Shoreditch area guide

Discover the best of Shoreditch, from indie shops to tasty cheap food

Photo: Rob Greig
Cereal Killer Cafe on Brick Lane
Some say Shoreditch has had its day, that London’s trendy brigade have moved on. If you go to Brick Lane Market, though, it doesn’t look that way. The weird and wonderfully dressed hordes keep coming to the rough triangle made up by Old Street, Great Eastern Street and Shoreditch High Street, packing into ramshackle bars and independent shops. Despite the spread of affluence, much of the area maintains its original gritty, urban edge; many of the walls and shop fronts are plastered with graffiti. Of course, for many the grime is all part of the appeal – if you want a big garden and posh schools, move to Muswell Hill.

Things to do in Shoreditch

Restaurants

Cheap eats in Shoreditch

Affordable food from all over the world is up for grabs in Shoreditch

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Nightlife

Shoreditch clubs

For hip, hedonist hang-outs, take a look at Time Out's guide to clubbing in Shoreditch

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Shopping and style

Best shopping in Shoreditch

our guide to the area's quirky gift shops, high-end designer dens and everything in between

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Bars and pubs

Shoreditch pubs

The best places to bend an elbow in Shoreditch

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Shoreditch hotspots

Shopping and style

Brick Lane Market

Though Brick Lane Market is an entity (and attraction) in itself, the banner has grown to encompass a motley array of markets in and around the East End hotspot. Brick Lane Market proper is where to head for tools, household goods and bargain fruit and veg sold by the bowl. Vendors without a proper stall often line Brick Lane, their wares (dodgy old videos, broken dolls, CD players) set up on blankets. Bric-a-brac traders morph into indie clothes and accessories designers as you hit Backyard Market, housed in a warehouse building opposite Dray Walk.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Things to Do

Old Spitalfields Market

Though not everyone is a fan of the recent redevelopment of Spitalfields (particularly those pushed out by the rising rents), the market has been afforded a new lease of life. The East End stalwart now comprises the refurbished 1887 covered market and the adjacent modern shopping precinct. Browsing options include creations by up-and-coming designers, vintage clobber, crafts, jewellery, books, sheepskin rugs and Brazilian flip flops. Thursdays are dedicated to antiques and vintage, Fridays to fashion and art.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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The best places to eat

Restaurants Book online

Tramshed

After a promising start, Mark Hix’s chicken and steak restaurant has lost some allure. The room remains a winning combination of fun, glamour and heritage: a Damien Hirst cow and chicken in formaldehyde suspended over the main dining room makes a striking first impression set against the backdrop of a building that once generated the power for east London’s trams. The child’s meal deal is generous, and the house wines are very drinkable. But the overly keen table-turning (we were moved on long before our slot was supposedly up) and variable food soon strip away any stardust. The short menu has steak (rib, sirloin or salad) or chicken as mains. Steak salad passed muster, though we’re unconvinced by the topping of battered onion rings. Whole roast chicken (barn-reared these days, rather than the free-range birds initially used) arrives at the table up-ended on a spike, and surrounded by fries; at £25 it easily serves two and can stretch to three, helped by seasonal sides such as (delicious) wild garlic mushrooms. Starters (just-so yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers) and desserts (super-sweet salted caramel fondue with marshmallows and doughnuts, £12.50 to share) had more wow factor. Staff are friendly yet stretched, leaving diners feeling more than a little processed.  

