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Thursday, June 14, 2012
Film-maker and Hackney vodka heir Dan Edelstyn, who revived his family's Zorokovich 1917 spirit brand and brought it to London from the Ukraine, shares some of his favourite spots in the capital.
Seeing as you're a vodka connoisseur now, where's your favourite place to get a cocktail in London?
That's a political question; if I say one of the Zorokovich bars, the others will get upset! There are so many wonderful ones. I love the view from Paramount, at the top of Centre Point; the sense of history and liveried doorman at Rules in Covent Garden; the 1930s Art Deco atmosphere of Skylon and the east London chic of Loungelover.
But then I am leaving out important places like One Aldwych for understated elegance and Hix Soho for its hidden underground world with its sunken floor.
What's your ultimate London pub?
I'm not really a pub person to be honest, but I love The Ship in Greenwich for its view of the dirty old Thames and its pies. I'm a pastry lover, and my wife bought me a book on how to make it, but to be honest I'm more of an eater than a chef, and they do an excellent thin crust pastry.
What do you love about east London?
I love the space, the ability to get into wild places almost immediately that seem to be way outside of the city.
I love the way in this corner of town that misfits and outsiders can find a little bit of space to dream.
I love the long avenue of the Hackney Road with its semi-industrial wholesale shops and the old warehouses.
I love the fact that I have grown up here through my 20s and every street is lined with memories and around every corner a friend lives. I love Hackney Wick; outwardly such a morass of ugly industrial buildings built for purposes long ago abandoned, but inside those secret places it's teeming with life.
The canals, the footpaths, the myths. And looming over the top of it all, an international mega-event crouches at the starting blocks, waiting to hear the starting pistol.
Where would you take a tourist in London?
Columbia Road and Hackney City Farm. It's Sunday morning, the sunshine is streaming through the window. My tourist is asleep downstairs, sprawled out on the sofa uncomfortably (he's way too tall to fit on that sofa, but he has no choice). I put on the espresso maker and bang on some depressing Leonard Cohen record (maybe Bird of a Wire, which is my favourite ever depressing Leonard Cohen record). The tourist stirs. I put the coffee into his hand and my little girl and wife Hilary are ready and raring to go. We jump in the van and we're off to market. As we arrive, people are already streaming out of Columbia Road; they look like walking trees. Huge bushes luxuriate on the back seats of sports cars, having the ride of their lives while grannies clutch colourful bouquets of flowers. And then I think; this is London, this is great and I suddenly realise I’ve forgotten my wallet.
If you're not making it for tall tourists, where do you get your morning coffee?
It depends. These days I'm often walking the streets of Soho, so I might pop into the French House, or the Curzon Soho (with its Konditor and Cook) has become a favourite place.
If I'm in Victoria Park with Hilary and my little girl we usually frequent the Bagel place, which makes an unpretentious cup of builder's tea, though the coffee isn't their strong point. Nothing beats my stove-top espresso maker in the studio though; its thick black liquid usually has the effect of making me sit bolt upright and get on with some serious work.
This article was courtesy of London Living, the blog for East Village - a brand new neighbourhood in Stratford.
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