Victoria Park Village is the nickname for the area just north of Victoria Park, where there is a selection of independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. It is tree-lined and spacious, with a relaxed European atmosphere and only a short distance from Mile End.
There are some great bars and pubs for every kind of mood. The Royal Inn On The Park is a great spot, on the boundary between the park and the ‘village’. It has a huge beer garden with a view of the park and a large selection of premium spirits and ales. They have a pub quiz on a Tuesday night that is always fun. The Lauriston is a busy bar, often with a DJ or live music playing. The long, wooden tables and stools give it a very social and friendly atmosphere. They do great pizzas during the day, and the drinks aren’t too pricey.
In terms of food, The Empress has long been considered a star amongst East London eateries. Although a Michelin-starred chef might not shout ‘student hang out’ to you, this place is local to Queen Mary, and has meal offers that make it affordable to even the stingiest of budgets.
On Mondays they offer a choice of 2 main courses and a drink for £10, not bad when you consider the quality of food you are getting. They pride themselves on only using locally sourced ingredients. The Monday menu is different than the standard menu, and is subject to change week to week. The food was fantastic; I went for ham hock terrine and deep fried polenta balls. They were both delicious, and the quality of the ingredients was evident. The desserts were fantastic, even to a sweet-hater like me.
Chambers is right next door and offers a great selection of Mediterranean food for a reasonable price. The staff are wonderfully friendly and the food is delicious, definitely worth a visit. There is an outside seating area on the main path, perfect for people-watching the yummy mummies and hipsters of E9.
Victoria Park Village has a relaxed atmosphere, which is ideal for a balmy summer evening adventure. Go on, have a wander, stop for a drink, and see where you end up.