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London is not lacking in riverside pubs, from the windswept old pirates’ haunts of the East End to the handsome havens that dot the more placid Thames upstream of Chelsea. But the founders of Barge East have definitely gone the extra mile. As the name suggests, Barge East sits on the banks of the River Lee in Hackney Wick and offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

It’s the brainchild of Stuart ‘Tommo’ Thompson, whose other projects, Hot Tub Boat and BBQ Boat, have forever changed another district: Canary Wharf. Now it’s time for Tommo to leave his footprint in North East London.

Welcome aboard

The restaurant is housed on a historic Dutch barge that dates back to 1906. The boat has been lovingly transformed into a trendy restaurant attracting many neighbourhood residents who have moved into Hackney’s heavily gentrified luxury developments in recent years. So expect a lot of young professionals and hipsters from the creative class.

As you step aboard, you are greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere, enhanced by stunning waterfront views. On a warm summer’s evening at sunset, there are few places more magical. During winter it would be so cosy with dim lighting, log fires and guests are provided with complimentary blankets, gloves and hottie botties (hot water bottles).

Rustic charm & modern elegance

The restaurant is divided into various seating areas. You can dine below deck, away from the city’s hustle and bustle, surrounded by portholes. The slightly rugged setting adds to the charm and enhances the rustic ambiance of the experience. The toilets are quirky with steampunk-style sinks in front of what used to be the boat’s engine.

Alternatively, there is on-deck seating with views of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium, including the canopy-covered ‘Middle Deck’ and the more secluded ‘Captain’s Cabin’. Either way you will have a nice and memorable time. Modern London is all about old-meets-new energy, and what better spot to take in the vibes and the views of such a vibrant and distinctive part of the city than this waterfront spot?

Make a splash

The menu features seasonal classic British dishes. Our favourites among the starters were the cured Loch Duart salmon with beetroot gel, squid ink cracker, and Cornish crab sando with crab mayo and fermented apple. The highlights for mains include fresh seafood options, hearty meat dishes, and a variety of vegetarian delights, ensuring there is something to please every palate.

For the traditional Sunday roast, Barge East delivers a confidently simple selection: Ethical butcher Aberdeen Angus beef rump with horseradish sauce, Norfolk marshland lamb leg with mint sauce, Suffolk Red Bruntona pork belly with burnt apple sauce or Trio of Roasts with a selection of sauces. All served with duck fat roast potatoes, honey roasted miso carrots, seasonal greens, and Yorkshire pudding.

Since Barge East is located just a 15-minute walk or 7-minute taxi ride from the ABBA Voyage Arena, there is a 2-course ABBA Voyage pre-theatre menu available. Whatever option you pick finish your meal with the warm apple tarte – it’s absolutely delicious!

Barge East gardens

All the ingredients are sourced locally, especially the herbs which are extremely local – grown meters away in the nearby Barge East Gardens. There’s lots of outdoor space with plenty of seating, a bar, terrace and photo booth.

Speaking of bars, there’s even another outdoor area with bar, food and beer garden – so it’s a lot more than just the boat restaurant. Barge East works closely with East London breweries and drink suppliers, to provide guests with the choice of wines, bubbles, cocktails, and beers.

Barge East is located at River Lee, Sweetwater Mooring, White Post Ln, E9 5EN. More information can be found here.


Image credits: © Barge East, Travel with Style