice is that there are people everywhere. Everyone has hustle and graft in their bones, Chai and Paan in their mouths, and sewage and smoke in their nostrils. It’s great.

We stayed in Bandra and I would recommend staying there too if you visit. It’s a leafy suburb made up of winding villages built when the Portuguese were in charge. Shady hamlets absorbed by the sprawl but somehow still keeping their sense of community. Wee mossy cottages nestle together between modern blocks, and everywhere is on the up. Someone once told me that a quick way of judging a city’s economy is to count the cranes. By that measure, Bombay is booming.

Bandra is a nice place for a wander. One of the things I love about Bombay (at least as a man, I’m sure the female experience is a little different (Ed: as a woman i had the same experience, happily walking solo)) is how safe it feels. You may get a bit of curiosity, you may even get a bit of harassment, but there is nowhere in the world you can smile and wave at pretty much everyone and get a smile and a wave back 99% of the time.

Hello!

 

Anyway, Bandra. These are still fishing communities, and much of the open space if given over to the drying of the day’s catch. This fishy stench provides a sharp Bandra topnote to the more generally pungent Bombay bouquet. The fish they dry is called Bombil, or Bombay Duck, a local delicacy. It’s a powerful starter. There are plenty of relaxed cafes and bakeries in Bandra, a hangover from the Portuguese influence. There are also LOADS of churches. There are more consecrated square feet per heathen square feet than anywhere in the world apparently. What, more churches than the Vatican?  Yes, even more than that.

If you are more interested in chicken rolls and lime soda than kneeling and guilt, try the Hearsch Bakery on Hill Road. It’s set back in a cool courtyard and you can relax under the tree with the off-duty college students and snoozing strays.

The Janta Bar is another good joint, a down-at-heel and very popular watering hole in the middle of Bandra. If you can get a table it’s a nice place to sit and drink beer, and one of the few places within walking distance that you can get a drop. Trust me. It’s either that or Five Spice.

Men drink whisky and ladies drink vodka. Everyone drinks beer.

If you fancy a glass of Riesling and bowl of risotto instead, head next door to Pali Village Cafe, a place with a more Interiors-Magazine-friendly vibe.

In that vein there is another nice restaurant called the Salt Water Café around the corner. It’s designed by my mate Ayaz from the Busride Studio, and run by a very good chef called Gresham Fernandes, India’s answer to Heston Blumenthal. Ayaz has also designed loads of other restrobars in Bombay, including The Smokehouse Deli, which is decorated with his penned illustrations. Unfortunately I didn’t make it there but it’s meant to be very tasty.

From Bandra to Colaba now, the centre of town. This is where you will find the postcard sights: the Big Post Office, the Big Train Station, statues of Ben Kingsley and so on. The Gateway of India is a large Duplo monument to the King George V, which sits by the sea. The Taj Palace Hotel, Bombay’s premier gin palace, is next door. If you want to feel like a king but your wallet won’t bear the weight of the Taj, I suggest you take a ride in one of these chariots.

The best kebabs in Bombay can be purchased at Badamiya, a stone’s throw from the Taj. It’s a popular al fresco joint run out of a burger van and what the guidebooks probably refer to as a ‘must’. Sometimes you can sit on white plastic tables and chairs over the road, and sometimes they’re not there. I’m sure there is a system to this furniture availability, but I don’t know how it works. Let’s just say it’s pot luck for now. The food is delicious - smoky, juicy, greasy meat and all wrapped in some of the best flatbread I have ever eaten.

Top tip - go into the restaurant over the road and get take-away beers. Beware though, public drinking is illegal in Bombay so be discrete …


Round the corner is a cool shop called Bombay Electric where you can get presents for the folks back home. They sell nice clothes and jewellery, and all created by Indian designers. If you walk for five minutes you will come to Bungalow 8, a shop ironically set over three storeys, that sells homeware and fashion. It’s all handmade and they have some really beautiful stuff there too.

There is a street lottery outside for the gambling visitor. It looks like a load of Indian blokes sitting round a bunch of computer screens watching an Excel spreadsheet unfold. This is in fact a lottery that dishes out random numbers every fifteen minutes. According to the portly host, “you pay your money, you choose your numbers, and you win!”, though I suspect it is a little more complicated than that. Best of luck.

Another ‘must’ is the Chor Bazaar, aka Thieves Market, where Mumbaikars (people from Bombay) go to buy their stuff back after it has been stolen from them (this is a bit of a romantic misdirection, it is actually just a flea market). You can also pick up a battered old Leica, a pocketwatch with no hands, or a set of dumbbells. It’s a real lucky dip. Browsing is hungry work, but luckily there is a restaurant on the corner of two of the streets that does the best biryani in Bombay. You will know you’re in the right place because if you go upstairs the ceiling is too low to stand up and it feels like you are Being John Malkovich.

Hmmm what else … Oh yeah if you can face the early start, the Dadar Flower Market is great. Arrive before sunrise, they pack up shop at about eight or nine and it’s all over in a flash. Before that it is all colour, all movement, all good.

Another place to go is Sion Fort, where we filmed a crew of Indian B-Boys called Slumgods. It is a derelict outpost, built high on a hill. Two refineries squat on one side of the hill, the other side overlooks downtown Bombay in the hazy distance. The park it crowns is a nice place to visit in its own right, so you won’t be too disappointed if the ‘Gods aren’t there. They tend to go a few times a week, after college or jobs working as salesmen selling financial products, and bribe the watchmen to let them play their beats. The fort is also a popular haunt of young lovers, kids wanting to practice Bollywood moves for the school show, and guys who just want to hang out and watch dragonflies flit about.