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Dishoom

In Bollywood, ‘dishoom dishoom’ is the sound effect of blows landing in a classic fight scene, and is usually followed by a hip-thrusting song-and-dance routine. And while the naans are the only things that get slapped about by the Dishoom restaurant group – there’s still plenty of spice, both on and off the plate. This King’s Cross Dishoom, the third, is the best-looking yet. A magnificent three-storey Victorian warehouse has been furnished with sepia prints, whirring fans and an oversized railway-station clock to recreate the elegant feel of 1930s Bombay, while the seating arrangement by the ground-floor cocktail bar looks as if it’s been lifted from Aunty Ji’s verandah. It’s a witty interpretation of urban India, tastefully updated for trendy, spice-loving Londoners. If romancing is on the agenda, we suggest the booths on the dimly lit mezzanine level. But for skewer-wielding action, head to the top floor for a front-row view of smoky kebabs cooking over charcoal. Dishes are affordable and consistently deliver great flavour. Besides the first-class breakfasts, fragrant biryanis and fabulous curries, we love the gingery slow-cooked black lentils simmered with cream, butter and tomatoes. It’s a classic party dahl and a marvellous match for garlicky chargrilled lamb chops and handkerchief-like roomali rotis. Even an everyday mattar paneer, studded with pillowy cubes of fresh cheese and tender peas, is notable for its cumin-scented onion and tomato masala. And, for between

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

Hoi Polloi

The Ace Hotel in New York is deepest hipster territory, with a cavernous lobby used by every Midtown creative for its free wi-fi, Stumptown coffee bar and – for those who can get a booking – chef April Bloomfield’s outstanding Breslin restaurant. I was once marooned at the Ace for a couple of days during a snowstorm; there are few better places to be stuck. Shoreditch’s new Ace Hotel is not, however, a cookie-cutter copy of its Big Apple cousin, and Hoi Polloi – its all-day brasserie – exemplifies this. Access, for instance, is not from a vast lobby, but via a tiny flower shop. Walk straight through and the large restaurant (from the team behind Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s) reveals itself with a mix of retro and contemporary styling that wouldn’t look out of place on a Scandinavian cruise ship circa 1950. The casual and sneaker-clad service is notably smooth and well informed. The music (a mix of retro ’80s pop and US alt electronic) isn’t too loud, allowing attention to focus instead on conversation – and the food. The menu looks like a college music paper, which gives the curious impression that other diners are reading up on the LCD Soundsystem back catalogue. It covers breakfast, lunch, snacks, cocktails and dinner. Dishes are British, very seasonal and juxtapose flavours in modern but not outlandish ways that will leave you craving more – and wondering why other kitchens can’t manage so deftly. A fresh, vibrant starter of braised celeriac is topped with a tangle of remo

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants Book online

Lyle's

‘Wham-bam, thank you m’am’ – the new normal for London’s restaurants. Book ahead? You’re having a laugh. Queue? Of course. Meals come and go at breakneck speed, and before you can even settle into your faux-distressed school chair, the bill appears and you’re out on your ear, wondering if it was all just a dream. If that’s the kind of fast and furious that floats your boat, then you should probably give Lyle’s a swerve. Dinner here is a long, leisurely affair. You can book (they even have a telephone!) and stay as long as you like, as there’s no turning tables. The pricing is fair: the no-choice menu costs £39, which gets you seven small courses (plus bread, petits fours and filtered tap water), served in a drawn-out procession. The whole thing, from start to finish, takes a languorous two and a half hours or so. The chef is James Lowe, formerly one of the much-fêted ‘Young Turks Collective’ and still one of the most talented cooks in town. We were impressed by a terrific cube of blood ‘cake’ (baked pig’s head, blood, and semolina); mellow braised baby onions; and a hunk of fatty-edged mutton with an intense anchovy cream. Baked washed-rind British sheep’s cheese was lick-the-plate-clean moreish; as was a poached, slightly-tart rhubarb with a rich crème anglaise custard). In short, almost everything we ate was notably good. Only the bitter notes of charred dover sole in a somewhat over-seasoned broth disappointed. But the sweet staff knew their food; and the semi-industrial s

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

Song Que

This is still the undoubted star of the Kingsland Road Vietnamese scene. Big, light, airy, buzzy (if slightly resembling a school canteen), Song Que is constantly packed with happy customers including many families and a good showing of Vietnamese locals. There’s usually a warm welcome from one of the many staff, who deliver prompt, efficient and friendly service. Food is almost always first class and highly authentic – and good value. Flavours are full and true, and textures perfect, bringing the best out of each dish. Acolytes state that the kitchen makes the best pho in London, which is quite a claim, but the version served here is certainly excellent. Our assorted starters were excellent too, including a skilfully executed cross between a prawn toast and a banh mi: what seemed like a butterflied whole king prawn on a baguette slice beneath the minced prawn mixture – a real texture treat. We experienced just two minor negatives: not automatically getting a change of paper table covering, and having to troop across the room to the cash desk to pay by card. Still, it will be the excellent food that lingers in the memory.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Clove Club

NOTE: Since this review was published, the Clove Club has added a lunch menu (£35 for 3 courses) and a bar menu with main courses ranging from £14.50 to £21. The Time Out Food and Drink Team.   It can sometimes be hard to know if a restaurant is trying to make food that you will savour and enjoy, or is simply creating dishes to feed the Instagram craze. Taking no chances, Shoreditch’s Clove Club is doing both. The Clove Club’s menu is a masterpiece of contemporary aspirations. With a no-choice list of nine courses, there’s no possibility of a fashion faux pas when ordering. This daily-changing menu is economically worded. It describes a succession of small plates: dishes which are seasonal, that champion British produce, yet are oddly esoteric. It is both accessible and obscurantist. The menu’s ‘Radishes, sesame and gochuchang’ only contained gochuchang – a Korean chilli paste – as a slight pink tinge to a mayonnaise dip. Leeks were poached and slit, then smoked mussels were inserted like peas in a split pod. A spinach purée seeped from the side. The result looked disquieting, but will end up on lots of Pinterest boards. A pattern emerged: dishes seemed destined to be photographed and talked about, possibly more than savoured. The best dishes tended to be the ones that weren’t trying quite so hard to impress. A dish of Ruby Red beef, ramson and potato comprised a generous piece of slow-cooked beef, very tender and moist; the ramson (wild garlic) was barely discernable,

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

Big Apple Hot Dogs

Watch our video introduction to Big Apple Hot Dogs here. Hot dogs: much maligned by those who care about what they eat due to their uncertain provenance and comical appearance. The fact they’re also known as ‘wieners’ doesn’t help. But here to save the skin-clad meat tube from ignominy is Big Apple Hot Dogs, a mobile cart on Old Street that uses specially commissioned sausages made from free-range pork and buns baked by Anderson’s bakery of Hoxton. There are various sizes and meat combinations (pork, beef, pork and beef) and the full range of expected condiments that are guaranteed to be decorating your top before the last bite. And the taste is a revelation for those who would normally avoid hot dogs – coarsely meaty, flavoursome and evocative of baseball games, worlds fairs and competitive eating. Delicious.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Andina

Bored with burgers? Tired of tapas? Then let Andina shimmy up your tastebuds with its Peruvian-inspired ceviches, street food, cocktails, and colourful smoothies. Peruvian food only started to make waves in London in 2012, when a couple of smart, aspirational restaurants – Lima and Ceviche – opened within months of each other in the West End. Ceviche is the more affordable of these two, a Soho bar and diner with a menu of dishes seldom seen on our shores. Andina is Ceviche’s second branch, but rather than imitating its older Soho sibling, it has new tricks, some of them inspired by the food of the Andes. Peruvian food is regionally diverse, but ceviches are enjoyed everywhere. Raw fish is marinated in citrus juice which can then be spiced with chilli or have other dressings or garnishes added. Andina’s ‘Cheeky’ ceviche, one of six on the menu, comprises thin slices of hake and cod cheeks marinated in citrus juice with spring onion, and it’s a proper palate‑cleanser. New World staples are well-represented: the giant Peruvian popcorn snack called cancha is a must-try; and potatoes appear in many forms. A main course of three potato cakes was beautifully decorated – the spicy seafood toppings did a decent job of livening up what would otherwise be dollops of cold potato mash. Unfamiliar names and unusual combinations litter the menu, such as the chupe (seafood chowder) of black quinoa, king prawns, broad beans and giant corn – never a dull mouthful. Andina is as much a bar as

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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See our full guide to restaurants in Shoreditch

Comments

5 comments
helen o
helen o

I'm sorry Shoreditch is a highly pretentious and not particularly attractive area that has been shoved down our throats by so called cool rags like Timeout and estate agent sponsored papers like the Evening Standard. Truth is that it is a commercially driven fantasy created by the media colluding with businesses to drive up commercial footfall of sheeple to the area. Sheeple are people who en mass, blindly follow trends proclaimed by the  media  as gospel truth and try to live out those fantasies en mass aka Hipsters et al. So a real shitty borough like Hackney suddenly becomes paradise in the eyes of sheeple, the same process can be seen in Peckham with its post nuclear habitat being proclaimed as the next cool thing by Time Out and other rags, ditto Brixton and Walthamstow and Deptford. I was in shoreditch the other day and stumbled into a so called cool gathering of hipsters at a streetfood pop-up event in a disused car park. I was concerned that the crowd had been easily deluded into believing that such an uncool dirty and harsh place could be cool. I guess the average individual can be psychologically brainwashed and convinced of anything by the media, hence  it is so-so cool to pay half a million pounds and incur a life times' debt to live on one of Shoreditch's or  Hoxton's numerous run down estates than to pay a third of that price to live in a fairly decent flat or house in an uncool area such as Catford or Morden. You have to ask yourself whatever happened to the former cool areas such as Notting Hill, Portobello Road, Camden, Clapham, Islington etc My guess is that they've become too cool to be Ice cool and hence frozen out of the anals of coolness by the likes of Timeout et al and it looks like Shoreditch is rapidly going that way from recent articles on the area. It makes you wonder why people believe in this charade in the first place?  

Misch M
Misch M

Shoreditch is not good place for the clubbers  too costly / rubbish .. I was given excuse at some bars that there are too many guys in the bar / club so cant enter .. it's ridiculous in the name of London .. 

BiroPen
BiroPen

HOXTON SHOE REPAIRS. Located in Hoxton Street. N.1. (Market also operates on Saturdays) is a Mecca for all Shoe Fanatics. If your Shoes are poorly....bring them 'Back to Life' at this repair shop.........Best advice, Quality work & all round good experience. All top brands, repaired to best quality. Mine looked like I'd just bought them and they are 7 years old. Vintage refurbishments and Handbags repairs for all those Ladies out there.....Check out their Reviews........ Amazing. ! hoxtonshoerepairs@.co.uk

Sophie
Sophie

A great, comprehensive guide to this area - so it's not just full of posers after all! Tho anyone who actually uses the word 'Pho mile' is probably a bit of a poser...

Marion W
Marion W

Oh wow. Just wow. I live in Homerton. Even more underrated, and granted, there isn't much to do there, but shoreditch, it's fun! It's become a bit of a trend to insult anything that alot of people enjoy. You have decided it is 'cool' to follow this trend... And omg look! You've joined the freaking sheeple! I don't know where you live, but I'd rather live in Hackney where not only can I buy jeans and a bag of chips for less than 5 pounds if I feel like going to that sort of place, but I can also visit a huge record store, buy bubble tea in a shop where I can also play table tennis and eat macaroons, and then go to a family farm with a classy italian restaraunt! To be honest, in the end it gets more interesting than constant chelsea coffee shops, as nice as they are. And I've been to the urban food fest. The food is nice, the people are nice , so the environment is old, is that not thrifty?! Making a fun place out of an otherwise boring urban environment into an interesting fun festival. Stop your prejudiced shit please? Thankyou.