Whether you agree with The Guardian’s assessment of Chatsworth Road as the ‘frontline of Hackney’s gentrification’ or find it to be grossly unfair, glib labeling, misleading and unhelpful, one thing is clear: there are fewer greater manifestations of the change in the atmosphere of the borough in general than the continental influence on our cafés and eateries. Even Hackney Hive created a caricatural impression in a piece written last year about Claptons gentrification.
One of those such eateries is Creperie du Monde, bringing the most popular of French street foods to the streets of East London since 2010. Now is just about the ideal time to hit The Creperie, as it is called locally. Reclining, during what looks set to be our balmy week of summer, on one of the quaint, school-house style chairs that are each labelled as a different world destination outside, balancing iced coffee and crepe on rickety wooden table positioned precariously on uneven pavement and watching passers by or chatting with friends, you really can almost believe that European café culture has come to Hackney.
The Creperie’s menu is diverse enough within a framework. You can select from a list of fourteen different savoury crepes and fifteen sweet. Savouries range from decadently rich (Brunch Favourite and the 3 Fromage) to the exotic (Oriental Fusion or Asian Delight) to the healthy but tasty (Mediterranean, with salad and hummus inside). Particular highlights on the sweet side include The New York Crunch (Biscuit, nuts, cream and butterscotch) and the creative Alps (with chestnut puree, cream and custard). In the all important finishing department, the coffees are executed masterfully, with a particular frothy and whimsical iced coffee should the warmth continue and a child and inner-child friendly selection of milkshakes served in nostalgic, milk-man jug style bottles with a dash of syrup running playfully down the inside.
The atmosphere is also immensely comfortable and welcoming at Creperie du Monde, with comfortable recliners and sofas, blackboard walls illustrating the menu, reclaimed wood-chic counter tops and bars, friendly staff and vintage jazz gently drifting off the MP3 player.
Alas, our cosy French café is not without its drawbacks. Visitors ought to be fans of slow food movement; efficiency is not The Creperie’s forte. On busy days, waiting times for food have been rumoured to inch up to 45 minutes. For crepes. And though its pretty reasonable if you’re just in the mood for a crepe with some tap water on the side, venture towards any of the virtuously revitalising freshly squeezed juices or indeed the coffees the sweet crepes or the milkshakes, and the prices start to add up to a very gentrified bill.
However, if you are willing to spend or strong-willed enough to limit yourself, or really just hankering for a nice lunch or a decent coffee and somewhere to sit and while away the afternoon hours with a good book or some diverting conversation, Creperie du Monde is the place to do it, whether part of the new Hackney pop-up aristocracy or not.
Creperie du Monde is located on 51 Chatsworth Road near to Homerton Station and the 242 route. It is open from 8.00-20.00 Mon-Wed, 8.00-21.00 Thurs-Fri, 8.00-22.00 on Sat and 9.00-19.00 on Sunday.