Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right Bull in a China Shop

Bull in a China Shop

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Shoreditch
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(26user reviews)
Bull in a China Shop (Yusus)
1/8
Yusus
Bull in a China Shop (© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out)
2/8
© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out
Bull in a China Shop (© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out)
3/8
© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out
Bull in a China Shop (© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out)
4/8
© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out
Bull in a China Shop (© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out)
5/8
© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out
Bull in a China Shop (© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out)
6/8
© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out
Bull in a China Shop (© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out)
7/8
© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out
Bull in a China Shop (© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out)
8/8
© Yusuf Ozkizil/Time Out

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

From the team behind nearby bar and dim sum parlour The Drunken Monkey, a destination bar-restaurant featuring Japanese whiskies and rôtisserie chicken.

'Bull in a China Shop’ – a strange name for a bar, with its connotations of crashing-around clumsiness. And when you read their website, it does little to alleviate fears: ‘Our menu boasts eggs benedict, superfood salads, charcoal bun sandwiches, and Asian-spiced whisky glazed rotisserie chicken. Our bar serves an extensive selection of over 30 rare and premium whiskies, hailing from Japan and Scotland.’ Yet despite such a smash and grab of influences, Bull works.

The spirits selection makes it a proper whisky destination – it has more Japanese whiskies than anywhere I’ve seen in London, from the cool Nikka From the Barrel to rare Karuizawa bottlings. There are some brilliant Scotches too, and a list of inventive whisky cocktails (a Wabi/Sabi at £12 was made with Hakushu single malt, vermouth, green tea syrup and black walnut bitters).

The Bull’s menu, with its breakfast-to-late-night diversity, has a lot of good stuff on it. The rotisserie chicken is brined with ginger, marinated in yogurt and grilled with that whisky glaze – it’s great, although served in an annoying mess-style enamel bowl that makes it hard to cut. Most humans – civilians, at least – prefer to eat off plates. Remember that, restaurateurs.

No bull: this Bull is a great place and a destination for whisky fans. All breakages, however, must be paid for.  

By: Euan Ferguson

Posted:

Details

Address: 196 Shoreditch High Street

London
E1 6JJ
Transport: Shoreditch High Street Overground.
Contact:
Opening hours: Open Mon-Fri 8am-midnight; Sat 9am-midnight; Sun 9am-11pm.
Do you own this business?

Users say (26)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:15
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|26
2 people listening
tastemaker

Bull in a China was a pleasant surprise. We were only going to pop in for a drink, but as soon as we entered, the aromas of the food guided to the tables. We settled in with our stiff drinks and made our way through a short but impressive menu. The lamb was delectable and the chicken was delightful. We left feeling very satisfied and quite smug to have stumbled upon this great little gem. Also, if you are a whisky drinker, this will be equivalent of the Willy Wonka's Factory.

tastemaker

If you are a whisky fan, you have to come experience a dinner at the Bull in a China Shop. The concept of this bar/restaurant is simple: everything is made with whisky (mainly Japanese ones) from innovative cocktails to food and desserts. I took their rotisserie chicken, marinated in spices and yoghurt and glazed with Nikka with a side of sweet potatoes fries and it was incredible, soft chicken with lots of tastes and not too spicy. This paired up with a Cosmo Sour, the whisky version of a Cosmopolitan was literally perfection. One main, one side and a dessert to share (passion cheesecake) was enough for me, I think two mains as recommended would be a bit much. Bonus point for the decoration, from the lamps made out of old umbrellas to the weird bull statue on the wall and the street art wall at the back, everything comes together to create the atmosphere of a funky speakeasy. A must try!

tastemaker

Whisky, Whisky, Whisky, Whisky cocktails, Whisky with cheese. I think you have got the theme by now, Bull in a China Shop came recommended, due to my boyfriends penchant for the tipple, we are Irish after-all. If you have a friend who is a whisky fan this really is a great place to take them. They offer specialised pairings for your single malts with cheeses from around the world, and they do not disappoint. I would highly recommended the 15 year old Balvenie single barrel cherry cask Whisky with the Shropshire Blue cheese. 

