Time Out says
It might jump the shark slightly with the seasonal/local theme, but this pub can't be faulted for its excellent food, drinks, service and ambience.
The ‘seasonal and local food’ mantra is taken to silly heights at this gastropub in the heart of London’s East End, where salad leaves and some herbs for the kitchen are grown in planters on the roof garden. It’s a bit of fun – and maybe a bit of on-trend window-dressing too. No roof garden can keep a busy kitchen in produce. But ignore the pathos of such tokenism, because everything else about this pub – drinks, service, ambience and, above all, the excellent dishes – towers over any commitment to high-level horticulture.
Culpeper (formerly the Princess Alice) occupies a corner site facing Petticoat Lane Market. It was a Truman’s pub for much of the last 130 years, and remains a handsome Victorian inn, with the brewery signage preserved. The new owners have improved the frontage, laid beautiful parquet floors, installed a curvaceous bar and added industrial-style lighting – the result is a treat, fitting perfectly with both building and location.
Even more useful than adding a roof garden or having a good eye for Ercol chairs is being able to pick a good chef. Sandy Jarvis was formerly head chef at the acclaimed Terroirs, and his style is recognisable: unfussy dishes; simple presentation; great terrines; a focus on flavour.
‘Pig’s head’ croquettes contained shreds of unctuous pork, their flavour-packed fattiness contrasting with the sharp and vinegary tang of pickled walnuts. A ploughman’s was equally to the point: peppery, rich meat with a simple pickle, an apple and a wedge of sharp cheese.
The details are good where they matter: sardines were simply grilled, and served with a nutty romesco sauce the deep red of ripe peppers. The ingredients are unfailingly fresh too: a globe artichoke was pert and fleshy, and came with spiced crab butter. Prices are fair; the terrific bread and anchovy butter are free.
Culpeper offers an easy mix of drinking and dining in the same space – it’s a proper gastropub, not a pub with a dining room – and the beers will please any real ale enthusiast. On our visit, these included zesty Mad Goose Purity pale ale, hoppy summer ale from Hop Back, and session ales from Hogs Back and Fuller’s. There are also several London craft brews by the bottle, a French and Italian wine list that is entirely organic, a decent cocktail list and even some excellent own-made soft drinks.
Culpeper – named after Nicholas Culpeper, the seventeenth-century English herbalist, who lived in nearby Spitalfields – is a tonic for any East Ender.
40 Commercial Street
|Transport:||Tube: Liverpool Street; Aldgate East. Overground: Shoreditch High Street|
|Opening hours:||11am-midnight Tue-Thur; 11am-2am Fri-Sat; 11am-11pm Sun.|
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Users say (25)
Average User Rating
4 / 5
- 5 star:9
- 4 star:12
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:1
Roast Potato Rant Warning!
I really don't understand why Culpeper keeps appearing on the list of London's best Sunday roasts. When it first opened I was really excited to have one of the 'best sunday roasts in London' on my doorstep. The reality, however, is that on the three occasions we've tried the roast it's been terribly disappointing.
I will interrupt my rant to say that my friends and I have had some nice 'small plates' here - we even returned the day after to have the same dishes with different friends as we were so impressed - so this is not an overall negative review. I just don't think that you should offer roast potatoes if you can't deliver them crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Sadly on the three occasions we've tried the roast we've been faced with pale, lukewarm imitations with grey/yellowish interiors that look and taste like they were cooked the day before. I do appreciate the hard work it takes to deliver a Sunday service of nicely roasted potatoes - and the Culpeper's kitchen isn't that large - but even when we've asked for crisp potatoes - explaining our previous disappointment and paying extra for a separate bowl to make the point we're happy to pay for quality - we were again presented with old and tired potatoes that we've picked at and then had to leave.
We've mentioned our disappointment every time and whilst the service is usually very good, our comments have been ignored/not followed up/fixed. We've now tried the roast three times and will likely end up trying it again at some point next year, in the hope that it will have improved. The sad thing is that if only they could get this element right we'd probably be there every other weekend as we live just 5 minutes away and its a nice place to hang out when the city hoards are away for the weekend!
Great pub with a lovely little garden on the rooftop – not many people seem to know about this place so it’s a great find in the city with some decent views over the City. On the times we’ve visited the rooftop has only been open for a portion of the day so best to book in advance or come during off-peak hours to secure a table. The service is great with super attentive staff and the summer cocktails are delicious. The only downside of the rooftop garden is it tends to close earlier than you would think for dinner service. You can carry on drinking downstairs in the pub area which is equally nice but if you’re looking for drinks in the sun, be sure to arrive early to make the most of the beautiful space upstairs.
