east london

Story Deli

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If you head north along Brick Lane in east London, right before the road ends, you will come across an anonymous but beautiful building that houses one of the most delicious pizza places on this side of the pond- Story Deli. I think I stumbled across Story Deli after seeing a photo of it on instagram and immediately fell in love with decor. When you walk in you are greeted by tall ceilings, white walls and communal tables. My favorite bit is the ceiling that is filled with skylights that allow a flood of natural light into the room. But, beyond the decor, the pizzas really are insanely delicious. Reid and I have visited about three or four times, each time ordering two different pizzas to share and have always devoured them embarrassingly quickly. Two that I would recommend are the dora romero (with chorizo, smashed tomatoes, basil pesto and buffalo mozzarella) and the aubergine, goat’s cheese and ham.

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Barbican Conservatory

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I first visited the Barbican Centre when I photographed Samuel for his 4×3 Londoner profile. I was just short of amazed when I walked around since I had never actually been inside before. From the outside the building looks overbearing but once inside it has all sorts of wonderful things to explore like galleries, cinemas, cafes, fountains and much more. But my favorite part is the Barbican Conservatory. This hidden oasis in East London is free to the public but is only open on certain Sundays throughout the year so a little bit of planning is required before you visit (opening times are on their website). Once inside you completely forget that you are in the middle of the city as you are surrounded with green. The paths meander throughout and some even take you up a flight or two of stairs so you can view the greenery below you. Up one of these staircases is an amazing room full of every kind of succulent and cactus you can think of (it made me realize how tiny my own succulents are at home).

So if you find yourself wanting to escape to some green in the middle of the city, head on over to the Barbican Conservatory and relax amongst the endless array of plants. And maybe take some time to check out the rest of the centre too!

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Chungmin / E1

A portrait series of people who call London home.

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How long have you lived in London?

7 Years in September.

What makes someone a Londoner?

A Londoner is someone who can (deeply) appreciate the sun and temperature above 20C. Also, I think a Londoner is someone who has higher level of tolerance for things like tube strikes, expensive rents and spicy Asian food.

North London or South London?

North-East!

Favorite thing about living in London?

Balance of culture and urban life.

Least favorite thing about living in London?

This is going to sound very specific but I really do not like the fabric seats on the buses and tubes. I think London had a thing or two to learn from the public transport system in Korea…

Favorite spot to grab a drink?

Shoreditch Grind by the Old Street roundabout– it’s a cafe by day and a cocktail bar by night.

Favorite spot to grab a bite?

It’s going to be difficult to pick just one restaurant so I will go with a street full of awesome restaurants– Exmouth Market in Farringdon. Go to Bonnie Gullfor seafood, Blackfoot for ribs and Moro for tapas!

Taxi, Tube, Bus, Bike or Walk?

Walk.

Where do you go to get away from the city?

Once a year I feel the need to get away from London. And when I do, it’s usually because I miss home and my dog so I take off to Korea for a week or two to recharge my battery.

Sergio / E9

A portrait series of people who call London home.

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How long have you lived in London?

I’ve been in London for just over two years now.

What makes someone a Londoner?

I guess attitude towards the city and people that live here. London is unlike any other city in England in both negative and positive ways. Your mindset will determine your relationship with the city. Before I moved down here I never thought of myself as a big-city-kinda person. It even scared me a bit. I was doubtful about it during my first few months but then I got used it, came to terms with it and now I really like it here. But that happened only after I’ve started to explore the city and meet more people around here. Obviously the pace is crazy, the density of the population is high, it’s busy. You have to decide if you’re going to be able to put up with big city’s atmosphere, which sometimes can get on your nerves.

North London or South London?

Most of my friends are based North of the river, therefore that’s where I usually hang around but at the same time I regularly go to some of my favourite places around South London.

Favorite thing about living in London?

The diversity of this city is what I love about it. You see so much random stuff out on the streets it fascinates me every day. I encounter something new each time I leave the house. “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life…” – Samuel Johnson. I also appreciate the fact that there is so much going on here – exhibitions, concerts, events, festivals. I’ve been able to see my favourite artists, musicians, attend some great galleries and meet all sorts of people. It’s non-stop. This city has an energy that never burns out. I have stuff in my phone’s calendar almost every week.

Least favorite thing about living in London?

Rent prices and the cots of living in general.

Favorite spot to grab a drink?

Too many, but Crate Brewery has become our local favourite. I live a few minutes away from it so it’s pretty easy to find an excuse to go for a drink with my housemates.

Favorite spot to grab a bite?

Broadway market

Taxi, Tube, Bus, Bike or Walk?

I cycle most of the time.

Where do you go to get away from the city?

I’ve studied in Huddersfield and lived in Manchester for a bit so I still have a lot of friends up North so I go there now and again for some camping and hiking or just to see people but it’s also nice to leave the country now and then and do some travelling in which case I try to go where I’ve never been before.

Columbia Road

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One of my absolute favorite places to go to in London is the flower market on Columbia Road in East London. It is held every Sunday (unless Christmas happens to fall on a Sunday that year) from about 8 am to 3 pm. If I could go every Sunday, I would, hands down. I prefer going earlier in the day rather than later as it can get crowded, especially on a nice day. But if you do happen to visit a little later in the day you are guaranteed to get a good deal on a bunch of flowers.

Typically we will take the Northern line to Old Street or the Overground to Hoxton and walk from there (only about 5 or 10 minutes). You know you are headed in the right direction as more and more passersby will be carrying armfuls of fresh blooms, herbs or plants. Once you arrive, it is like a bustling scene from a movie- you’ve got people crowding in looking at the flowers, traders yelling “A bunch for a fiver!”, musicians filling the air with lovely tunes, kids running around playing…

After making my first pass through to see what is available, I usually make a beeline for the Lili Vanilli Bakery, which is tucked down a little alley way, to grab one of their delicious sausage rolls and a coffee (they also have an amazing vegetarian version on offer which is just as good as the original). With a full belly, I’ll then go through the market a second time to purchase whatever caught my eye that day. I usually have an idea of what it is I am looking for, be it whatever flower is in season, fresh herbs to add to my window box, a new plant for the house, etc. But if I don’t have anything specific in mind, there is always something beautiful I find. I don’t think I have ever returned home from the flower market empty handed!

With those purchase made I then like to walk behind the flower stalls and take a peek into the shops that line the street. You can find all sorts of things here from old school candies to vintage furniture. Then depending on how full my belly really is, sometimes a little brunch is in order. A few places in the area I recommend are Brawn (the closest option as it is on Columbia Road), The Beagle (located next to the entrance to Hoxton station), and Bistrotheque (a little bit further of a walk than the other but not that bad). All in all, not abad start to a Sunday!

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