Along the canals of East London, amongst the industrial warehouses and creative studios, and beyond the abundance of artistic graffiti, you'll find a hip and happening venue in Hackney Wick: Crate. Crate Brewery and Pizzeria makes up the bottom floor of a former print building, the White Building Unit, just a few minutes walk from Hackney Wick tube station. We visited Crate on a Tuesday lunchtime so the atmosphere was very relaxed with local creative types popping in to do some work or for lunch. From friends we've heard that this place is heaving on the weekend, so we'd suggest getting there a bit earlier on a Saturday if you want a seat on the canalside.
Inside Crate there is a real industrial feel - high ceilings, white walls and a lot of space with the bar centred in the middle and the pizza kitchen behind it. Crafted by local designers, Crate's interior fittings have been built with reclaimed materials from around the area - the bar is built with old railway sleepers, the exposed lighting is made from bed springs, and the eating-and-seating furniture is made from wooden pallets. The tie-dyed cushions are a great touch! There is also seating on the waterfront, which would be great for a sunny day.
With eyes bigger than our bellies and too many tempting pizzas to choose from, we decided to have a pizza each and go half-half. After reminiscing of recent Moroccan escapades, we opted for the courgette, feta, red onion and gremolata pizza and the Middle Eastern lamb pizza with spinach and pine nuts. Delivered on a wooden chopping board, these stone-baked oven pizzas were enormous. The quantity matched the quality - as the pizzas were perfectly thin, and each unleashed a taste of Morocco and a volcano of molten cheese, with a rich nutty flavour to the lamb one and lashings of intense zestiness from the veggie one. And of course, crispy crusts - a must-have for any self-respecting pizzeria! Crate is also a microbrewery serving its own IPA, lager, pale ale, stout and cider. We each had a pint of cider and were left feeling deliciously refreshed and slightly wavy for our bike ride home.
7, The White Building, Queen's Yard, London E9 5EN