Tastemaker

I had walked by Bull in a China Shop countless times and finally tried it on Thursday night. It was pretty empty when we arrived for our reservation at 6:30 but by the time we left most tables were taken. Unfortunately the server that we had was only working her second shift at the restaurant and she had no clue about the menu - she couldn’t recommend how many items to order, didn’t know the daily specials and couldn’t recommend a cocktail that wasn’t too strong. Their signature cocktail is the camomile and charcoal old fashioned which my friends really enjoyed. I’m not a huge whisky fan so the sweeter apricot high ball was a better choice for me. The menu is quite extensive and consists of starters, mains, baos, rotisserie chicken, and a list of five salads to mix and match. The mac and cheese croquettes were interesting but disappointingly lacking much cheese. My roast vegetable stack burger was very average and served on a stale bun. The sweet potato fries were great though and my friends said the rotisserie chicken with whisky glaze was excellent. I think if we had had a more knowledgeable server the experience would have been much better but unfortunately it gave off the wrong impression of the restaurant right from the start.


"I have been before a few times and love it however this time we only got four cocktails and the bar tender just kept trying to give us shots which we didn't want. There was a huge party on the table next to us who seemed to take up the bartenders attention so we were quite disappointed in the service this time.


Great atmosphere, amazing whiskeys & cocktails, tasty food and always friends people around.


One of the best Whiskey collections in London. Great food, welcoming atmosphere & you never know who you're going to bump into off Tele


A beautifully curated whisky selection with some of the globes finest and rarest available to taste.
The food menu and whisky pairings are delicious and the service is always friendly.


Best place in shoreditch real people and amazing whisky, to wash down some of the best food in town, don't walk past walk in you will not be disappointed


I love Whiskey and was treated to some very fine ones that I hadn't tried before. My goodness what a treat !! Love it Gx


Went for a day in Shoreditch and ended up just staying in Bull in a China Shop. The whisky marinated chicken was lovely, the whisky selection is brilliant and the staff were really good fun. They showed us how they made some of their cocktails and gave bit of history behind the Japanese whisky. A cracking little place that you should definitely check out.


Bloody delicious. Went with a friend pre-event (so we were in really early around 4ish). I recommend the whisky cocktails. We had three a piece and were very happy! Had cauliflower fritters to start which were so delicious we ordered a second lot. I had the marinated chicken and a sort of superfood salad. If only all salads were that delicious my waistline would not be so expanded. My dining companion had the burger and made very happy noises. For dessert we shared a crumble (which came with a cute cow jug full of custard. Yum. You know how you mean to try new things everytime you go back to a restaurant? I could eat that meal all day, every day. Nom. 


Friendly staff and they made an effort to find us a table but that's about it. I got served the smallest burger I have ever seen. It was essentially a small black bun with a VERY little slice of crab, all for £10! and tasted entirely of vinegar, and then a portion of fries for an extra ££. I then tried a whisky which they advised for me but for £7 all my friends thought it was horrible and tasted exactly like JD. Wouldn't recommend. They really just want your money. 

