Behind the scenes at the Local Buyers Club

Meet one of Hackney’s most community-minded couples. Jenna and Basil Fansa are on a mission to persuade people to make a positive choice to support local and independent businesses rather than big-chains and they’ve created a discount card encouraging people to do just that. But it’s not without its perks! The team behind the Local Buyers Club are literally eating their way around the area on a quest to find the best restaurants and shops to join the club.

Basil said: “Imagine how generic our high streets would be if it was all big chains! Independent businesses offer so much more variety, individuality and flavour than multinationals. The best local businesses are run by people with amazing passion and drive – who persevere despite rising rents and crippling business rates. It’s vital to the survival of these businesses that we support them.”

The club offers discounts of between 10% and 30% at more than 130 of the best independent businesses in Hackney, Islington, Haringey, Shoreditch and The City.

Among the Stoke Newington businesses offering discounts are Andi’s, Wolf, Earlybird Cards, the Prince, The Clarence, Clissold House, The Last Crumb, Itto, The Red Lion, The Twisted Fork, Jaines & Son Fishmongers, Post and Ryans N16.

Brilliant businesses in other areas offering discounts include Farang Thai, Trattoria Sapori, Salut!, Planet Organic, Vivo, Lucky Voice, Galley, Little Bat Bar, Tootoomoo, The Pantry Underwear, Venerdi, Bernstein’s, L’epicerie 56 and Lele’s.

While Basil focuses on finding the best businesses to join and promoting the Club, Jenna, a former journalist, spends much of her time interviewing the people behind the businesses in a bid to share their stories.

Basil added: “Many of these business owners have remarkable stories to tell – some have given up lucrative careers in the city to follow their passions and others have put everything on the line, even re-mortgaging their homes to realise their dream.  In telling their stories, we hope to create a talking point and an extra layer of familiarity with customers, which in turn encourages greater loyalty.”

The team behind the Local Buyers Club have run the Winter Toy and Food Appeal for the past five years – helping to ensure children in extreme poverty receive a gift at Christmas. And, since launching the Club a year ago, they’ve collected the equivalent to more than 2,000 meals for local food banks.

Businesses interested in signing up can email

Some of the businesses offering discounts through the Local Buyers Club:

The Twisted Fork Magic Café 

Where else can you enjoy a rainbow bagel and a cuppa while a talented magician performs close-up street-style magic?

The Twisted Fork on Stoke Newington High Street was opened this summer by 34-year-old magician Richard Clark.

He fell in love with magic at the age of 16, bought every book he could find and taught himself, before joining the Magic Circle and embarking on a career as a performer. The idea for a magic-themed café came while travelling around South East Asia and taking in the themed cafes of Bangkok and the illusions and museums of Bali.

He said: “I want to do magic that makes your face light up – I want people to come away feeling they’ve witnessed a miracle.”

The food is wonderful and eye-catching–and the coffee is ethical, aromatic and served by experienced baristas.  Local Buyers Club members save 10%.


This popular family owned Italian restaurant in Chatsworth Road serves wonderful bottomless brunches and offers fabulous jazz evenings.

The food is fresh and delicious, including homemade bread, handmade pizzas which are cooked in a wood fired oven and daily-made fresh egg pasta and the setting (a 100-year-old former pub) is beautiful. 

Manager Martin Kicura, added: “I have spent so much time in Italy – every couple of months I would go there for a week or so and I love seeing what Italians are cooking. We make sure the cooking in the restaurant is just as authentic.

“Clapton is growing really fast, I remember seven years ago coming here for the first time – it’s so different now, there’s such a foodie scene here.”   

Members of the Local Buyers Club save 15%.

Bernsteins Bar

Run by a former East End market trader, Bernstein’s in Chatsworth Road offers a taste of Jewish and Middle Eastern cuisine and local beers and spirits.It’s run by Adam Bernstein who used to run a coffee stall called Black Box. He dreamed of escaping the cold and pursuing his passion for food and coffee.

Bernstein’s is the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks and order plates of food to share. Adam’s mother Bobbie makes her legendary cheesecakes for the restaurant and the Bernstein family photos hang on the walls.

Bernstein’s is open for brunch and dinner (or just drinks). The menu includes salt beef, which has been cured in house, shakshuka (eggs poached in tomatoes with lamb sausages), scrambled eggs, fish, charcuteries and cheese, soups and stews.

Local Buyers Club members save 10% on cold drinks (including wine, beer, cocktails and soft drinks).

The Lacy Nook

This beautiful restaurant is one of Stoke Newington’s best kept secrets.

Childhood friends Jana Miseva and Elena Smileva invested all their savings into it and the menu is a fusion of Balkan, Middle Eastern and Asian flavours.

