Hackney City Farm, Hackney
1a Goldsmith's Row
020 7729 6381
by Dr Sigmund Fried
After succesfully negotiating our way through the jazz dad-with-pram/bicycle-infested assault course that is London Fields, our afternoon breakfasting party finally made it to its destination. "Do you like farm animals? They let you choose your own pig and then kill it and cook it right in front of you," was how one mendacious and pork-obsessed friend tried to sell the idea of brekking at Hackney City Farm. But he needn't have gone to the trouble of trying to lure me in with such Fearnley Whittingstall-esque dreams. He already had me at "farm animals".
Once in, any fears about whether it would be overrun with 30-something men drinking lattés and discussing the relative merits of Wynton Marsalis were soon allayed: it was actually pleasingly unpretentious with friendly staff and an interior that I can only describe as 'scout hut chic'.
After finding a table in a lovely heated and covered outdoors bit with sawdust on the floor, we ordered at the counter. Having all of us built up a no-breakfast/beer-on-an-empty-stomach appetite, none of us were ever going to go off-piste, menu-wise: too risky. No, all we wanted was a traditional, honest and well cooked fried breakfast, and that indeed is what we got: not by any means gourmet, but certainly a cut above your average greasy spooner, and reasonably priced at £5.50.
Add to that a quaint farmyard (which we spent a good twenty minutes wandering around) at the back of the building with, among other things, pigs (massive), rabbits (furry) and geese (kept my distance), I'm pretty sure a better way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon in Hackney is hard to find.