Wanstead Magazine Club’s new frontier

The Wanstead Magazine Club – which recycles interesting magazines in public places in Wanstead for the benefit of anyone who’s interested – is from today available in a third venue, Provender.

The club has also been offering a wider range of magazines, including the clearly highbrow (Prospect, New Yorker and London Review of Books), and more populist (Vanity Fair and Wired). Anyone with copies of Elle Decoration, GQ, National Geographic, Good Food, Which or the Beano out there? We think you might, if you examine your conscience, find a small voice telling you that you really ought to share your riches with your Wanstead fellows. Find out more at the Wanstead Magazine Club.

And in the meantime, what better way to make the most of the Farmers’ Market than enjoying a latte and pain aux raisins at the Larder or a spot of petit dejeuner at Provender in the company of some fine reading material.

Wanstead news roundup: A bumper summer edition, including a new Larder, new jobs, and some hedgehogs

• Plans for a homeless hostel on Cambridge Park were approved by the Redbridge Planning Committee. More than 150 Wanstead residents had opposed the plan. Voting on the committee was split, but the plan went through on the chair’s casting vote. Opponent Mick Goodenough told Wansteadium legal advice was being taken with a view to mounting a judicial review  indicated a judicial review of the decision was unlikely to succeed.
• Litter bins on Christchurch Green are too small for the amount of litter, the Wanstead Society has told Redbridge Council. That, or foxes, or something else,  might be the reason for the regular sight of overflowing litter, though tweeter Paddy Fantastic (below) has other thoughts. The council says it will replace the bins, when the current ones wear out.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/PaddyFantastic/status/102973321167118336″]

• Welcome to the Larder Mark III. After opening a new branch in Bethnal Green, Wanstead’s favourite is also taking over the Butlers’ Retreat tea rooms in Chingford Plain. The Larder is turning into a Wanstead success story.
• Speaking of which, Little Bears nursery on The Green has announced a pretty big expansion. From having places for 35 children, it is growing by adding a further 90 places, and is creating 20 new jobs.
• They are not the only things growing. The ArcelorMittal Orbit (also known as that weird red sculpture next to the Olympic stadium) is now about a third of the way through its construction. When it reaches its full height, it will disrupt the Freeview signal to houses on Hermon Hill.
• Wanstead is gearing up for the second Wanstead Art Trail, which runs from 11 September. The event’s new website is taking shape too; it’s here.
• Where Wansteadium goes today, the Sunday Times will go tomorrow. After our efforts to prove – despite apparent odds – that hedgehogs still roamed through Wanstead gardens, the paper reported this week that:

Hedgehogs could be wiped out in Britain within 15 years, a study has warned. They are on a list of the 10 indigenous species suffering the biggest decline in numbers in recent decades, along with the cuckoo, left, turtle dove, brown hare and Scottish wildcat. According to the Eden Species Report, which measures native species’ populations and rates of decline, there are about 1m hedgehogs left in the UK — a decline of about 25% over the past 10 years. In some parts of Britain the fall could be as high as 50%. With populations becoming more isolated as a result of the decrease in numbers, naturalists fear that the species will struggle to maintain a sufficiently large gene pool to sustain a healthy and viable population.

• There’s a full calendar of events in Wanstead here. You can submit your events at events@wansteadium.com
• Wansteadium’s fledgling free classifieds advert service, which allows you to sell your unwanted items to other Wanstead residents, can be found here.

Review: The Larder in Bethnal Green. (Yes. Bethnal Green.)

Wansteadium’s food blogger Suki Orange writes:

The first McDonalds opened in San Bernardino, California. The first Starbucks opened in  Western Avenue, Seattle. The first Larder opened in Wanstead High Street, London. All three – worlds apart in their styles – are now known the world over.

Well… a humble Wanstead loyalist can dream can’t she?  But all big chains start somewhere, then expand in due course to a second shop. The second Larder opened yesterday, Sunday, in Globe Road, Bethnal Green, in much larger, more ambitious premises than Wanstead allows. It’s near to the Museum of Childhood, and is in more grungy, even artistic quarters than E11. But the style, decor and atmosphere will be familiar to Wansteadium regulars.

Proprietor James and co have taken the opportunity not simply to give the capital another coffee shop, but are instead using the larger kitchen facilities to experiment with providing something more creative for lunch or for weekend grazing.

The menu offers ten options, all vegetarian and even vegan.  Ordering is easy and done at the counter with waitress service to your table.  Us grown-ups had pesto paneer with a squash and feta salad – yummy pesto and fresh herby flavoured salad; polenta chips with smokey beans and a fried duck egg – perfectly crispy polenta and beans (not just the haricot variety), tho tasty could handle a bit more smoke.  Children had a veggie fry up with mushrooms, potato cake, tomatoes and egg and the ubiquitous pizza (same as those available in Wanstead).  Food, overall was good but I think we all agreed they could be a bit more adventurous on the seasoning.  And to drink, cafe latte (perfect temperature and strength) and fresh Cherwell Valley apple juice.