Travel tips:

Bombay has the worst traffic in the whole world, bar none. It is not unusual to spend two hours driving a very short distance. Getting around is  s  l  o  w. With that in mind, travel as little as possible.

But when you do travel …

Go on the trains!

Go on the auto-rickshaws! (I would advise this for short journeys only. After long journeys you may feel as if you have got the ‘taste’ of Bombay a little too literally. Also the autos are not allowed in ‘town’, i.e. Colaba and its immediate environs, so more of a local thing). Use the fare meter - the driver should give you a card to help you work out what you owe. 

It is worth nothing that the auto-rickshaw drivers in general are a class apart. They often race one another, nosing in front of jeeps and juggernauts with reckless abandon, and generally drive like nutters to get you where you need to be. Love those lads. All the autos are owned by one company and each one is usually leased by a pair of drivers, pals or brothers, who take it in turns to do shifts so the auto is on the road for virtually 24 hours a day.

Walk about! It’s a really safe place! (Stay off the roads though, as mentioned above they really do drive like people who believe in the afterlife.)


Street Food:

Let’s start with some home truths. Your chance of getting ill in India fall somewhere between ‘every’ and ‘high’ (ED: I didn’t get sick once). Most of the time you will have a sort of low-lying, insipid discomfort in your guts. Do not worry. This is normal. There is a very laissez faire attitude to food hygiene in India, and it is no accident that the subject of stomach upsets is as common in Indian conversation as the weather in British. They chat about it all day.

Let it be known however, I only had one night of hugging the toilet bowl and yawning food, and this was the result of a dodgy Kathi Roll from hotel room service. I reckon the street food is generally pretty safe - or at least as unhygienic as what you will get elsewhere - so feel free to go ‘hog wild’. A lot of it is deep-fried on the spot, and eaten instantly, so there is less chance that e.coli or salmonella can get a foothold. The risk is outweighed by how good it is. If the adage holds true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, you will stride out of Bombay like Mr. Apollo.

Try the Bombay Sandwich - it’s a veggie cheese toastie, is dirt cheap, ubiquitous and delicious. Cucumber, beetroot, onion, green chutney, a whole block of cheese and half a tub of butter go into each Bombay Sandwich. And you can get more on top. Anil makes a banging one, he has a stall outside the J.B. Petit School for Girls.

Try the Vada Pav - it’s a fried potato ball in a bread roll (another Portuguese heirloom). It’s a deliciously filling, quick snack. A bit like a tortilla but better. You will find these everywhere. Mmmm…

Drink lime soda. You can get it sweet with sugar, salty with salt, or plain with nothing.

Drink Masala Chai, sweet, milky, spicy tea.

Drink Thums Up, India’s most popular cola. It’s like Coke but fizzier and not as sweet. Great stuff.

Go on, taste that thunder. Get it down ya.

And finally try Paan, an Indian digestive snack. Those guys on the street with stalls covered in silver pots and leaves make them. They take a Betel leaf and fill it with herbs, spices, nuggets of sugar, seeds, pods, pulses, leaves, bits of this, bits of that. When you get it, pop the whole thing in your gob and hold it like a chipmunk. The taste-journey is a real rollercoaster (I don’t really like them much to be perfectly honest but I would still advise you to try one). Indian cab drivers love the Paan and get chewing tobacco in theirs, that’s what makes their spit red.

If you can’t make it to Bombay I think Paan is also available in the UK, though Brent Council for one are trying to crack down on it because all their pavements have turned red.


Some rules of thumb: avoid ice, avoid salad, avoid uncooked vegetables, avoid meat if possible, avoid rice that is not freshly cooked, avoid buffets. Only drink bottled water. If you get a dodgy tummy or have a generally fragile constitution, stick to idli (steamed rice flying saucers), dosa (big crepes), yogurt, lassi, coconuts and Thums Up.

 

Useful Vocabulary:

chale? (pronounced chal-LAY?) - shall we? as in, ‘shall we go?’

pani (pron. PAR-ni) - water

ick - 1

doe - 2

tin - 3

char - 4

namaste - hi

bass (pron. baass) - enough!

 

Finally if you want a funny driver who will think nothing of stopping a car full of people in the middle of a journey back from a shoot so he can buy a pair of shorts, give G2 a call. I don’t have his number but I’m sure we could get it if you need him. Ganesh is a mensch too.

 

 

 

London W1, a bit of WC2 & a few strays.

This guide is for our friends who live abroad, just in time to plan for the Olympics…

We spend a lot of time traveling, and luckily for us have been to and eaten in many of the great cities of the world (and many of the most obscure back waters too, the back waters are usually our favourite).

We have many favourite cities, in our current top three is Mumbai. Recently however, we unanimously concurred (I was in a bit of a bad mood, made this statement and everyone agreed) that London is the best city in the world.

Yes the weather is particularly shitty, but bad weather makes everything else better, and the sun, when it does shine, is better in London than anywhere else in the world, the city smiles and so does everyone in it.

(yes, that’s London).

And varied weather makes fashion better. It just does, fact.

