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Bethnal Green area guide

Discover brilliant bars, quality restaurants and loads of things to do in Bethnal Green

Bourgeois? Nah mate, Bethnal Green's still got that rough 'n' ready East End flavour. The locals fall roughly into three groups: old-school embedded East Enders, Bangladeshi families an recently arrived professionals. And the best thing is that everyone gets along famously, whether it's strolling around at Columbia Road Flower Market, partying at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, or eating and drinking at one of the many quality pubs, bars or restaurants the area has to offer.

What are your favourite Bethnal Green haunts? Let us know in the comments.

Restaurants in Bethnal Green

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Typing Room

Could Typing Room be the next big thing? It has all the right ingredients. The room – once using for mayoral correspondence, now part of Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel – seems to be a ‘lucky site’. The previous restaurant here, Viajante, was run by Nuno Mendes, who built his reputation in this same kitchen before leaving to head up Chiltern Firehouse in the West End, a place more chock-full of A-listers than a botox clinic’s address book. The new star backer is chef-restaurateur Jason Atherton, current toast of the capital’s dining scene (his hits include Pollen Street Social, Social Eating House and Little Social). If you haven’t heard of the new head chef Lee Westcott, that’s because after earning his stripes at Tom Aikens in Chelsea, he went off to do stints at some of the world’s top restaurants, including Per Se in New York and Noma in Copenhagen before ending up in Hong Kong, where he ran a couple of Atherton’s joints. That’s before he got ‘the call’. So now he’s back, with a menu of his own creation. But this is no ‘Bethnal Green Social’: Atherton clearly has faith in him. Fortunately, that trust has been rewarded. There are plenty of ‘modernist’ food trends on his plates, such as all-the-rage New Nordic: a bit of dehydration here, some smoking there, plus more sprigs, twigs and petals than you can, umm, shake a stick at. This approach is no longer radical, but it’s high fashion food. Dishes are intricate and exquisite; it almost seems a pity to eat them. A silky ‘

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Ink

Obscure locations are all the rage when it comes to Nordic cuisine. One of the top restaurants in Sweden – Fäviken – is so remote that an overnight stay is a near-obligatory part of the experience.A trip to Mile End might not sound like nearly such an undertaking, but as we meandered from the tube, through a park, along the canal and on to a residential street filled with building work, it didn’t seem like the kind of place you’d expect to find London’s latest modernist restaurant either.The location’s not the only unusual thing about Ink. Chef Martyn Meid might be dealing in smears, foams and powders, but this Lithuanian chef’s food is cheaper than London’s other modernist menus, with mains costing a reasonable £8.50-£16.Nominally inspired by Scandinavian cooking, Meid creates artistically presented dishes with nods to seasonality. A sculptural starter of seared scallops served on a subtle peach purée, then scattered with petal-shaped charred baby onion layers, specks of crushed crackling and purple pansies was the belle of the ball with impressive textures and flavours to match its beauty.A main of salt cod with ‘tomato textures’ was also easy on the eye, but less exciting to eat, with surprisingly little salt left in the cod or in the accompanying potatoes. A more rustic dish of savoury braised lamb with savoy cabbage made for warming winter fodder.Ink maybe isn’t the kind of place you’d brave mountains and forests for, but if you can manage to negotiate a park and a canal

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

E Pellicci

If ever proof were needed that all caffs are not equal, this Grade-II listed greasy spoon on Bethnal Green Road is it. The food may not be much more than reasonably above-average caff grub, but the atmosphere and decor are second to none.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Brawn

Brawn is the second offering from the team behind Terroirs (and most recently, Soif), and is nicely pitched to appeal to a hip east London crowd without alienating other diners.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Things to do in Bethnal Green

Shopping

Columbia Road Flower Market

Join the throng at Columbia Road Flower Market on Sunday. The advice about turning up at 2pm for knockdown prices has long become a victim of its own success, and buskers "entertain" the crowd. But it remains a quintessential London experience.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Things to do

V&A Museum of Childhood

Home to one of the world's finest collections of children's toys, dolls' houses, games and costumes, the V&A Museum of Childhood shines brighter than ever after extensive refurbishment.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bethnal Green Working Men's Club

Bethnal Green Working Men's Club has incubated many of London's leftfield performers, from interactive theatre crew You Me Bum Bum Train to trannytastic party Sink the Pink.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Attractions

Spitalfields City Farm

If you spend Sundays munching bagels and rummaging for vintage bargains on Brick Lane, you’re missing a trick not to visit this urban oasis built in a former railway goods depot. There are many rare breeds of animals: stop by and visit characters such as Bayleaf the donkey and Bentley the goat, or pick your own veg. The farm also reaches out to local residents with projects like the ‘Coriander Club’ for older Bangladeshi women, free cookery classes, a young farmers' club and gardens growing produce and herbs.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Pubs and bars in Bethnal Green

Bars and pubs

Satan's Whiskers

The demonic theme doesn’t continue too far past the name, save some Dr Moreau-style hybrid taxidermy. What was for years a closed-down Caribbean restaurant has been transformed into a devilishly dark and welcoming spot.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

King's Arms

The Kings Arms is marooned up a  side street, a castaway of 19th-century pub craftsmanship surrounded by 20th-century council estate. Inside, it’s a sight to behold. Wooden panelling lines the walls; Davey brass lamps hang over the bar; butterfly display cases catch the low light cast by red glass candleholders.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Star of Bethnal Green

A bold red and silver star adorns the wall behind the stage in this intimate boozer, which has fast become the epitome of scruffy East End cool. A young, up-for-it crowd enjoy a laid-back, pubby vibe, but most of them are really here for the music.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Well & Bucket

Here is one of these born-again boozers – following wilderness years as a Chinese restaurant and a leather wholesaler, the Well and Bucket is once again brimming over with beer. A lot of care has been spent restoring the big room to resemble a pub once again.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Comments

1 comments
Perfektly I
Perfektly I

Please add the best curry house in Bethnal Green called Al Amin along Cambridge Heath Road...Not Brick Lane..come to Bethnal Green for a good curry!