It can be hard to talk about historic boats without coming across as rude.
Still, we’d like to persevere and draw your attention to Barge East, a glorious floating bar and restaurant set on a (surprisingly roomy) 114 year-old Dutch cargo barge.
The founders (one of whom is the generous man who brought London the hot tub boat) sailed it all the way from Holland to its current home in Hackney Wick, where it’s moored overlooking the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, CRATE Brewery, and the landmarks of London’s skyline.
It’s got space for 120 over its two decks; the upper, a canopied, festoon-lit sun-trap strung up with bunting, the lower an intimate hull filled with tables made from the boat’s former anchor winches. And spilling out onto the banks of the canal, there’s alfresco seating set amidst a kitchen garden, supplying some of the ingredients that’ll make their way into your food, as well as an airstream caravan serving up a more casual, street food-style menu.
The dishes here come courtesy of Stefano Camplone (who cut his teeth at Michelin-starred Roganic). The menu’s largely British with fusion twists – starters include crispy duck egg with sunchoke velouté, mushrooms and shallots; and cod ceviche with avocado, radish and grapefruit. Scaling up, you’ll find the ‘Bigger’ plates of pork belly with kimchi and toasted nuts; and Balkan kofta with red peppers and flatbreads; with affogato, salted caramel chocolate tart, and goat’s cheesecake to finish. Also, an absolutely flawless Sunday Roast.
Balancing out all that water around you, you’ll find plenty by way of liquid refreshment too, in the form of craft beers brewed in Hackney and further afield, a well-picked wine list, spritzers, Dutch lagers, and cocktails like the classic Negroni, and the not-so-classic Sex with the Captain. Which leads us nicely to…
THE CAPTAIN’S CABIN
…no, not because you ordered that last one with a wink. The Cabin is a private area that can be hired out, which is cool because a) it essentially makes this your private boat, and b) it’s equipped with a direct phone line to the bar.
Presumably for taking captain’s orders.
NOTE: Barge East is moored in Hackney Wick – the terrace is open daily for drinks and street food, while the boat restaurant is open Thursday-Sunday. You can find out more, and book, on their website HERE.n
Barge East | Sweetwater Mooring, River Lee, White Post Lane, E9 5EN
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