Railway Arches, 159-161 Malcolm Pl, Bethnal Green, London E2 0EU www.atthearches.co.uk/ and 640east.co.uk/
Situated in South Bethnal Green underneath 6 Victorian railway arches is The Arches which houses three new venues – 640East, Taproom by Bethnal Green and Drop Yard.
Out of these three, we paid a visit to 640East – which is situated in a railway arch that used to be a carwash.
Let’s be honest, it’s very ‘East London’ to turn an old car wash into a bar and decorate it with neon lights, mirrored walls, raw brickwork and original carwash installations – including having to walk through part of a carwash to go from one room to the next.
Heading to the back of the restaurant and out the door, you find a really nice little courtyard with patio tables, outside sofas, fairy lights, hanging plants and, naturally, jianga. In this space alone, you really could be in a courtyard anywhere in London.
The best way to sum up 640East is that if you heard about it from a friend, you would most likely roll your eyes and think it’s just another East London hipster joint, that it won’t really work, and that it’s probably not for you. But, oddly, it doe work.
To pay homage to the former carwash, 640East has launched its new Bubbles menu. However, rather than the soapy kind, this menu showcases the very best bubbly you can find from France, Italy, Canada, Australia and the UK, including everything from fresh prosecco to crisp cava to classic champagne.
With an extensive selection to choose from, including an unexpectedly good red option, there really is a fizz for every palate.
The Bubbles menu is available daily, with a special “Sparkling of the Month” and happy hours on Wednesday-Thursday from 5pm-7pm and Friday-Sunday from 1pm - 3pm.
However, it’s not all about the fizz here at 640East – the team are also opening their kitchen to local chefs and popups, in order to run different supper clubs.
When we went along, there was a Sparkling Spanish supper club being hosted, which was comprised of three courses of tasty Spanish food, paired with complementary sparkling wines.
Dishes to choose from included a fabulous spread of carne selecta with dry-aged serrano ham, and chorizos. These, naturally, went hand-in-hand with the quesa selecta – classic Spanish Manchego cheese paired with sweet and sharp membrillo (also known to you and me as quince jelly).
Alongside this was an array of simple but Spanish favourites, such as a vibrant paella with saffron and simply cooked with aubergine, peppers, green beans and artichokes, and traditional tortilla.
The patatas bravas, a normal favourite of mine, lacked the heat and fire that you expect. But, other than that, it was very enjoyable and good food to share with friends over a glass of bubbly or two.
640East is always looking for new people to partner with to continue to bring exciting food and innovation to its site.
Its supper club partnership with the Modest Merchant is set to run on the last Thursday of every month – more information on this is available here: