E6 NEWS, FOOD & DRINK, SHOPS & MARKETS, THINGS TO DO

Introducing Plaistow Village

Introducing PLAISTOW VILLAGE… Yes, Really.

Last week, we found an Instagram account called @PlaistowVillage and it took us rather by surprise (if it’s your instagram account, give us a shout and let us know if we missed anything). Shocked at having left the Plaistow stones uncovered for so long, we popped on our explorer boots and brushed up on what’s what in E13….

Turns out poor ole Plaistow often gets overshadowed by its shinier bouncier siblings. East Ham, West Ham and Stratford have all been known to take the credit for a Plaistow-ian gem  or two, so we’re here to set the record straight.  Scroll down to discover our best picks for Plaistow.

But first, where the heck is Plaistow?

For those of you who don’t live in Plaistow, it is left of West Ham and right of East Ham. It is basically the middle of the two Hams. Turn left at Green Street and you are there. Got it now? Good.

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Places to eat, drink and be merry (AKA ‘We heart Barking Road’)

Plaistow has one of East Blam’s all time favourite eating spots hiding in plain sight on the Barking Road; Minh’s Vietnamese does the most authentic and yummy food we have tasted on the Eastiest-East-Side. Their Chilli and Salt Prawns are mouth wateringly good, their noodle soups are souper (geddit, souper super, haha!) and the decor has had a facelift since last time we wrote about them – gone are the plastic tables, replaced with chic booths and bamboo plants. If you are Plaistowian, you need to get yourself down there. In fact, even if you are not an E13 native, its the best noodle experience you will have in a 3 mile radius.

Ginny’s Pie and Mash shop is another good spot that we’ve mentioned once or twice before. Also a Barking Road-er, its traditional grub (that’s Meat Pie, Mash and Liquor sauce, if you are not au fait with East End Eating), cheerful staff and trendy decor make it a wonderful place to while away the day. East End Pie shops are fast becoming an endangered species, so if you want to keep the old ways alive, you’d better get in here and get yourself a Double Pie and Liquor quick chop. It used to be owned by Daniella Westbrooke of Eastenders fame too. #justsayin

Of course we couldn’t complete this post without mentioning The Black Lion. It’s the only CAMRA pub in the vicinity, and this lovely old listed building has been open since the 1800’s. People fussy about beer, or looking for a place to escape the wave of hipster gastropubs moving further and further east, this classic old boozer is for you.

For a good cuppa, there are two community cafes to choose from that will tick the boxes (watch out, their opening times are a bit variable). Cornerstone Community Coffeeshop is yet another friend of Barking Road (Sorry, we should have called this the ‘We Love Barking Road Brigade Post’). It’s a cosy community cafe focussed around supporting locals. It’s only open Wednesday – Fri, 10-3pm so any full timers will miss out.

Similarly, the Community Memorial Church (Barking Road, Barking Road Barking Road!!!) has a pop up cafe called the WAF CAFE on a Tuesday, 11am – 2pm, which is worth sticking in your diary for the hearty serving of Jollof Rice, if nothing else. Actually, there is something else, this beautiful old church leads a double life as Tower Gallery, part of the Tower Gallery group from Whitechapel, so while you are popping in for a cuppa you can keep your eye out for the next exhibition.

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Green spaces and community groups

Plaistow Park on Greengate Street is of course the name sake green space in Plaistow – open since 1894, it has an ornamental garden (oooh ahhhh), a great kids playground and in summer a paddling pool. All parky boxes ticked then.

The crowning glory though for Plaistow is the Greenway. For those of you not yet familiar with it, the Greenway is an off road path (ok over a sewer line – details details) which runs right through the middle of E13 and means you can cycle all the way into Stratford ROAD FREE. That in itself is pretty wonderful for a London ‘burb, but now thanks to the seed spread legacy of the landscape gardens planted for the Olympic village, you can do it amongst some bloody wild flowers to boot! Anyone keen to stay in the know, click here for the handy facebook group that will keep you updated.

Also Greenway related, the good people of Plaistow Big Local (more on them in a mo) have been beavering away over the last year to build a Community Orchard at the Boundary Lane end of the Greenway. It has fruit trees, community growing space, and colourful tyres and picnic benches. Its both beautiful and unexpected in a space that is so often unappreciated.

So while we are on the subject, Plaistow South Big Local (PSBL for short!) are bloomin’ awesome set of peeps to have in Plaistow’s lil’ black book. Awarded Lottery funding in 2014, they are an action group committed to local improvements and community building in Plaistow. Aside from the Orchard we just mentioned, they also run a local youth market (also on the greenway, BTW), sponsor unloved spaces (have a peek at the murals on Barbers Alley to give you a taste of the kind of fairy dust they like to sprinkle) and encourage locals to roll their sleeves up in the local area. Like their facebook page here to stay up to date with all their goings on.

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Need to know (ye olde) Plaistow shops

Plaistow shops are pretty spread out, as the old high street has long since upped sticks and become houses, but the shops you do need to know about are long standing pieces of pre war plaistowian history.

Whenlocks is far and away the worst kept secret in Plaistow. Openly and without a doubt, this is the only place you should be buying meat on the Far East Edge. Their meat is organic, and the butchers really know their trade – they can still recommend all the best cuts and have been open since the 1900’s (not with the same owner, obvs). They are recently back in the saddle after a prolonged period of closure due to family bereavement, but still as good as ever. Get there early on a Saturday or you will have to queue around the block.

Sewells is the other East Blam fave…. Another relic of times gone by, this florist has been open and run by the Sewell family since the 1930’s. History buffs will find the inside unchanged since then, with some fascinating vintage pics on the walls of times (and match days) gone by. It should be your one stop shop of choice for all local flowery occasions, and worth noting that they also stock house plants, some outdoor plants and succulents too (beats hightailing to B&Q, right?). Alan Titchmarsh they are not, but will give you a warm and fuzzy to be part of the #shoplocal movement and support nearby independents.

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And to finish off, a wee bit of history.

In days of old Plaistow was truly a village (so instagram is only slightly stretching it!). It was flippin’ miles away (a whole day’s journey by stage coach) from London, famous only because ole Dick Turpin nicked some oxen there once — it didn’t even get a telephone wire until 1904. Then nothing until it got mega bombed during the Blitz – you can still spot some of the holes today. It finally got it’s London street creds in 1965, when the {East and West} Hams merged into what we know and love as NewHam (#lovenewham).

Right, that’s your East end Pub Quiz knowledge taken care of and then end of our little ode to Plaistow. Happy Exploring.

Did we miss anything? Hit us up in the comments below if you know of other Plaistow beauties that we need to shout about.

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