Peter McCall

Bartender | Bethnal Green Tavern | Grace Land group

You may recognise Pete from his years as GM at The Kings Arms in Bethnal Green. Earlier this year he stepped down to focus more on his work with Extinction Rebellion. He recently started working at Grace Land group sister bar The Bethnal Green Tavern. Launched two weeks before lock-down it hasn’t had a chance to get going so if you are local make sure you support them when they reopen.


What’s your favourite local?


The King’s Arms for me is first and foremost a proper local with an amazing community of regulars. Top quality products and a strong focus on getting the best beer possible. It’s managed to maintain a reputation as one of the UK’s best beer pubs. The Bethnal Green Tavern has a similar ethos with a solid, concise food menu focusing on small plates and elevating the cocktail & wine game to the same level as the beer.


Lockdown has taught me…


So many things, it’s been a strange experience. Professionally, it’s been the longest period I’ve not been working since I was 15 and I didn’t think I’d miss it like I have.


Being part of Extinction Rebellion has connected me to my community in a way I’ve not been connected before. I’ve learnt that you can’t replicate that online. I’ve been on endless Zoom calls but it really isn’t the same. Empathy, compassion and any real emotion doesn’t translate over a screen.


I’ve rediscovered how important nature is to well-being. I’ve been walking in it almost every day in lock-down. Seeing the transition through Spring it’s reaffirmed how important it is to protect. I knew it to an extent but the pandemic has really exposed to me how deeply and profoundly broken the system is and how entirely unequipped it is in the face of a crisis.


The positivity from people and communities, who have come together in support of each other in spite of the chaotic Government response. I’m hoping we continue like that and that the rebuilding puts the well-being of people and the planet first. However, seeing the government’s plans and bailouts so far it’s clear that’s something that we’re going to have to really fight for.


Some of my favourite local food & drink products and places…


For bread I’m lucky to have two amazing independent bakeries two minutes from my doorstep Breid Bakery for a wild sourdough or Rinkoffs for Rye, Challah & Platzels depending on whether I fancy a taste of the new or the old East End.


Newton & Pott is the best piccalilli I’ve ever had and I eat it with everything. Unfortunately they’ve recently stopped production after being forced out of their premises (due to a big rent hike) so it’s being severely rationed at the moment. They are still running classes so I think I’m gonna have to sign up and learn to make it myself.


Chilli Sauce from Pizza Point Grill it is a bog standard four wings for a quid type Chicken & Pizza shop BUT they make a ridiculous homemade chilli sauce, it’s just so good with a real depth of chilli pepper flavours, not just heat. If you ask they’ll sell you a litre bottle of it for £6.


Beers from Old Street Brewery  I’ve known owner and Brewer Adam since I worked with him when I was manager at Mother Kellys E2 and it’s great to see how they’ve progressed over the last two years to now be making some seriously good beer.


No brewery is very good when they start, it takes time for them to refine and adapt recipes and processes. But I always think a good judge of how good a new brewery is, is if you can see a clear forward progression in the quality & refinement of their beer from brew to brew and that’s exactly what I’ve seen with Old Street.


Pressure Drop  is still the boss for hoppy beers though.


Honestly Tasty’s Veganzola. Generally I am not a huge fan of substitute foods but think it’s important to approach these foods as their own thing so you can appreciate it on its own terms.


This particular plant based cheese uses actual penicilum roqueforti and it’s one of my favourite flavours. Moldy, funky, wild, borderline rancid flavours are always good with me. I buy this from La Fauxmagerie it is just down the road from me and they deserve everyone’s custom for the quality of that pun alone.

Pete’s favourite London products & places

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