Tastemaker

Whatever everyone is on in here, I want some and I think it's the BBQ sticky ribs. I must have been to places where staff are friendly, but what is so remarkable about here is that everyone seemed genuinely happy to see us.  As I laboured over the menu, the bar girl gave me well-advised tips on each drink. The doorman was having a laugh with everyone and stood outside with me to have a look for my lost/late friend. Our server was happy to give us a couple of minutes to decide what we wanted. That's what makes this place 5 stars for me - though the food (oh the food) nudges it up there too. Imagine an umami-licious southern barbecue meets smokey Japanese whisky joint. I ordered BBQ sticky ribs which was possibly one of the best choices of my week: the ribs were sticky and sweet and the meat fell off the bone. I also ordered a side of plantain which was probably unnecessary because the ribs came with a pottle of baked butternut squash wedges, but the little salad it came with was quite welcome. There was also a delicious pink slaw with some sort of crack dressing. My dinner date had a Panko chicken burger with a black (charcoal) bun and frites, which he said were both delicious. All in all, a delicious, sizeable and reasonably priced meal. What you're really here for though is the whisky, and that's where you splurge. I recommend the Bos Taurus cocktail for £12 - Nikka whisky, maple syrup, lemon juice and maple glazed Asian pear, with a sweet but satisfying bite. 

Tastemaker

I went to Bull with great expectations. I had heard so much about it, I was setting myself up for failure. Luckily I was not too disappointed. The server was friendly as it was not packed she allowed us to pick where we wanted to sit. She had good knowledge of the menu, giving us time to look over it ourselves and draw our own conclusions. 

The atmosphere was relaxed on the tables side but at the bar it seemed very tense and the bartenders seems to be in their own little world. I am a massive fan of whisky and the bartenders knowledge of some of the rarer whiskeys on their menu was good. The cocktails were lovely and very flavoursome but there could of been more of a choice. I would go there again just to see what it's like on a crowded night although I do not think I would get the same friendly atmosphere, I fear it may be a hit and miss kind of place.

Tastemaker

I've wanted to try this place out for ages and finally got my chance! It's a cool venue inside with funky decor and the staff are friendly and attentive. Cocktails are imaginative and really tasty! The food, however, was a little disappointing. We got chicken and ribs to share. It was tasty but not as good as I was expecting. The ribs were nice and soft but the chicken was quite dry. The desserts pulled it back though - the brownie was gooey and super chocolatey and the crumble was exactly what I needed - especially as it came with a cute cow! I would definitely go back here for drinks (and maybe a cheeky dessert) but there are much better places for food nearby.

Tastemaker

Popped in here for a drink as Mr.MooseInLondon is fascinated by Japanese whisky. I had the wabi sabi and he some whisky neat. I did like how they asked if he wanted ice or not.... not assuming anything! Me not being a huge whisky fan-- I was pushing the boat out on mine, but it had enough sweetness to take away the sting of the spirit, which made me immensely happy. The bar staff were friendly and chatty, which is nice on a Friday night in Shoreditch. 


Food looked pretty good-- may give them a shout one day for lunch!


Also if you are into your ice--- they have giant clear chunks of it at the bar. Its fun to watch them sawing off a huge chunk--- its an art in and of itself!

Tastemaker

The menu is safe but slightly different from the norm to keep you interested, serving rotisserie chicken with a choice of salads. Recommend the rocket and mango salad. Also on the menu are baos, burgers etc all with a slightly Asian twist. Place is nicely decorated. Lots of whiskey on the drinks menu. Cocktails are steep at £12 but bet they're good. A definite recommend for their tasty chicken at lunch and looking forward to trying them out as an evening option.

Tastemaker

I went with my partner for lunch about a month ago on a Saturday and was very surprised to see that it was completely empty. It was also pretty dark inside which is great for an evening affair but not so great for lunch. The chicken was great though and served with three lovely salads, so great if you're trying to take the healthy route. 

"title"


My partner and I went once to the Bull a month ago and I can honestly say that this was the most unfriendly and arrogant and tense staff I've ever encountered in an already tense atmosphere. Drinks were good at least.


"Bull in a China Shop’ – a strange name for a bar"

That, Euan, is because it is not a bar, it is a restaurant.

A straight up restaurant, not a bar, not a bar-restaurant. Just trekked over there only to be turned away because they don't serve drinks without a meal. Nice one Euan, thanks for that.

So all I have to go on for a review is the surly disinterested way the staff spoke to me.

Oh well.

Snap up exclusive discounts in London

Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...