Thankfully in London we only have to put up with flip flops a few days a year and the rain means it’s also too wet to wear uggs…yay…uggs should be banned…correction, uggs and flip flops should be banned (especially from food establishments), the shoe of the lazy person (although arguably neither are actually a ‘shoe’).

(that’s who you get when you search Ugg Boots…)

FOOD:

At Somesuch & Co. something we all have in common is our passion for good food, we even make it for each other and so do some of our Mum’s (yum, thanks Margaret Tan, we loved your Malaysian Curry, better than any restaurant, can we have it again soon please)…

We can argue with you about which city offers the best food, we can argue for hours, we can probably fall out over it, but this is our blog and it’s about things that make us happy, so here London is the best, do your own blog if you want somewhere else to be better.

Tokyo has some of the best food we’ve ever eaten, but that is consistently Japanese food.

Rome/Milan/Naples the best Italian food one will ever eat, but like Tokyo, the best food is of the country’s origin.

Ditto for Paris actually not ditto for Paris, we think the Parisians are getting a bit lazy in the food dept…go to Lyon instead.

New York offers great casual fare, a slice, a meatball, an udon noodle, a (hideous bloody) cupcake (we won’t be talking about cup cakes here other than WE DON’T GET IT, cupcakes are for children and should stay that way) or that red cake…what’s it called? linen? silk? Oh thanks Google - ‘Velvet’. People seem very excited about velvet cakes and drinks and other things… I digress, my point is that NYC’s strength’s lie in casual food (forgive us Babbo, you’re still one of our favourites).

Where London can whip its competition is in variation AND quality and London is getting better and better.

Here are our favourites. We hope we’ve remembered them all:

Soho:

Barrafina does the best tapas in London, Barrafina does the best tapas we’ve had outside an amazing experience in Spain. Yes you may have to queue and what you wanted may have run out, but fuck it’s worth the wait, and there will be an alternative that’s just as good.

Bocca Di Lupo is on Archer St, which thanks to Bocca di Lupo and it’s partner Gelupo, has gone from being one of the last streets in Soho frequented mostly by drug dealers, addicts and prostitutes, to rather a gastric street still often frequented by drug dealers, addicts and prostitutes. (However, thanks to the hotel being built and the refirb of Smiths Court to another Kingly Court we are sure the cleansing of Soho will soon be complete and the drug addicts will be moved to another part of London.) Bocca Di Lupo is an Italian restaurant which serves some of the best Italian food we’ve had. Anyone that has eaten there will enthusiastically endorse their shaved radish & celeriac salad with pomegranate, pecorino and truffle oil. Perhaps it’s ‘just’ a salad but many restaurants are lazy with salads, so a beautiful salad that people specifically go back for is a very good sign for the rest of the menu if you ask us, and the rest of the menu lives up to the salad. The other lovely thing about BDL is the service. Ernest is our out and out favourite, but all of the staff are delightful.

Across the road, next to the salubrious Windmill…

is BDL’s casual partner Gelupo. Gelupo serves gelato, sandwiches and baked yummy stuff. Their donuts are especially good.

On Frith St Koya does delicious Japanese noodles, hot, cold, hot and cold. They are all wonderful.

Ducksoup, a newcomer, does a bloody good lunch and the menu changes daily, and even if it doesn’t the fact that it’s hand written makes it feel like it does.

YUMMY, I’ll have the chicken liver pappardelle please.

Of course Soho & Covent Garden have Polpo and all of Polpo’s friends, who keep multiplying at such a rate that it’s clear lots of people like the ease of Polpo & Friends. We think they are all more suited for lunch.

Pollen St Social delicious for lunch or dinner, and we like its relaxed approach to lovely food. On their site they have a title for ‘Experience’…modern…

If you have done our favourite pre-recession or during-recession-but-in-denial wander down Bond St into Grafton St then Dover St shopping along the way, you’ll be hungry and tired. Where better to rest and pretend the recession doesn’t exist than The Wolseley, possibly one of the most beautiful restaurants in London. To sit in the main dining area you need to book, but at odd times of the day you will get into the salon which is just as lovely. The Wolseley does delicious food any time of day, but The Wolseley is about more than it’s food. The Wolseley is about denial. The Wolseley is about pretending. The Wolseley is a fantasy-land where you are rich and everything is ok.

The Delaunay is the younger sister to The Wolseley, or the less rich relative, the relative that didn’t inherit quite as much. Great menu and delicious too, but the fantasy doesn’t quite fulfill.

Mon Plaisir is not the choice of many, but we love it; the grumpy service, the funny clientele, the 1980’s menu, all good. We stick loyally to snails, steak & chips and cheese from the trolley and reckon you should too.

Kikuchi is one of our favourite sushi places. It’s on Hanway St near Hakkasan, but nowhere near Hakkasan if you get what we mean. Kikuchi doesn’t have a light dimmer, it doesn’t have lychee cocktails, nor does it have its own Hotel Costes style CD, and it definitely doesn’t do black cod, but it does exceptional sushi and the chicken livers are to die for.

If you’re after some good coffee and a custard tart or pork roll Fernandez & Wells is a great filling station. Our favourite is the St Annes Court branch, especially for a glass of Cava on a Friday evening.

Dean St Townhouse does comfort food really well and it’s a cosy place to eat in the winter.