For those not dining, there is a visual feast in the form of cakes and pastries.  From cup cakes with large slivers of chocolate stabbing the sugary icing to rich dark chocolate brownies dusted lightly with icing sugar.  There is even Lemon and Poppy seed Polenta cake for the less sugar-hungry.

And then to the offerings more associated with the name, The Larder offers some storecupboard essentials such as olive oil, granola, museli, chutneys and jams and a variety of teas, even some tomato sauce, none of which are high street brands making the invitation to buy more seductive.

So in many ways it’s the same Larder but its target market is very different.  The layout feels it could offer different things to the 20-something trendy designer/artist/writer crowd – a bar and stool area which offers a quick stop for espresso and croissant; a table and chairs area for a more dedicated eating occasion and a breakout area for a relaxing peppermint tea with slice of Calfoutis.

The extra space, including a secluded sunbaked patio and herb garden, takes away one of the biggest frustrations with the Wanstead shop – that you never know if you’ll be able to get a seat. (As for the other – that it’s so busy, the service is rarely snappy – it’s too soon to say since the waiting staff seemed to be getting to grips with which table was which number.)

I hope it’s a success. Bbut at the back of my mind I’ll be hoping it’s not SO successful that the original becomes the dispensable.


Review: The Larder’s ginger beer

Wansteadium’s new food blogger, Suki Orange, writes:

It’s a great thing for Wanstead to have a deli/coffee shop the quality of the Larder. So like me, most E11 foodies will naturally feel obliged to support any of its enterprising ventures, cost permitting. So new on the scene, then, is Christmas Ginger Beer from The Larder (and if you don’t believe me, check out the label).

Brewed by Essex-based Pitfield Brewery, it’s organic, and though costing £3.50 a bottle will nevertheless appeal to lots of people who might want to turn up to a Christmas party bearing something more refined than a Seven-11 four-pack.

But designated drivers taking it along expecting it to provide them with some harmless fizzy pop – or worse, anyone buying it as an innocent pleasure for tweenagers – will be in a for a surprise if they fail to read the label. It’s not so much ginger beer in the Enid Blyton sense as ginger-flavoured ale; 5.0% abv. Oh yes, this ginger beer certainly has bite.

But just as it’s no ginger beer, it’s certainly no alcopop either. This is not sweet, not fizzy, and only mildly gingery. In fact for some reason ginger doesn’t actually appear as an ingredient (it’s just water, barley, hops and yeast). The label describes the taste as being “initially malty followed by a ginger finish”, but my taste buds, half expecting the rich, sweet, hit of childhood ginger beer, found it a bit hard to hide their disappointment. Will hardened ale folk think it too much a novelty? And will non ale-folk be expecting ale?

Wanstead news roundup, 28.03.10; Potholes, The Larder, Knock Down Ginger

Road safety plans costing £165,000 have been agreed for New Wanstead, which has an accident rate 30% higher than other equivalent roads in Redbridge. The plans will include a new pedestrian island, new lighting and a new road surface. Details at Wanstead Guardian.

Pot Idol update: Redbridge Council has allocated £250,000 to repair more than 8,000 potholes across the borough. (See more Pot Idol here)

The Larder, the Orange Tree and the Wanstead Leisure Centre have all been nominated for the Smooth Radio Love London Awards.

It’s back to business for children’s boutique Knock Down Ginger, which featured in the News of the World after a visit by bailiffs.

Wanstead news roundup, 5.03.10; The Larder, the bookies and more on Susan Boyle’s cat

The Larder has been ranked by the Independent as the 12th best coffee shop in the country.

A licensed café and very tempting deli, the owners of the World’s Larder work with small, artisan producers for everything from their delicious coffee to their daily bread (delivered each morning from French bakery Boulangerie Jade). Alan calls it a ‘great little star in the east and brilliant all-rounder’.

(Well spotted, I Heart Wanstead.)
Meanwhile bookies Jenningsbet, which became the High Street’s third bookmakers when it opened in the former Woolwich Building Society office, has ceased trading at Wanstead.
A sign on the shutters refers customers to its branches elsewhere. Jenningsbet was the subject of a Wanstead Society campaign when it opened with an illuminated sign; planning permission was later refused for it. One tweeter believes it’s going to become a cafe.

Much to-ing and fro-ing in Labour party circles has resulted in former MP and union official John Cryer being selected as the candidate to follow Harry Cohen as Leyton and Wanstead MP. TV historian Tristram Hunt was one of the losing hopefuls.

And Wanstead’s most notorious feline resident, Pebbles, better known as Susan Boyle’s cat, seems to be on her way west. The Sun has reported that SuBo is leaving Lothian to buy a flat in Chelsea, meaning cat and owner can be reunited.