A few days ago I was traveling home from work on the marsh flyer, or the Chingford train to use its proper name. I was sitting next to a chap called Mark who was talking very loudly to his mate on the phone. By all accounts Mark and Danny boy were going down the boozer that night, Mark wasn’t sure what time they were meeting the lads and none of the other bleeping bleeps would answer their bleeping phones. As they started to discuss which kebab shop they’d go to after the pub, I realised I was paying far too much attention to their conversation and sought a distraction. I had a flick through facebook and liked a few random pictures of babies and weddings, then flipped to twitter to see what was happening. The app fired up and right at the top of my time line was something I couldn’t avoid, a tweet promising an evening of pizza, beer and cheese. I’ll say that again in case you missed it, an evening of pizza, beer and cheese. This was clearly something not to be missed so I opened up the photo attached to the tweet to find out more. The magical date of this coming together of three of my favorite things was Friday 24th October, the place was Blackhorse Workshop. The event looked to the mother of all pop ups featuring the East London Cheese Board, E17 Tap Rooms, Left Bank Brewery and the Fermentarium. I immediately lost interest in Marks conversation and spent the rest of the journey day dreaming about cheese and beer.
Friday night after work the three of us jumped on board the 158 on Markhouse Road and made our way towards Blackhorse Workshop. The dog had a judgmental look on his face that said You’re going to the pub again aren’t you. He looked a little bit confused when he realised we weren’t going to the Chequers, but he trotted along happily as we headed up Sutherland Path, only stopping briefly to check for chicken bones. As we reached the gates of the workshop we saw a blackboard that proudly proclaimed CHEESE, BEER & PIZZA EVENING HERE, yes I thought, this is where I am meant to be. The workshop looked pretty impressive in the dark, its large front doors surrounded by bulbs and light poring out of the upstairs window. In the yard out front was a wood fired pizza oven being manned by the Fermentarium, and inside the space that is usually occupied by Wood Street Coffee was the East London Cheese Board, the Tap Room and Left Bank Brewery. We headed straight to the bar, ordered a couple of pints of pale then grabbed a bench outside and salivated as we watched the pizzas being made.
The smell of pizzas cooking in the wood fired pizza oven proved to much to resist and we ordered a blue cheese pizza. It was bought over to us on a proper plate and served with a healthy helping of chutney. You will note there is no photo of the pizza, it didn’t last long enough for me to take a picture, we pretty much inhaled it as soon as it arrived. The Fermentarium, who were also selling their home baked bread are based at Blackhorse Workshop. They say they are a base for experimentation in fermentation and honestly speaking, if their pizzas are anything to go by, their experiments seem to be working. I could happily have eaten one of each of the pizzas on their menu, well I could have tried at least. After the pizza we got a plate of cheese from Walthamstow’s very own East London Cheese Board and another couple of pints. We spent the rest of the evening sitting under the eaves in front of the workshop door surrounded by the smell of wood burning in the pizza oven and watching the rain catch the light as it fell in front of us.
I admit that any evening that involves beer, pizza and cheese is my kind of heaven. But what made Friday evening even better was that every organisation involved is local. Left Bank Brewery, so named because they are based on the left bank of the River Lea, are also based at Blackhorse Workshop with the Fermentarium, which makes the workshop more exciting than it already was. And of course, E17 tap rooms and East London Cheese are both based in Walthamstow. Collaborations like this are good for the businesses and projects involved, and great for those of us living here, it was good to see so many people out on a rainy Friday night supporting the event. I’m looking forward to seeing what else pops up at Blackhorse Workshop, and seeing how the Fermentarium and these other new projects grow. For more info on any of these organisations click the links below.