First Thursdays; you're missing a trick. Once a month (on the first Thursday, believe it or not) the galleries of East London stay open late so working folks can actually look at something other than their computer on a weekday. Not only are there glorious sights for your eyes, but there's also a lot of free booze, and if you find an accommodating gallery you can just sit on their interior-designer picked sofas and drown yourself in prosecco.
The point is (in all seriousness) you can see some really great art for free, and you'll find yourself in galleries and places and parts of East London that you didn't know existed.
Ever since we met, Kerry has told me tales of an infamous bar on with the best lasagne in the world and prosecco on tap, but we've never made it as far as Vyner Street on our First Thursdays expeditions. But this Thursday we were committed to the lasagne and we walked for what seemed like miles to get to Ombra to sample the delicacies. It reality it's probably only around a mile from Brick Lane.
After exploring a few of the galleries on Vyner Street, we headed to Ombra. It was heaving - possibly because it was a beautiful evening so all of the outdoor space (which is like a big deck) was filled with beer-garden seekers. The staff were super accommodating (possibly because Kerry had previously stayed late drinking with the bar men a few months back) and set us up at the bar.
The kitchen is open and the chefs make you feel like you're in their kitchen at home. One of the chefs at the front of the kitchen was carving from huge joints of cured meats whilst swigging from a bottle of beer and texting.
We shared a bottle of house red, a charcuterie plate and an asparagus lasagne. All of which was incredible. Presentation is simplistic; the bread comes in little paper bags and there's no frilly dressings or salads with the lasagne. It feels traditional and authentic.
The bill came to around £40. Find Ombra at 1 Vyner Street, London E2 9DG. Check out their website.