Dalston isn’t known for being calm, but Toconoco is a little waterside oasis that’s just a short stroll from the Overground. Escape the busy main drag at this bright and breezy Japanese cafe to slurp bouncy udon and spoon miso soup while looking out across Kingsland Basin. The plain set-up, blackboard menu, and set rice meals with tofu or mackerel mayo on trays make it feel like a canteen. And come midday, it fills up quickly with those looking for a quick lunch. But the soft toys on the counter and pushchairs by the door are clues that half the inside space is set up as a kids’ play area. So if you sit in, small people may run past your table, but head to the small, covered alfresco terrace for a more peaceful coffee and slice of nutty black sesame cheesecake.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch