Patty & Bun in Liverpool Street is a tiny operation with queues for tables that often go all the way down the street. But when you want instant burger gratification, having to wait in line for the saucy Ari Gold cheeseburger will not do. So luckily there is a hatch in the side of the restaurant for customers in a hurry, many of whom work in the City and are used to getting what they want, fast.
Sitting down and making a meal of things is fine but as the weather becomes more picnic-friendly there is appeal in getting your meal to go. London’s restaurants know this and holes in the wall are appearing so you can eat on your own terms.
Hatching a plan: Patty & Bun (Picture: Paul Winch-Furness)
In King’s Cross, the new swimming pond is the perfect place to take your spoils. Pick up a roast pork sandwich and a bracing coffee from the window at Kiosk near the station and hold back from eating until you are sitting by the water.
If you find yourself in search of a sandwich in central London, avoid all the usual chains and head to Newman Street Tavern, which sells 40 to 50 sandwiches through the hatch every day. Chef Peter Weeden’s Devon crab rolls and 12-hour slow-roasted Galloway beef rolls are excellent examples of his cooking — using local produce where possible. Weeden says: “The hatch is for people who don’t have time but want to eat something tasty. So many people walk past because we are on a corner, so we thought it was a nice extension of what we do, to reach out to people passing in the street. If the weather is pleasant, people can eat in the square nearby.”
Good to go: The hatch at Newman Street Tavern (Picture: Rebecca Reid)
Temple to posh fried chicken, Bird on Kingsland Road, has a doughnut hatch. The restaurant’s co-founder Paul Hemings says: “We were inspired by a place in Chicago called the doughnut vault. It’s a tiny shop in an old bank vault and all it sells is coffee and doughnuts. Our building has a side door fire exit which is perfect for a grab-and-go hatch.”
Hemings expected peak doughnut time to be the morning. “I thought people would get them for breakfast but we have people coming all day until closing time at 11.30pm.”
Bird’s hatch may be small but there is no limit to how many doughnuts it can serve. Its record is 120 in one order, for hungry staff at a fashion agency.
Hemings says part of the hatch’s success is that the dough is made the day before. “It’s a yeast-risen dough, which makes a hot puffy fried doughnut not as sweet as cake-batter ones.”
South London also gives good hatch. Federation Coffee has joined forces with Piano House co-working space off Brixton Road for fast caffeine fixes.