Proud East, Haggerston, London – Restaurant Review
Proud East, Haggerston, London
by Jen Grimble
Haggerston-based cocktail bar Proud East is famous for its riverside location, its elaborate themed events and its “every-man” attitude. Last year the venue gave residency to The House of Peroni for the ultimate Italian experience. Picture a bar afloat on the river, pasta-making and décor styled by Margherita Missoni. The idea was to create an eclectic space with something to engage every visitor. After the huge success of ‘For the Love of Italy’, Proud East turns its attentions to the Asia Pacific. ‘Pop-Up Japan’ opens its doors to offer a taste of both historic and modern Japanese culture, on the banks of the Regent’s Canal.
Proud East sits on Hertford Road, a narrow tow path that runs alongside the water, in the heart of trendy East London. The interior of this warehouse conversion is a fusion between a 17th century coffeehouse and contemporary bachelor pad. Sliding glass doors make for a spacious, light interior with high ceilings, glass, metal and wood. An outdoor terrace is the perfect spot for an afternoon drink or brunch by the water, and the open-plan set-up gives the illusion of space.
“Transports you to a different corner of Tokyo”
For ‘Pop-Up Japan’, the industrial interior of Proud East is transformed into a Japanese garden. Giant flowers encase the stairs and paper lanterns hang from the ceiling inside and out. Each section of the building transports you to a different corner of Tokyo. On one side of the room is a DJ’s mixing desk and ping pong tables. On the other, a quiet terrace and a floor of retro arcade games.
A long, tiled bar sits in the centre of the room, with an open kitchen to the right. For the duration of ‘Pop-Up Japan’, popular London restaurant Tonkotsu takes over the hobs, to churn out their authentic Japanese cuisine. Serving a taste of Tokyo every day from 12pm until 10pm, the menu features everything from Tonkotsu’s legendary homemade Ramen (from £10) to Gyoza (£5.75), Katsu (£6.95) and Kara-Age (£6).
Yet there’s more than just food at this Pop-Up. From Sunday 9th April the Nomad Cinema, crowned London’s best outdoor theatre by the Evening Standard, takes control of the Proud East’s terrace. It shows everything from Battle Royale to Lost in Translation (Sunday -Wednesday at 8pm). In origami classes by Alice Sushi Art, you can create your own paper flowers (Saturday and Sunday at 11am) and sushi making, held by Sozai Cooking School, will give you a taste of culinary Japan, every weekend at 2pm and 4pm.
“The sights, sounds and smells of Osaka’s street bazaars”
Whatever you’re looking for from a day or night in London, Proud East’s latest venture could engage even the most jaded bar-hopper. Pop-Up Japan is by far Proud East’s more elaborate, thoughtful project to date. The bar-come-dining room excels in mixing the age-old traditions of the east, with the modern cultural quirks of Japan, bringing the sights, sounds and smells of Osaka’s street bazaars to the banks of the Regent’s Canal. Who needs to travel when we can find a slice of Japan on our door step?
Proud East, 2-10 Hertford Road, London, N1 5ET
020 7647 6712
Mon-Friday: 10 – 22:30
Saturday: 10 – 22:30
Sunday: 10 – 21:45
Pop-Up Japan is open from Friday 7th April for 12 weeks, Monday to Friday from midday until 10.30pm, Saturday from 10am until 10.30pm and Sunday 10am until 9.45pm. Proud East is open for live music, high-tea, brunch and wine-tasting Thursday to Saturday from 10am until 22.30pm and Sundays from 10am until 9.45pm.