Meet the pair behind Stoke Newington’s best kept secret

A sliding-doors encounter in Newington Green with a former school friend from Macedonia reignited a friendship through which one of Stokey’s most special restaurants was born.

Childhood friends Jana Miseva and Elena Smileva launched The Lacy Nook a year ago after raising £22,000 through a Kickstarter campaign – they also ploughed in all their savings and carried out much of the building work themselves.

It was a complete change of career for the pair: Jana ditched her life working in logistics with bands such as The Rolling Stones, U2 and Kings of Leon and Elena gave up her filming and editing career.

Tucked away on Cazenove Road, The Lacy Nook is arguably one of Hackney’s best kept secrets. Set over the ground and basement floor of a former bar, it’s pretty and ambient with plants hanging from wooden beams and has a stunning garden – and the food is receiving rave reviews.

“Being on a side street does make it difficult”, said Jana. “With so many restaurants on Church Street we have to work hard to get noticed. I’ve hand delivered hundreds of fliers and we’ve done some PR this su