Brunswick East sounds like a place you might of heard of in Melbourne—but it is in London, I assure you. Located hidden away in a courtyard of studio spaces, encompassing music studios, creative spaces, a yoga studio, and a Hawaiian restaurant, this Aussie-run space brings a definite local vibe back to the heart of over-hip Dalston. Run by two sisters, Natasha Bacon and Shaunae England, the space facilitates an independent artist bookshop, The Exchange, as well as playing host to community events, exhibitions, workshops, and supper clubs.
As London is becoming more health conscious, the menu offers a variety of healthy options. The coffee comes from Alchemy Coffee in Southwest London and there is always a different batch brew happening for black coffee drinkers. There are fresh juices, vegan-friendly smoothies, ginger shots, and matcha. The food menu comprises of brunch staples such as fritters and a variety of avocado on toast, my favorite being the Vegan Dreaming, to which I might cheekily recommend adding the non-vegan option of eggs. Cakes are baked daily in-house and bread gets delivered from a shipping container bakery The Dusty Knuckle two streets away.
Last November, Brunswick East hosted a pop-up BIB Natural Wine Taproom which has now taken on a somewhat longer residency, happening every Wednesday to Saturday till the end of October, bringing along with it its own evening service and a variety of European natural wines. Kirsty Tinkler and Harry Kaufman met while working at Great Queen Street Restaurant in Covent Garden several years ago. Tinkler started a small wine club called Weino to support her addiction. Over that time, she noticed a few Bag-In-Box wines sneaking into London’s natural wine scene and decided to investigate and take it further, creating BIB. Meanwhile, Kaufman was honing in his skills at Lyle’s in Shoreditch and Rubedo in Stoke Newington. When Tinkler was looking for a chef to come for this longer residency, a new business partnership was formed.
The menu consists of small sharing plates consisting from seasonal ingredients, and the wines come from small European producers. There’s always something new to try, and every so often they offer an off-license night, where one can take home bottles of their favorite wines. The overall effect is a natural fit; these kinds of conscious wines feel right at home in the Brunswick East cafe space.
It’s no secret that coffee and wine are facilitators for collaboration. Here in rent-mad and wildly expensive London, collabs like this one are becoming more and more common. Working with like-minded, ethically similar small business makes perfect sense. This is a trend I see on the grow, and if the Dalston locals who’ve taken up Brunswick East as their favorite haunt have any say, it won’t be slowing anytime soon.