Another fine year for South Hackney, aka Victoria Park Village. Family-friendly cafes are doing well, with several more opening in the past year. Elbows continues to be a favourite, but recent addition Amandine is nice as well, joining Loafing and the latest, Tipico. Plenty of coffee yet not a chain in sight. Good! The butcher (Ginger Pig) and fishmonger (Jonathan Norris) are doing well, and The Deli Downstairs is doing great business at its location on the roundabout. I still consider it the "new" location for the deli but I guess it's been there a while now. Bottle Apostle continues to win accolades and custom. I suspect it's drawing folks in from a broader area than the local Hackney and Tower Hamlets neighbourhoods, deservedly so. SpitJack's continues as a favourite of the restaurants. We keep going back. If anything, it's gotten better -- e.g. the hamburgers have been cooked just as requested recently (I nearly weep with joy when I find a restaurant that doesn't overcook hamburgers). The Fish House continues a strong run. The Empress of India has changed hands and has dropped "of India". I've not yet been in this incarnation but Timeout reviewed it favourably. Su Sazzagoni also looks to be going well, but Chilliz restaurant, in between the Empress and Su Sazzagoni but open for years prior to each, has gone out of business and its replacement, Chambers, has just opened. Standard Tandoori, across the street, is our go-to curry vendor, and will hopefully continue its long residence.
Pub-wise, Lauriston holds steady as a firm local favourite and the Royal Inn on the Park has revamped its garden a bit. A ways along the north side of the park, The Brittania to the east continues its apparent mission to be all things to everyone while to the west the pub on the corner of Skipworth Road has changed yet again. Must be a cursed spot. Looks nice but I've not yet stopped in. South through the middle of the park, good to see The Crown keeping pace (nice pub, good food, the people at Geronimo Inns seem to know what they're doing), after the site hosted a well-intentioned but poorly executed organic gastropub followed by a doomed tapas restaurant.
Sad news up on Well Street: Izzy bid farewell to the kebab business, leaving by choice at the end of summer. Sadly, Izzy's has been replaced by a "we buy gold" shop. We are still well-covered for kebabs on Well Street, though, panic averted.