Sometimes you might get the impression that there's only hipster stuff to do in Hackney; that if a place doesn't have some industrial décor or a review from Time Out, it doesn't exist. This afternoon I took my visiting mum through Clapton, headed towards to the Pacific Social Club on Clarence Road, but stopped instead at Finger Licking, a Caribbean take-away just up the road at Number 40.
We were nosing in the window and were beckoned in by the owner, saying "come in, you can't see anything from out there". She showed us the curried goat she'd made that morning and we were sold. It's mostly a take away, but there are a few tables through the back and they were very encouraging of us to come in out the cold and sit down.
The goat was delicious, amazingly tender and aromatic, and came with good rice and peas and sweet steamed vegetables. I added a bit of homemade hot sauce, which packed a punch. Apply with caution.
We also tried the peanut punch - a carton of smooth, sweet peanut milkshake. I love this kind of stuff and remember having some on a childhood holiday in Barbados. I asked the owner where I could get hold of more, and she sold us a stash for my mum to take back up to Scotland.
For a mere £6, this may be the best value lunch in Hackney (it's 8pm as I type this and I'm still full!). And sure it's not the snazziest surrounds, but it's lovely warm hosting you'll get.
Do you have any favourite haunts in Hackney/north east London generally for getting whisked away to another world, authentically and affordably? I'd love to hear them.