A floating bar and kitchen in east London has just added another prestigious award to its roster.
Barge East in Hackney Wick is the 2021 winner of the Newcomer Award in the Catey Awards, a UK awards ceremony for the hospitality industry.
Often considered the restaurant equivalent of the Oscars, the awards are nominated, selected and awarded by the industry via The Caterer, a business magazine for hospitality professionals.
A statement on the publication’s website reads: “The Newcomer Award is open to all people in the industry who have taken a risk and seized an opportunity and made a name for themselves.”
Other contenders for the 2021 Newcomer Award were London restaurant Wildflower, based in Camden, and Hide and Fox, in Kent.
(Image: Tripadvisor )
However, this award is in fact one of several that the 118-year-old Dutch boat, called ‘De Hoop’ (or ‘The Hope’ in English), has claimed in recent years.
Despite only opening its doors in 2018, the unique venue has already taken home Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice awards in 2020 and 2021.
It was also rated London’s number one restaurant for 2019 to 2020 by the well-known travel company – and it’s not hard to see why.
Currently moored at Sweetwater, on the River Lee, the quirky east London food and drink hotspot offers a seasonal British set menu, as well as coffee, cocktails, beer and cider.
Expect ‘small’ dishes like set pea ‘custard’ with pea, purple spring onion salad and rhubarb granita, and ‘sweet’ offerings such as celery leaf parfait with lemon verbena jelly.
For ‘big’ dishes there’s options including seared pork neck with apricot, tropea onion, chard and jus, as well as spiced aubergine, macadamia sauce, Nasturtium pesto and roasted carrot.
Sides such as fried baby potatoes with black garlic and leeks, lovage and pork crackling are also available for an additional cost.
Guests who wish to dine onboard can choose from the ambient lower deck, rustic chic main dining room and charming Captain’s Cabin, as well as a number of spots on the outdoor deck, overlooking the river.
As of 2020, the floating restaurant and bar now includes the ‘Barge East Gardens’, a pretty spot established on the land adjacent to the barge and decked out with fairy lights.
One of the largest outdoor dining spaces in London, Barge East’s gardens give guests the change to eat, drink and socialise amongst the organic produce grown for their meals, while enjoying spectacular views of the city skyline.
Unsurprisingly, the quirky riverside venue boasts five stars overall on Tripadvisor, scoring five out of five for food, service and value.
One recent reviewer commented : “Absolutely amazing experience.
“The food was fantastic for all three courses.
“I would literally recommend here to anyone local or visiting.”
(Image: Tripadvisor )
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Another user added : “Food was delicious, we were sat by the pass and could see the care and attention taken by the chef, that translated to beautiful tasty dishes.
“Freya looked after us all night, and the venue itself is something special.
“We had a fabulous night, I would highly recommend.”
Speaking about the recent Cateys win on their Facebook page, the Barge East team said: “Won by the likes of prestigious names in the Hospitality industry and the equivalent of the restaurant world Oscars, this is a surreal and pinch us moment that falls down to the two and a half years of growing De Hoop, our 118 year old Dutch barge with a small team of staff, into the Barge East Restaurant and Barge East Gardens site and team that you see today.
“This is an impeccable achievement for us and one that wouldn’t have been possible if not for the incredible team we have on board, our suppliers, and of course, our customers.”
They added: “We have some exciting projects in the pipeline which we can’t wait for you all to see.
“But for now, book on board to try our magical floating dining experience.”
The 2021 Newcomer Award was sponsored by lunch!, Commercial Kitchen and Casual Dining.
Barge East was also shortlisted for the 2021 Best Marketing Campaign Award, a second Catey Award.
Barge East offers a four-course dinner on Wednesday to Saturday, from £35 per person, as well as a two- or three-course lunch on Saturday, for £25 and £30 respectively – add bottomless bubbly or bloody Mary’s an extra £20 per person.
There’s also a Sunday Roast menu on Sundays.