Scotts in Mayfair is our favourite of Caprice Holdings holdings. It sells jolly good fish. They also have The Mount Street Deli which does a good brekkie.

On the Scotts website there is a great little key to Mount St, very helpful. Thanks Scotts.

If you can get in Nopi, owned by Ottolenghi, is very good indeed. Just book in advance because they seem to enjoy saying ‘no vacancies’ (at Somesuch & Co we prefer the word ‘yes’).

In Chinatown C&R Cafe is our overwhelming choice. It’s Malaysian not Chinese, but we’re yet to be blown away by great Chinese in Chinatown so the Malays win it. C&R is down a stinky alley off Wardour St and looks rather unappetizing. It’s the opposite. If you don’t eat the Roti Canal you’re daft.

We have to stray East to list 5 of our favourites in London; we have more favourites East (you can see a few of those in our Dalston Guide), but these are so good we couldn’t leave without them:

St John’s, both St John St John (as we call it) and St John Bread and Wine are 2 of the best restaurants around, beautiful produce, beautifully cooked, a menu that reads as no bullshit but is so cleverly put together it hurts. There have been many a try hard replica but none are as good.

Gourmet San on Bethnal Green Road like C&R looks a little basic, take no notice, the food is anything but, and don’t be a pussy, order out of your comfort zone.

Here are some suggestions from our very own Daniel Wolfe:

Cold dishes
Spring onion mix of leg steak
Spicy mix of ox tripe
Patted cucumber with garlic sauce

Hot dishes
BBQ lamb skewer
Poached sliced beef in hot chilli oil
Fried pickled peppers with baby cuttlefish
Braised shredded turnip, vermicelli & streaky pork
Old place sautéed crab with dry chilli

Viajante in the old Bethnal Green Town Hall has exceptional food and the service is perfect, neither uptight nor relaxed. It’ll set you back a few bob, so make it a special treat. Oh and have a cocktail in the bar first.

Here’s what Viajante say about themselves: “Viajante is a singular restaurant set in the beautiful urban landscape of East London. We are young and restless, driven by emotions, and inspired by a long journey of discoveries in food.” LOL.

Brawn on Columbia Rd is a pork based restaurant, but if you don’t eat pork don’t let that put you off, Brawn has one of the best pea risottos in London and does delicious seafood.

Hotels:

Sadly because we live here we don’t get to stay in London hotels, but for ‘research’ we have tried a few.

Our favourites are:

The Connaught in Mayfair, it ain’t cheap, but it is luxurious and you get your own butler. The Connaught also has a lovely spa and the bar makes a mean martini (worth a visit even if you’re not staying the night). 

Claridges is posh like the Connaught and you also get a butler. It may need a spot of paint in places, but it makes up for that in charm and service. When we stayed there we were upgraded to a suite. A suite with a cloak room and hallway. A suite so big we needed to stay a week to use it all. A suite that we would happily live in. Sadly we couldn’t. 

At Claridges if you can’t stay a week or forever it’s worth staying for an afternoon tea.

The Covent Garden Hotel is our favourite of the Firmdale Group; the rooms are lovely and it has an honesty bar. We love an honesty bar and have spent a few rather legendary nights enjoying the Covent Garden Hotel’s.

For something more affordable in central London we really love Hazlitt’s, just ask for a quiet room. (How we wish those walls could talk.)

We put someone up in the Dean St Townhouse recently and they seemed happy, with the exception of room service stopping at 10pm, but the bar and restaurant there are lovely.

Our favourite London members club The Groucho Club has rooms, but only for members or friends of…

If you have friends or business in east London and fancy staying there The Town Hall in Bethnal Green is the loveliest East London hotel. It is a 5 minute walk from the central line, so easy to get to and from, plus the bar there makes the best cocktail in east London.

Shopping:

Our shopping advice is get Timeout Guide to London, it is the best.

As you may know we like shopping and are rather skilled at it, so here’s a brief guide to our favourite posh shops…

Opposite The Covent Garden Hotel are some lovely shops and Covent Garden appears to be getting better. Our friends Opening Ceremony are opening there in time for the Olympics, which we are ecstatic about.

Mount Street (the Connaught) is the Sloane Street of W1, but more mellow. On it is one of our favourites Lanvin. It’s rare that we can afford Lanvin these days sadly, but you can buy a notebook there for £40 or just browse the beautiful clothes. Also on Mount St are Balenciaga, Louboutin, Marc Jacobs and more.

In between Mount St and Soho are Margiela, Stella McCartney, Westwood, Issy Miyake, etc just drift up and down the streets between and you will see them all, or use a map.

Between Mayfair and the Wolseley are Vanessa Bruno, Acne and The Dover Street Market. As mentioned in food, one of London’s loveliest shopping walks consists of a wander from Fenwick (below) down Bond St, to Grafton St then onto Dover St. Bliss.

Browns on South Molton St consists of a rabbit warren through several interconnecting buildings. If you look like a serious shopper you may be followed by a lady hoping for a commission. Don’t feel pressured, usually they are lovely, and if you are after something specific, they know their shit. Opposite Browns is Browns Focus, the younger, groovier, ‘cheaper’ sister to grown-up Browns. We’re not sure about cheaper, but Browns Focus is where you can find clothes from our beautiful friends Surface to Air and Opening Ceremony (woo hoo they’re opening a shop here soon) so we are big fans.

