South Leytonstone

This guide is lovingly written by the area’s popular long-running online title Leytonstoner.

It’s fair to say that the lower part of Leytonstone High Road – south of the Overground station – rewards a little deeper exploration than some other local areas, but nonetheless tucked away are independent stores, green spaces and food-and-drink oases.

The big draw here is Singburi, the acclaimed Thai restaurant that broadsheet critics love and which Time Out recently put at #3 in their list of Top 50 restaurants for 2022. If you’re lucky enough to secure a table (they’re normally fully booked for weeks ahead) the cooking is most innovative in the chalkboard specials. And it’s BYOB, which keeps the cost far below many similar restaurants serving dishes of this quality.

It’s not the only gem along this stretch. Don’t miss acclaimed Sicilian trattoria Mora, whose menu highlights include smoked tuna carpaccio and wild boar ragu (they also do an eyewatering negroni). Then there’s the Noted Pie & Mash Shop, one of the capital’s oldest surviving institutions of its kind run by a family who have been trading in the East End for nearly a century, and in E11 since 1978. With the original recipe still used for their outstanding meaty pies, jellied eels and liquor, everything is made from scratch on the premises, while the effortlessly stylish interior is also home to Jake Green’s ongoing photographic exhibition of London’s pie and mash shops. Speaking of art, Hitchcock fans should check out the nearby huge mural inspired by The Birds above East African restaurant Exceline, as well as the blue plaque at his birthplace, now a petrol station.

If you’re in need of a hostelry in these parts there’s The Bell, with handy roadside terrace, while this year Hackney Wick-based taproom Mammoth Brewery opened up in one of the railway arches by Leytonstone High Road Overground, operating pop-up streetfood stalls at weekends. A few minutes’ stroll off the main thoroughfare is craft beer haven the Leytonstone Tavern, which serves the juiciest (and most towering) chicken thigh burgers we can recall munching.

Here you’re also a couple of minutes’ walk from scenic Jubilee Ponds on Wanstead Flats, home to hundreds of waterfowl, and, every Sunday, the vibrant Leytonstone Farmers’ Market, which takes place at Buxton School on Cann Hall Road. Next door is a popular skate park and Scandi-style Patch Café, which serves up some of the best coffee in the whole postcode.

Now walk further south still down Leytonstone High Road towards Maryland. Here you’ll pass the entrance to one of E11’s hidden treasures: Langthorne Park was built on old hospital grounds, a site once home, in the 12th century, to the Stratford-Langthorne Abbey. The park now has ornamental ponds, a lake, a quiet garden with pergola, picnic area, basketball courts and amphitheatre, where open-air performances and outdoor cinema are shown in the summer. After exploring, grab a counter seat at artisan cafe Gray, also a beautiful homewares and interiors store, or – for something a little stronger – a glass at natural wine shop, pantry and bar, Dina.