London Grilling: Hoxton’s Long White Cloud
In their own words, LWC are ‘passionate about delicious food, quality coffee and displaying ever-changing London art.’ A small, nestled-away East London venture, they represent the vibrant and thriving culture of the surrounding area with their zest and passion for food and art.
As connoisseurs of emerging artistic talent and fine food, is East London, in your eyes, the cultural heartthrob of London?
As we see it, East London is not only the cultural heartthrob of London, it is the cultural heartthrob of the world! Much of our team have travelled from the other side of the world to be here, to participate in this mecca of artists, musicians and talented people. We consider Hackney Road a vein of talent, with the artist studios on Cremer St and The Premises Recording Studios up the road for starters. Plus we have zillions of galleries and interesting places to eat just on our doorstep. Our shared interests in art, culture and food means Hoxton and Shoreditch are a great location to be.
You guys have some pretty captivating art pieces on display. How do you find juggling a café and gallery space? Who gets to pick what goes on the walls?
To work at Long White Cloud everyone needs to be able to multi task! We all have to knuckle in to make salads, coffees, liaise with artists, hang work, run private views and have intimate knowledge of the work on display. We ensure there is lead curator for each exhibition who works alongside the artist/s and the LWC team (generally Nikki, Zuzie and Rosie) to devise the content of the exhibition. We love shows that really alter the space and how it feels!
Juggling a café and gallery space means long hours, but we love seeing our networks grow and meeting the new people involved with each exhibition. It’s a bit hectic at times – opening at 7am after a private view is hard work – but it’s so much fun, we wouldn’t change for the world.
Apart from yourselves, where would you head for the best coffee in this part of town?
We are lucky enough to have Nude Espresso very near, and we also recommend Caravan at Exmouth Market..
Tell us about a few of your favorite secret London hangouts.
The Marksman pub is where we head after work on Sunday evening for a roast. Seebright Arms is great for a burger (Try the Kevin Bacon), a pint and live music. The Nelson is great for a quiet pint, a gay bar tucked away quietly just off Columbia Road, and The Joiners Arms is where we always lead the after-party posse!
Is Long White Cloud the final product of years of dreaming or a spontaneous venture?
Nik and Zuz had been seriously harbouring a dream to open for at least 18 months before the location came up. This meant jumping in the car after work to check out potential properties and loads of racing about East London. Finally, one day Nikki looked out of the window of her Hackney Road flat – and there it was like magic – a ‘FOR LEASE’ sign right across the road. LWC was once one of the many handbag shops monopolising Hackney Road and originally was a long very thin walkway with massive shelves. Slowly and gradually, we have shaped it into the café and gallery space it is. NZ has a D.I.Y culture and that’s very much how our space has grown – gradually, in an ‘as we can, where we can’ kind of way.