Our current favourite department store is Fenwick on Bond St. Yup, you might think Fenwick is just for old ladies, but you my friend are incorrect. Fenwick has the best hosiery dept in London. Its make up department sells everything most others do but is civilised. It has a wonderful selection of lingerie and Fenwick sells pretty good clothes too, yup just go and look, mark my words you’ll like it too (if you’re a woman and over 25).

Soho seems to be having a renaissance of late, more in food than shopping, but there are some great shops. Liberty (of course, didn’t you see the Christmas hamper they sent us? we reckon we own part of Liberty), B Store which has recently moved to Kingly Street and the original (we don’t know that for sure) Agent Provocateur on Berwick St next to Space NK. Gorgeous undies with gorgeous staff.

If it’s food you’re after Lina Stores, Soho’s wonderful traditional Italian deli that was sold and closed much to our upset, has reopened staying fairly true to its former self and now does a good sandwich too.  I Camisa and Son on Old Compton St is still family run and sells a great sausage. Gelupo on the now gastric crack and prostitute Archer St (above) sells pasta sauces made by their chefs that are so good you can get away with pretending you made them yourself to great acclaim from your guests (if that’s the type of person you are). Gelupo is famous for its homemade ice creams, but we prefer its wine and produce, and it’s the only place I know outside NZ to sell what us Kiwi’s know of as whitebait. It’s frozen, but it’s the real deal.

(Now THAT’S whitebait. It’s white and good bait, talk us through your version…)

Berwick St Market seems to be shrinking sadly, but the produce there, although probably not organic, is good and cheap and if you smile (and are a woman) you’ll probably get something free.

One of our favourite butchers in London is Allens of Mayfair (opposite the Connaught). Allens sells meat of exceptional quality and the service is a delight. If like us, you don’t live in Mayfair Allens also has a great website and delivery service.

The The Ginger Pig in Marylebone also has exceptional meat and service, plus you can do a butchers course at The Ginger Pig, which we did and thoroughly enjoyed. Next to The Ginger Pig is La Fromagerie which reckons it’s one of the best cheese shops in the UK. Possibly it is but we really love Neals Yard Dairy over in Covent Garden for cheeses too. La Fromagerie differs in that it also sells lovely produce and has a good cafe so they are both beautiful in their own ways.

(There’s La Fromagerie with the Ginger Pig right next door.)

Selfridges isn’t our favourite department store (although its website reckons it’s ‘the best in the world’), but the foodhall is pretty good especially if you’re after fish or kosher. (Although if you want the best fish in London, as we’ve said before, Steve Hatt on Essex Rd is the place for you.)

If it isn’t raining and you want to sit down and relax, London has a lot of really beautiful parks and squares, all beautifully cared for, whether it’s Hyde Park or Soho Square, you’re never far away from somewhere pretty to sit. Just look for the green bits on the map…

So there is a needle in the haystack that is London, a tiny taster of what makes London the best city in the world…

Stoke Newington, Dalston and Borders

I’m sure writing a guide to Stoke Newington & Dalston seems a bit passé to all those hipsters amongst you. We know the super hipsters like Vice are enjoying Dalston right now with their new show. But we have lived there for around 8 years and despite the arrival of fancy dress and funny hair cuts still feel really happy in Stoke Newington & Dalston.

So here is our guide to what makes us happiest, from Wilton Way up to Stoke Newton Church St (which we won’t venture on to because this is a blog about what makes us happy and Whole Foods on Stoke Newington Church St doesn’t), then over to Newington Green for some tapas…

One of our favourite things to do is to walk up (or down) Stoke Newington & Kingsland Rd (one turns in to the other). We do this daily to get to (and from) the 38 bus stop.

Lots of people like to get the bus to the 38 bus stop, but we like to walk, we’re not lazy, plus in the mornings we will pick up a coffee from the dude outside Dalston Kingsland station. He makes good strong coffee that makes our hearts beat that little bit faster. Mmmmmmmm good coffee.

(he’s really good at standing on one leg too).

Stoke Newington & Kingsland Road’s are special at all times of day. From the mornings when it’s quiet and clean, to the evenings when all of the barbers and restaurants have opened their doors.

You know you’re home when you smell that BBQ smell covering Stoke Newinton Rd like a gastric curtain, excreting smoke from the massive extractor fans above all of the Turkish Ocak grills. Mmmmmmmmm ocak grills.

No where else in London smells as good. Shit Stoke Newington Rd smells fine.

Stoke Newington Rd is the London capital of the ocak grill. Yes West and South London you might have the odd good one, but I’m afraid we obliterate you when it comes to good Turkish food. Don’t even bother trying to compete…

If you question who we’d start with, you don’t know us well enough…

Best Kebab, of course.

Full name: Best Turkish Kebab, Best Turkish Kebab is just that, the best Turkish kebab. We may have bored you with the many attributes of Best Kebab… but so fruitful, they are worth repeating… At Best Turkish Kebab they make the doner themselves, mostly with lamb shoulder. They are the only kebab house in the UK to do this. It’s so good it has been on the Radio 4 Food Program. So good, you don’t feel dirty after you’ve eaten it. So good you’ll eat it any time of day.

Best Turkish Kebab is a family run business, at Somesuch & Co. for obvious reasons, we are firm supporters of the family run business.

Politicians should go to best kebab to see how the country should be run. It’s worth going just to observe the queue, no one, no matter how impatient pushes in, no one, no matter how troubled, causes trouble, no one, no matter how tough, fucks with the Best Kebab brothers. Don’t get me wrong ‘the brothers’ are in no way intimidating, they are polite and delightful, you just know you don’t fuck with them, you just don’t…

Then there’s the people in the queue, not many places house such a range of people so blissfully. From the wankers like us, to the rude boys, to the Islamic kids who have traveled especially from Birmingham just for a Best Kebab, to the locals from ‘Drunk Bench’, to the prostitutes from Yakatan, to the police in flack jackets, to the undercover cops, to the local dealers, all mingling, happy to wait as long as it takes for a Best Turkish Kebab.

At Best Turkish Kebab, if you’re a bit nervous of the doner (you shouldn’t be) there are the posher options, shish, beyti etc, all very, very good. We’d just recommend you try the doner, that’s all.

Best Turkish kebab is strictly takeaway. If you’d rather sit down we have a few suggestions for you…

Everyone has their favourites, we’re traditionalists and usually stick loyally to Mangal 1 and 2. The myth is they are related. Maybe there were, they aren’t now. Mangal 1 makes that crystal on their website. Mangal 1, Arcola St has the best beyti and quail you can eat, fresh, moist (saying moist makes us happy) and delicious. Their salads are very good too, and we like the service. You can take your own booze, or get an Effes there.

Mangal 2, just around the corner, is the slightly more posh version and if you are really lucky you will see Gilbert and George, two of the most polite dudes that walk this earth. Seeing G&G at Mangal 2 makes us feel happy. They love each other and that’s a beautiful thing to witness. Mangal 2’s beyti is also good. We like their chicken beyti too.

Across the street from Mangal 2 is Mangal Lamachan, their lamachan is £3 and is VERY good, cooked in a proper lamachan (pizza) oven, then filled with salad and rolled up for you to eat there or take away. Mangal Lamachan is only open until 11pm, so it’s not a get drunk and scoff place, it’s more a respect thing. We agree with that.

We said we usually eat an Mangal 1 & 2 because we only recently discovered Cirrik (or 19 Numara Bo$ Cirrik 1), Cirrik is in between Mangal 1 and Mangal 2 on Stoke Newington Rd. Unlike the Mangals you could easily take a vegetarian there, not that we encourage vegetarians, but you could. Cirrik’s Tabouleh is fresh and delicious and the zucchini fritters….Mmmmmmmmmm zucchini fritters….are so good we could eat them all the time. We are yet to tire of Cirrik, our only advice would be to eat upstairs.

After the Cirrik you can go next door for a delicious pastry…

On the corner of Kingsland Rd and Shaklewell Lane, shining like a ruby is a red and black rooster, this rooster can only signify one thing…Nando’s, yes Dalston has a Nando’s, a very good one too. We like that the service is rather erratic and that you can queue with 17 policemen for a takeaway meal (once we did actually queue with 17 policeman, we counted them)…

(Quick diversion to policemen; we wonder how they are not 30 stone, well some probably are, but not as many of them as should be. In part, Stoke Newington police keep Stoke Newington food joints in business, you can’t pass Best Kebab or Nando’s without seeing at least 3 bobbies ravinously awaiting their feed. For this we are thankful, for this and the fact that in the queue they happily mix with many of the people they will probably arrest later.)

Back to food (and coffee).

If you want one of the best coffee’s in London and a posh middle class sandwich or cake Mouse & De Lotz is your place. It’s on Shaklewell Lane about 5 minutes walk from Nando’s.

We love coffee as you know, so we are very fond of Mouse and De Lotz. Ain’t nothing wrong with posh middle class sandwiches either. We wish they were more readily available in London.

Believe it or not, despite looking like it might be served with a fag butt or an empty wrap of gack from the night before, Dalston Superstore also offers good relaxed fare. More middle class comfort food than middle class posh, but if you can get a seat up front, it’s a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by.

Next to Dalston Superstore are a few cafes where you can sit outside and hipster-gaze. The food isn’t as fine as Cirrik or Mangal and the coffee lacks what Mouse and De Lotz has to offer, but their service is always lovely, and good service is worth a lot.

We love a good jerk, a good jerk makes us feel real happy. Dalson has several; the Enterprise bookstore, where you can browse some books whilst you await your food served by one of the nicest ladies in Dalston…

…and in the garden at the Railway Tavern, sadly likely to become the ‘new’ Shaklewell Arms. (We won’t be discussing the newly owned Shacklewell Arms). So ‘new’ even Vice haven’t taken the piss out of it…yet…At the Railway Tavern in their beer garden you will find a very good jerk chicken or pork, and their home made soup…? ‘Oh my god that soup smells so niiiceee’.

Then there’s Bradbury Street. On the walk home from the 38 bus stop we go via Bradbury Street… as we said, we’re not lazy, we like to walk…

Bradbury Street is one of the coolest streets in London. On Bradbury St is Mama Vics, a one lady outfit. Mama Vic does lots of delicious West Indian food and of course a mean jerk chicken, mmmmmmmm jerk chicken. Even though it’s just the Mama, Mama Vic’s is definitely a family run business. Thus far that’s Somesuch & Co., Best Kebab and Mama Vics. We reckon probably the Mangals too, but we don’t know for sure, and we like to have our facts straight (ish).

On the Corner of Kingsbury Rd and Balls Pond Rd, number 40, is Peppers and Spice. Peppers and Spice often has queues out the door, which proves it’s good (Denikah gives it 14 out of 10 on London Eating). Must remember to go to Peppers and Spice more often.

Moving away from jerk, Shanghai is a fairly typical Chinese restaurant. It won’t blow you away necessarily, but if you fancy a rib or crispy duck (‘it’sth not cwispy’) it won’t let you down, and the front of the restaurant is an untouched old pie shop, so it’s real pretty too. If karaoke is your thing, you can do it out back. See, Shanghai has 2 jewels in its crown.

Trangallan is a new tapas restaurant on Newington Green and it’s very, very good.

The tapas are a little small, but they are delicious, so just order more. The service is a delight. We really recommend Trangallan, although not so much we can’t get in anymore.

If you fancy a bagel, The Bagel House on Stoke Newington High Street is open 24 hours and their bagels are bloody good, up there with those on Brick Lane. If you are lucky you will get one straight out of the oven, still warm. Yum. Who doesn’t like a good bagel?

We don’t know for sure, because the people that work in the Bagel Shop are a bit shy, but we’d be willing to put £5 on the bagel shop being a family run business.

Many people will attest that the best pizza in N16 is Il Baccio. We don’t agree. We like La Barca, next to the Shakespeare pub. La Barca is takeaway or it delivers. Many a Saturday night has been spent with a margarita with extra pepperoni delivered by La Barca in front of the telly.

(tiny bit too much cheese on this one, but crispy and delicious all the same)

Of course we can’t forget KFC. We wish KFC was health food so we could eat it more often, although UK KFCs don’t do potato and gravy which, even after 20 years here is still disappointing.

Bars:

Even people that don’t live in Dalston know Dalston has many bars. People travel from West London for a night out in Dalston these days.

We’re a bit old to hang out with the hairdos, but we like a nice bar and we are very fond of ‘good piss’.

Recently we went to a bar on Bradbury Street with our friends Nicky & Jenny. There they do a jolly good margarita (of the drink variety rather than the eating) in very civilised surroundings, especially if you like impromptu jazz. We’re not so sure about impromptu jazz, we don’t tend to wear corduroys very often, but we love a margarita, so (we think it’s called)  The Servant Jazz Quarters definitely gets on the happy scale.

Dalston Superstore (gets 2 mentions…) does a very good bloody mary… spicy, it’s neither too think, nor too complicated (other bars, please don’t put cumin in a bloody mary). We don’t like bloody mary’s quite as much as margaritas, but we do like them very much, so we like Dalston Superstore. For us it’s a pre-midnight joint, but if you like to party, especially with buff, sweaty chaps, after midnight might be more preferable to you.

After midnight we like to go to Bar 23. Bar 23 is fun, it’s not hipster, it’s just fun.

If we want hipster after midnight there is always Efes. What’s not to like about a place called ‘Efes’ (although ‘Lech’ would be better)? When we first came to Dalston, Efes was a pool club largely dominated by locals. Now it’s an ironic pool club largely dominated by kids with haircuts from London Fields, Shoreditch and West London, but it’s still got vibes.

There is of course Alibi and Bardens… but we’re sure you know about them, so we needn’t comment.

Our favourite pubs are The Shakespeare, Marquis, Spurstowe and Drunk Bench.

The Shakespeare is a proper boozer, no food served in house, no leather sofa’s. The added bonus is that next door is our favourite pizza delivery place La Barca (above), and the Shakespeare let you take your pizza from La Barca in to the pub to eat over a pint of Guinness. That’s real nice of the Shakespeare. Thanks the Shakespeare.

The Marquis has lovely staff and tables outside, which is nice in the summer. Some of the best parties we’ve been to have been in the Marquis’s basement, plus it’s next to Mangal. We like the Marquis.

Yes, we know it’s not ‘cool’ to like the Spurstowe, lots of you think it’s passe, but we do like it. The staff are lovely, the food is pretty good, and they also make a bloody good bloody mary. We’ve had some fun days and nights at the Spurstowe.

Drunk Bench is at the top of Farleigh Rd on Stoke Newington Rd (Cabbies it’s Rd at this point NOT High St FFS, don’t let us win another fiver off you).

Drunk Bench is often run by our good friend and neighbour Winston (he’s not either of those dudes above). Winston prefers the weed to booze, so he’s a bit different to the other people that frequent Drunk Bench, but he likes to hang there all the same. Sometimes there’s only one person at Drunk Bench, sometimes there are 10, other times there’s just a solitary pair of trousers hanging to dry in the fresh air.

It all depends on the day of the week and the weather. The world gets put to rights on Drunk Bench. We love it for that. Most people are welcome, but you will need to prove that you are trustworthy before you are really accepted (a six pack of Fosters Ice may help too).

Shopping & Services:

If you frequent Sainsbury’s or Tesco’s in the area you are seriously missing out. In fact we’d prefer it if you read another blog. That’s not the spirit of the area. There are so many great shops that are so much better, and cheaper too. You need an unrecognisable ingredient from the Moro Cookbook? One of the Turkish shops will have it. You need a pomegranate? One of the Turkish shops will have them for a quarter of the price? You need sumac? You’re not going to find it at Tesco Metro trust us, oh and the feta cheese? Incomparably better (don’t be scared of those tins, those tins are full of cheese of goodness).

