The canal, a great way to discover parts of London. I am not sure of the complete length of its reach, but I have previously walked from Borough Market towards Kings Cross. Nice views, moored boats and the battle between cyclists and pedestrians to own the small walkway provides the setting. Just a stones throw away from my flat is a little bit of the canal which has a couple of cafes one of which one is Proud East. Now this spot has been around for a while and recently enjoyed a House of Peroni popup. It has great outside seating and is super trendy inside. You have high expectations here as outside seating AND canal side space together is a rarity. In the Summer months, this is what you aim for if you don’t want a park or can’t get on to a rooftop. Think again. From the minimal interaction I had with this place, I would rather get a bottle of wine and food from the nearby coop and set up home in Shoreditch Park.
The thing is with a lot of these these hipster places, they think that plopping food on a piece of grey slate is enough to make up for mediocre food and service. This is a big no. Granted, one of the waiters was OK once we got his attention, but it was a struggle to see where the sequence of service would eventually kick in.
You come in, there is no greeting, although you pass a bar with bartenders and waiting staff chatting. You make your way to grab your own table outside (with no menus on them). Having sat for a few minutes, we went in to get a menu and make ourselves known as a table that needed attention.
We started with a glass of wine which could have been a little more chilled, and a glass of water. Once we interacted with out waiter, we found him to be sweet, but does a customer have to do all of the work to get to that stage? Only one of us ate and having overdone it on meat of late, I decided to go for the veggie roast. At £12 for a plate of veg, you expect something pretty special, regardless of the fact that you are bang in the middle of the cool east (this is actually N1). A plate with a sad shrunken grilled portobello mushroom was delivered with feta cheese and a medley of red peppers and aubergines on top. On the side, there were leeks, roasted parsnips, carrots and turnip, all hardly cooked. It came with a Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and gravy. All of it was a little tasteless, even the gravy. I pity the veggie who had to eat this by choice.
I thought to myself OK, so the meat option must be better. There was a beef roast delivered nearby. It was the smallest portion of meat I had ever seen and I watched the guys struggle to manoeuvre through the fat and gristle to actually get to the meat. Wrong. This is criminal. I shudder to think what they paid for their roast. Whatever it was, it was not a steal other than being stolen from.
Having had this unsatisfactory roast experience, I walked down to the Rosemary Branch to be greeted by what a real roast should like. I felt truly upset and cheated, to see half chickens, slices of medium rare beef piled high and generally massive portions of food. Proud East is a no for a Sunday roast while you have Rosemary Branch down the road who show them up tenfold.
2 – 10 Hertford Road
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