Not much on my Dad’s bucket list, apart from a trip to Maidenhead Conservative Club, of course.

But he’d always wanted to go and see the Columbia Road Flower Market.   A new Beer Guide tick in Bethnal Green and a clear blue sky made up my mind for me. Mrs RM came along on the promise of craft keg and expensive pastries.

Bethnal Green

Dad used to deliver fruit and veg down to (Old) Spitalfields Market, so he knows the route along the A12 into Hackney well enough, though of course it was all marshes and horse and carriages back in the ’60s.

I’ve never seen anyone as excited about a row of Boris bikes.


I may occasionally pity Londoners and their samey pubs and warm beer, but east London is peerless for street art, even if  Dad didn’t quite get the appeal of this one.


He was a bit overwhelmed by the flower market.  A career in floristry, and he’d never seen some of the blooms on display in this tiny bit of Bethnal Green. And at half the price you’d pay in your local garden centre.


retiredmartin snr


Proper sheepskin coat geezers, too.

Sheepskin geezer, nice man
Proper flowers

We’d been here a couple of times before, mainly for the overpriced flat whites and chocolate croissants, and the authentic looking but ultimately gastro pubs.  The novelty hasn’t worn off, I’d never seen it so packed with daytrippers from N1 and E8.

Sunday in E2

You can spend £15 on your Sunday lunch here, or buy several carrier bags full of what I can only describe as “nice flowers“.  Mum thought so, anyway.

Dad was happy to stroll the mean streets of Cambridge Heath to the Dundee Arms, though I sense he found it scruffy rather than invigorating under the arches.

I recognise Kendo Nagasaki

I believe the Dundee could have been described as “invigorating” before recent gentrification (all forms of gentrification are relative).

Dundee Arms, E2

Now it has the worn-in look beloved of E2, which frankly I quite like. “It’s distressed, not worn-in !”  corrected Mrs RM.

Top tiling
“It’s distressed”
More geezers, not wearing sheepskin

Dad is not a #PubMan, at least outside of Spoons (which aren’t pubs), but saw the appeal of this one, as it had;

  • An absence of drunks (it was noon on Sunday)
  • A very polite barman
  • Spurs v Palace on the big screen
  • Old tat on the walls (always works well with OAPs)
  • A dangerous cheese toastie that my Mum might not have let him have at home


A great Sunday lunchtime pub.  Extra marks for apparently having just the lone Purity beer on cask (NBSS 3) and focusing on the evil keg Mrs RM so loves.

Mainly though, I loved it for the grilled cheese toastie, the best I’ve ever had

Just the 1357 calories there

Dad was completely bemused by the trivial pursuit cards, mind.

What colour are smurfs ?



  1. I did the Dundee Arms with the wife on the 21st November 1987 while doing a good pub crawl round Bethnal Green before watching Forest play West Ham,we also did some of West Hams home only pubs,but i could not get served so my wife got the drinks,it was a lot rougher in those days and the Dundee Arms was a Taylor Walker house with real ales on.

    We love London street markets and done quite a few of them but not Columbia Road.
    The Royal Oak pictured is one of a few pubs i have not done in a book called The London Pub.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Dundee had become somewhat down at heel before the refurb a year or so ago, don’t recall them having real ale at that point (or possibly just badly kept doom bar). It felt a bit forced when it was first done up but is now very pleasant (if a bit raucous when there’s boxing on at York Hall) and, as pointed out, the cheese toasties are great!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Dad used to delivery fruit and veg”

    No need to tell us ‘y’ 🙂

    “packed with daytrippers”

    For some reason, seeing folks with scarves around their necks but no coat (or an unbuttoned light coat) makes me smile sardonically.

    “It’s distressed”

    A London term for proper pub seating? 😉


    PS – Yup, your Dad looks good for 82.


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