The Institute of Light (IOL) is a new cultural concept space taking up two old railway arches moments from London Fields, Hackney. IOL boasts a stunning cinema with retro boutique sofas, a bar, dining room, BBE record store, bookstore by Pages of Hackney and outdoor courtyard for those rare but wonderful sunny days.
I was very excited to hear about this opening. A new cultural hub sporting independent films, food and music. BBE, their record store is stacked with auditory gems, while their program of inspiring films is enough to satisfy any film buff. Harry Ross has curated the films here; his programming is underground and uncommercial, similar to that of the Curzon. He touches on documentaries and current trending topics.
Creator and Director Jo Hagan is one of the primary instigators of the London Fields renaissance, founder of Use Architects, Past DJ, restaurateur and lecturer. IOL is Jo’s passion project, merging his love for culture.
This autumn Helio’s Cantina has taken on a new residency at IOL. Famously known as Nigella Lawson’s favourite chef, Helio Fenerich has presented a seasonal Mediterranean menu using ingredients hand-picked from the rooftop garden alongside premium free-range produce, local products and an Italian-focused wine menu.
The hearty and healthy menu comprises of beautiful classics. We highly recommend the Polvo a Lagareiro (Grilled Octopus, potatoes, olives & garlic); which was presented and cooked to perfection. The portions are generous and perfect for sharing at a table with a group of friends. I personally adored the tender and moist Slow cooked Moorish Chicken with prunes, olives, capers and smashed chickpeas and make sure you try the flourless chocolate cake with crème fraiche.
When I retired from the restaurant to enjoy the cinema, the venue was packed and bustling with a full house, tables stacked with food and wine. I chose a suitable geeky film to watch (‘lo and behold the reveries of the connected world’). It was enjoyed in perfect comfort on a bouncy two-seater sofa with a vintage 70’s table to place my delicious aviation cocktail. If you live in the area or your local’ish then this is a one-stop wonder!
Helio’s Cantina will also be offering up a delectable Sunday Feasting Menu, a seasonal roast for friends and family or you can also experience a cine-dining offer in their intimate cinema.
376 Helmsley Pl