The gentrification of London’s once grimy East End continues at a pace that even jaded locals find dizzying. And however derided the term ‘hipster’ may be these days, it’s still the most apt description for the swathes of restaurants, concept shops and cafes that are popping up on, it seems, every corner.
Like the Culpeper, a late 19th-century Victorian public house on Commercial Street that a trio of enterprising creatives are turning into a three-in-one. The ground floor pub leads upstairs to a restaurant where sharing plates of stout-braised beef cheek pudding vie with black risotto and squid, and treacle tarts face off poached rhubarb and pistachio ice-cream.
Fully sated, post-prandial treats now include five new bedrooms that have been carved out of the second floor, their rough, homespun décor – courtesy of Gareth Roberts, one of the partners – featuring an appropriately deconstructed palette of distressed concrete, rescued timber planks as headboards, and textured throws by the Norwegian weavers, Mandal Veveri. A particularly nice touch is the stack of books by a neighbourhood chronicler and blogger, The Gentle Author.
Equally welcoming is the rooftop garden – a rarity in London – with its glass-sheathed conservatory, potted herbs and vegetables, views of the Gherkin, and a breakfast menu of Ginger Pig sausages and bacon, home-made granola, and Allpress juices and coffee.