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May 9, 2011


today, i’m excited to share photos from a little shoot i did at Railroad, which has become one of my favorite spots in london.

Railroad is a café/bar/small event space in hackney and i recommend it all the time to friends in london. i stopped by one recent afternoon between lunch and dinner to shoot some photos and i had a chat with co-owners lizzie parle and matt doran, who opened Railroad in september 2010. both lizzie and matt cook at Railroad, though lizzie is the head chef. (yes, her brother is the super-talented stevie parle of the dock kitchen).

i first had dinner at Railroad in january and it was a cold, cold night. lizzie was cooking this cauliflower soup with yogurt and coriander, which i ordered to start. quite simply, it blew my mind. i talked about it for weeks afterwards, telling everyone who would listen about this incredible cauliflower soup. it was so simple but so deftly prepared, and i was hooked. i tried to reproduce it at home; while my effort was okay, it wasn’t the same. as it turns out, the recipe came from the casa moro cookbook. but this is exactly why i love Railroad – there is a sense of ease in the food, it’s like you’ve gone over to your friend’s flat for dinner (and your friend is hugely talented in the kitchen).

Railroad is unpretentious, comfortable, thoughtful, and considered. it doesn’t feel like other places i’ve visited in london or new york. and it’s the kind of food i want to eat, all of the time. they use carefully-sourced ingredients for everything and it makes a big difference (good quality olive oil, in-season vegetables, square mile coffee, nice anchovies, farm-fresh eggs, rustic bread, the list goes on). there’s a small menu and they are guided by whatever is inspiring them at the moment and what is currently in season. lizzie nicely incorporates middle-eastern spices and ingredients into many dishes – it’s refreshing. the coffee is fantastic (and it’s served in beautiful cups hand made by lizzie’s mom), the sweets and pastries are excellent: i had a blood orange tart in the winter that i’m still thinking about.

and as you can see from the photos above, it’s a neat space. simple, welcoming and familiar – a true neighborhood joint. actually, the space is almost disarming … you sit down and the cookbooks that lizzie is using to prepare dinner that night sit on the table in the corner; you can smell something delicious cooking right behind the counter. you enjoy an expertly-made flat white or sip a beer from kernel brewery. there’s a little bookshop that you can browse, there might be a spoken poetry event happening in the basement later that night. and then the food is served and you think to yourself: “damn, this is tasty.” it leaves an impression (clearly) and you’re bound to return again.

Railroad is located at 120-122 Morning Lane, Hackney London (E9 6LH).

  1. May 9, 2011 3:29 pm

    man I miss London for places like this, it looks amazing, great photos.

  2. May 9, 2011 3:34 pm

    Damn this place sounds and looks amazing. Have you ever compiled a list of your favorite places in London? I’m currently compiling one for Paris. We the temporary expats have to do what we can, haha.

  3. May 9, 2011 3:39 pm

    I love this, B. Lizzie and Matt sound like my kind of people! Makes me want to hurry back to London…

  4. Christophe permalink
    May 9, 2011 4:44 pm

    So pleased that you took us here mate, only wish we could go more often.

    Really great series too…

  5. May 9, 2011 5:11 pm

    Looks like a perfect place to unwind with lunch and a coffee for a bit. And your photos are beautiful, as usual.

  6. May 9, 2011 7:00 pm

    These pictures and your words make me wanna hop on a train to London first thing tomorrow morning.

  7. marthasnail permalink
    May 9, 2011 8:11 pm

    wow. i am in love with railroad. it’s exactly the kind of place that i’d like to open here in VT.

  8. May 9, 2011 8:59 pm

    look like a great place! lovely photos.

  9. May 9, 2011 9:48 pm

    That first shot of that cup of coffee is so precious.

  10. May 9, 2011 10:58 pm

    this looks and sounds like heaven. fantastic photos!

  11. May 9, 2011 11:45 pm

    this place looks incredible. thanks for sharing.

  12. Emma permalink
    May 10, 2011 12:56 am

    I like your blog. I read it everyday.

  13. m dieudonne permalink
    May 10, 2011 1:13 am

    i’m coming to london in june so i will make sure i find this place!

    thank you for sharing


  14. Ashley Erin permalink
    May 10, 2011 3:03 am

    I love these shots! This looks like such an amazing restaurant. If I’m ever in London I will have to check it out.

  15. May 10, 2011 3:48 am

    Woah.. winners all around!

  16. May 10, 2011 4:17 am

    The photos are remarkable. You do something — instinctual or deliberate — that makes us (perhaps only me) feel as if I’m there, but not there. As if I’ve stumbled upon something quite personal to you and by accident I’ve been allowed to see it or sense it. I sound like a blithering idiot, I think, but your photos are quite apart from those of others who try too hard to be casual and end up being fussy. That’s why I’m betting instinctual. Whatever the case, they are quite special.