Tucked away on Cazenove Road this former bar is pretty and ambient with plants hanging from wooden beams and it has a stunning garden.

Some of the recipes, such as the Beef Cevapi (beef patties) and the baklava, have been passed down by Elena’s grandmother.  Their sweet and savoury pancakes and ribs are among the most popular dishes. The restaurant sources as many local ingredients as possible including Mission Coffee (Clapton) and salads from Growing Communities.

The Lacy Nook is open Tuesday-Sunday for evening meals and is also open for bunch (Thursday-Sunday). Members of the Local Buyers Club can save 20% off all dishes from the brunch menu (excluding drinks) from Thursday to Sunday. 


There’s a reason Giles Coren raves about this Thai restaurant in Highbury Barn.

Reviewing Farang, he wrote: “I have found the perfect restaurant for me (not necessarily for you, but for me) and it is called Farang.

 “Historic. Fiery, colourful, distinctive, lavishly seasoned, modern, bright, fun, filling, rare and unusual.”

It’s run by Sebby Holmes, a published author and talented chef embarking on a promising career in television and food.

He said: “’Farang’ means ‘white foreigner’ – we don’t hold any loyalty to authentic Thai – more to flavour. We use a lot of seasonal meats, fresh veg and fruits, what’s in season and what we can get.”

Local Buyers Club members save 10% before 7pm.

Kottu Lanka – Sri Lankan street food

Check out Chatsworth Road Market on a Sunday and your taste buds are in for a treat.

One of our favourite market stalls is Kottu Lanka – serving “kotto roti” (authentic Sri Lankan street food).  It’s cooked the traditional way - using kottu blades to chop the ingredients together providing the distinctive clanging on the hot plate while you wait. The dish is a delicious mish mash of fresh veg cooked in coconut oil, shredded roti and a choice of curry: ranging from spicy devilled seafood, dark mutton curry, earthy chicken, to vegetarian and vegan. 

Shanthi Perera, of Kottu Lanka, said: “Found on almost all street corners in Sri Lanka, this cuisine is considered a favourite by many locals on the island due to the mix of flavours and textures. Unfortunately, it is something that most Londoners have yet to try…our mission is to change this! We have taken a recipe that has been in our family for generations, added our own unique twist and combined it with local British meat and seafood sold by local fishmongers.”

Local Buyers Club members save £1 off any meal.

Trattoria Sapori

Looking for somewhere community-minded to eat with the family?  Trattoria Sapori in Newington Green has a lovely, friendly vibe.

They run regular movie nights (pizza, a drink and a movie for just £12). The menu includes artisanal pizza, fresh pasta, charcuterie and a fabulous wine list.  

Children are welcome here and there’s a lovely space for parties out the back. 

Local Buyers Club members save 10% off Monday-Thursday and get a free childs meal with every adult main meal purchased Monday to Saturday.


This neighbourhood Italian restaurant serves fresh, seasonal Italian food – some of the best we’ve ever tasted.

It’s on Stoke Newington High Street and is run by Antony Difrancesco and head chef Karla Knowles (formerly of the Michelin starred Petersham Nurseries).

Jenna Fansa of the Local Buyers Club said: “We’re incredibly lucky to have somewhere serving such authentic Italian food in the heart of our neighbourhood. We eat in Wolf often and have never been disappointed – the menu changes with the seasons and the restaurant has a lovely vibe.”

The menu includes homemade pasta, light gnocchi and dishes such as Peroni-battered Deep Fried Lamb Chops, Pancetta Risotto, Tagliatelle with Sicilian Fennel Sausage, Bucatini with 7-Hour Hogget Shoulder and Sea Bream Carpaccio.

Brunch options include Oat and Nut Granola, Polenta Pancakes with Mascarpone and Nespole Jam or Avocado with Poached Eggs, Lemon, Chili, Coriander on Toast. Their cocktails are pretty special too!

Local Buyers Club members save 10% here.

Join the club!

Membership of the Local Buyers Club costs just £12 per year and businesses throughout Hackney, Islington, Shoreditch and the City offer discounts.

You can sign up online at and receive your membership card in the post or opt to collect it at Earlybird Cards on Stoke Newington Church Street.

    Posted 3rd January 2019


    Vicky BibirisManaging Director

    Vicky started with Location Location as a junior negotiator in 2006 and within a short period of time became the top performing sales consultant in the company taking on the role of Branch Manager in 2009. Vicky's exceptional ability is backed up by her infectious enthusiasm for people and property, this led to her becoming Sales Director and equity partner in 2012. Vicky has been an integral part in establishing Location Location's reputation as one of North London's leading estate agents.