We have our favourites, but they are all good for different reasons. This is Akdeniz. Akdeniz does good fruit and veg, as you can see…

Akdeniz is open 24 hours (most of the time), it is also a family run business, as we have said above, we love a family run business…

Opposite Akdeniz, in amongst this High Street lined almost exclusively with Turkish delicacies is an oasis of Italian fare, Gallo Nero II (Gallo Nero i is on Albion Drive).

Gallo Nero has been there for a very long time and is consistently good. It sells the same stuff you might find in Soho at Lina Stores or Gelupo for a fraction of the price. Gallo Nero even has bottarga… mmmmmm bottarga, and their homemade bolognese is just the ticket on a cold winters night.

Not only are the ingredients great but like Somesuch & Co., Best Kebab, Mama Vics (probably The Mangals) and Akiniz, Gallo Nero is also a family run business and the family who run it are delightful. Being in Gallo Nero actually makes you happy.

Kind of opposite Gallo Nero is a shop new to Stoke Newington High St, ‘Luis Fernando International Traders’.

Luis Fernando International Traders is Cuban and sells mostly cigars and rum (of course) but also some beautiful ash trays and other items mostly relevant to smoking, drinking or music. Luis Fernando International Traders looks like pure good vibes to us, next time we need a cigar we will definitely go there.

Just south of Luis Fernando’s, in the church yard, only to be found on Saturday’s is a farmer’s market (it moved from the school on Church St), a really good wee farmer’s market. It might not have the same diversity as Broadway Market, but it doesn’t have the crowds either, so for that we prefer the Stoke Newington Market, that and the fact that it feels more direct from farm to customer, oh and the tomatoes, they do a bloody good tomato, and we love tomatoes nearly as much as coffee….mmmmm coffee.

Further south still is The New Jet-set. By it’s name you can see that The New Jet-Set is geared up for… the new jet set.

They are a dry cleaners, and they are a very good dry cleaners too. We absolutely trust them with all of our outrageously overpriced and pretentious clothing. Oh and like Somesuch & Co. Best Kebab, Mama Vics (probably The Mangals), Akiniz, Gallo Nero and The Bagel Shop, The New Jet-set is a family run business. I reckon it’s getting even more clear how we feel about family businesses…

Next door, the gem, Cuckoo Wines.

Cuckoo is run by a really special Indian (you guessed it…) family (I won’t go over it again, you get our position). From the outside Cuckoo looks like it’s sole purpose is to fuel Drunk Bench (above), but don’t be fooled. Not only does Cuckoo have very good, very reasonably priced wines, Mr Cuckoo Jnr (not sure that’s his actual name) has a very good knowledge of wine, and if you tell him what you fancy or better still, are eating, he will sell you something very good that you might not have tried before. Cuckoo also love cricket, so if you add that to the fact they have booze and good booze to boot, Cuckoo is a very special place indeed.

Not far from Drunk Bench is Stokey. When Stokey first opened it was called Stoky. We liked that, it made us smile, but soon after they changed it to Stokey.

Stokey is like a Turkish ‘Metro’ but better and cheaper, and it sells pretty much everything you need (except green peppercorns in brine, no one in Dalston or Stoke Newington sells peppercorns in brine, trust us, don’t waste your time looking). Stokey is also a family run business, and it has a similar vibe to Best Kebab, once inside you feel safe and you know no messing. During the riots Stokey was one of the many places that made us feel safe. Thanks Stokey.

Pelicans & Parrots is a really delightful vintage store that you could dress from or decorate your house, we’ve found many a treasure at Pelicans & Parrots. We don’t like to be nosy, but we do wonder if the lady and the man that run it are a married couple? As I’m sure you can imagine married couples in business very close to our hearts.

Dalston is famous for Ridley Rd Market, and so it should be.

Ridley Rd is an incredible market and there aren’t many like it left. Regardless of what you think of the produce for sale on Ridley Rd, from balloons to pig brains, Ridley Rd sells everything you could possibly need and quite a lot of stuff you don’t… or probably shouldn’t…

Ridley Rd is also home to our friends Tim and Barry.

They have their studio there. Their studio has 2 cats. We love cats. Akinola who works with Tim & Barry told us about the meatball man On Ridley Rd, sadly we haven’t had time to try the meatball man’s meatballs, but if Akinola says they are fine they will be…

The southest or eastest, or south-eastest of all and very near The Spurstowe is Borough Wines.

We always feel a bit bad not going to Cuckoo, but Borough wines is of exceptional quality. We love the refill service and the people that own it and work there are absolutely gorgeous.

Plus Borough Wines did our 1st birthday party (yup they do parties) so beautifully we will love them forever. Thanks Borough Wines. (Shit, we still have a bottle of wine waiting there for us.)

If it’s a haircut you are after and you’re a man, take your pick on Stoke Newington Rd, they are all good. We have tried a few, and the current favourites are Pasha’s

and Mesut:

£10 for a haircut, facewash and unwanted facial hair trim…who wouldn’t…?

So that’s a summary of Stoke Newington, Dalston and the Borders, a very special part of London, open almost 24 hours and predominantly family run which as you know we think is really pretty wonderful. Please add your favourites to the comments section.

If you are too cool for Dalston and Stoke Newington, you can watch Dalston Superstars it’s pretty funny.

See you soon with Mumbai and Kerala. YAY!