  17. May 10, 2011 5:27 am

    Some of the pictures look like they are taken in someone’s home – that’s how inviting it looks. Wish I could try this place!

  18. bubu permalink
    May 10, 2011 7:40 am

    love it, when you take photos of food or something connected with food(or hands and knees that are holding some glasses). feeling like a cup of coffee then.

  19. May 10, 2011 9:22 am

    that’s a very lovely place indeed. looks warm and unpretentious. :)

  20. May 10, 2011 10:01 am

    love the look of that place. Makes me want to go to london now :)

  21. May 10, 2011 10:07 am

    I’ve been meaning to visit Railroad for a while – the picture on Time Out just doesn’t do it justice at all. These are beautiful. I’m moving to just round the corner from there in a couple of months and now I’m looking forward being a local even more.

  22. May 10, 2011 11:11 am

    sounds like so lovely place to be.
    wonderful photos as always.

  23. May 10, 2011 11:24 am

    I love these pictures very much.

  24. May 10, 2011 12:43 pm

    After reading your description of the place and food I’d certainly go there if I was in London, even before seeing the photos. The photos are wonderful tough. It actually seems a very welcoming and familiar restaurant!

  25. May 10, 2011 12:46 pm

    I meant “though”. Sorry.

  26. May 10, 2011 1:35 pm

    damn you find some great places.
    if you wrote a book called “Brian Ferry’s places to eat and drink fabulous coffee in London” I’d totally buy it :)

    sadly the west side of london is lacking such interesting places (well, i haven’t found any yet anyway)!

    • Dawn permalink
      January 5, 2012 7:17 pm

      Try Taylor St Baristas in Brooks Mews – off Brook St in Mayfair behind Claridges. Also run by Aussies.

  27. May 10, 2011 1:39 pm

    another reason
    to get my butt
    to london.

  28. May 10, 2011 1:48 pm

    Wow such a fantastic description. I will be daydreaming about this place all day.

  29. sueysong permalink
    May 10, 2011 3:52 pm

    this collection of photos and words including “a spoken poetry event happening” wows me.

  30. May 10, 2011 4:41 pm

    yum, i can taste that espresso. great light!

  31. Dougal permalink
    May 10, 2011 7:11 pm

    This series of shots cheered up my otherwise lousy day. Just lovely. Thanks!

  32. May 11, 2011 12:53 am

    Wow your photos and following descriptive make this sound like an enticing spot to visit and oh how I wish I could. Great post!

  33. May 11, 2011 1:30 am

    “Railroad is unpretentious, comfortable, thoughtful, and considered” so beautiful a thing to say! so accurate!

  34. May 11, 2011 4:06 am

    The owners have put everything together beautifully. The decorations, the tables, everything. Not only that, there’s definitely a feeling that comes through your photographs, which is what I’ll always adore about your work.

    The place sounds like it’s a lovely place to just sit and eat and talk with friends, it sounds and looks very personal, something I always like about places. :)

  35. May 11, 2011 5:21 pm

    Hi Brian, Just have to say – gorgeous pictures! You make everything look so ‘romantic’ – how do you get this lovely dusty-dusk look?? Any particular camera lens you use? Or dare I say photoshop effect? As an amateur photographer I’d love to try it out!

  36. May 11, 2011 10:20 pm

    great place!
    bonne journée
    sophie *

  37. Sophie permalink
    May 12, 2011 12:00 pm

    Your photos made me want to be in that place even before I read your text…

  38. May 12, 2011 6:12 pm

    I loooove this set!

  39. May 13, 2011 1:28 pm

    I am currently on a short sabbatical from London (having lived there for 3 years) and your pictures are the best guide book I could show anyone. You really know how to bring out the best of a (sometimes) very grey city. Great work!

  40. May 16, 2011 6:49 am

    beautiful picture!! i like it.. when i first see, i think that this place is newyork..

  41. May 31, 2011 10:22 am

    Perfect place! i like the description you give to this cafe ! and of course photos, they are gorgeous!

  42. June 6, 2011 2:02 pm

    I love this place.
    Beautifully shot.
    How did you get the vintage/nostalgic tone to your pictures?

    • June 6, 2011 2:12 pm

      thanks TS. to get a ‘vintage’ tone, shoot with film! no digital here.

  43. April 28, 2013 2:09 pm

    charming photos !

  44. January 30, 2015 6:15 pm

    Your hasselblad work is so good :)


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