Having only visited for drinks I can not comment on the food, but I do enjoy a good afternoon in this place! The staff are really friendly, if you are unsure on what to drink feel free to ask for a small taster, but to be honest they will offer you this anyway!
Great place to head to in the summer as there is lovely roof terrace with great views of the city!
A beautiful antique, eclectic decor style bar and restaurant spreads over three floors and a rooftop. It's even a B&B! My favourite part of the culpepper (besides the beautiful interior) was the roofgarden! Its small and intimate, seated - a great date spot. Drinks from the other floors can be brought up, but they will have to have it poured in plastic.
Lovely, spacious pub with rustic/vintage decor. There's a small space to eat downstairs near the bar but the vast and more desirable place to eat is on the first floor. They also have a beautiful roof top space where a garden provides herbs etc. for the kitchen.
The food was delicious. I ordered a roast cauliflower starter which was accompanied by a fresh green salad and a couple of zingy dressings. Next, I ordered Caponata with fried Sheep's cheese and it was wonderful. Incredibly tasty and the right balance of flavours - a real joy. My husband had slow roasted lamb shoulder which satisfied his hankering for a Sunday lunch.
Would highly recommmend stopping by for a meal if you're passing through the Petticoat or Brick lane markets at the weekend.
Beautiful gastro pub near Liverpool Street station. Gorgeous understated decor and a great selection of drinks. I visited the 'pub' area on the ground floor, but I believe there is a more formal dining area on the first floor and a gorgeous rooftop garden which I'll certainly be visiting soon. Service is friendly, slightly on the pricey side, but completely worth it for the atmosphere. Good place for a casual date or get together with friends.
This pub has a great vibe, very lively but cosy. The décor is nice and they have a rooftop that grows vegetables, the view of the city isn't great but you can still see parts of the city Skyline.
One of the best Sunday roast I have had in London. Staff and service both on point.
Another gem in east London, love the old Victorian decor, place is tastefully done and people are nice and friendly. Came here for drinks on a Saturday afternoon because of the famous Bloody Mary and it was pretty packed.
Didn't manage to try the food but I will definitely be back because I have seen the food served on some tables and definitely looks mouth watering. Would love to explore the rooftop in summer. Do check out this place and I believe it will definitely be worth your time!
This place use to be my local and it’s just a great solid reliable gastropub. In the summer, the rooftop is open and has a grilled menu (the grilled chicken is succulent and very flavoursome) which gives you a lovely little place to soak up the sunshine; and in the colder months, there’s a very comfy restaurant on the first floor and a more relaxed pub atmosphere on the ground level. They have a good selection of wine, beer and spirits, friendly service, and a solid menu. Can’t ask for more really.
What we had:
- Deep fried black pudding balls with red eye mayonnaise
- Harissa hummus with crispy potato skins
- Pig’s head terrine with crackling and pickled onions
- Cottage pie with kale on the side
The black pudding was very moreish and the kick in the mayonnaise helped cut through the heaviness of it all. Those crispy potato skins were indeed really crispy; however the Harissa hummus could have been a little smoother so that it was picked up by the crips a little easier, but hey, I wasn’t complaining - they were good! The crackling on the pig’s head terrine was a little disappointing; however the cottage pie was delicious and the mashed potatoes in nice and toasted peaks on top. I even liked the kale which was crisp and not soggy or overdone - and I’m not usually known for liking kale at all.
Tip: try the rooftop in the summer! Get in a little earlier if you want seating on the ground floor as they tend to get very busy.
Good For: large groups, rooftop in the summer, catching up with friends, casual dinner/lunch/drinks.
Best Pub in the Area! Always the freshest most in season ingredients, very environmentally concerned. Super friendly team!
Terrified experience, the worst food I have ever had in the world! definitely never go again!
We waited for 2 hour for the roof top garden ,
I have ordered a bottle of cider , it comes with two glass of diluted cider with full of iced.
The food were the most terrified things
We ordered 3 main dishes, one lamp chop and one pork and one gilled fish - they were all come with really sightly cooked , extremely small portion in a big empty plate , no source , no veggi, no french fried , nothing . We were very dispointed as the food are completely different for the photos shown on the wedsite with fully dressing.
The fish smelled bad , all the living organs were still stuff inside the fish.
We have ordered a Cabbage, they gilled it badly which turned into black and hard and dry which cant even put into mouth!
I would really not recommend anyone to go there and wont never come back again!
Didn't sample many beers but did have an outstanding lunch there - lamb followed by the tart for pudding. Will definitely be back for some drinks!
Great rooftop marred by poor and inattentive bordering on rude service, so so food including two portions of chicken that weren't properly cooked and drinks list that reads as far more promising than the reality. Overall, in an area with loads of great venues, a pretty rooftop won't be enough to bring us back.
As a craft beer lover, I was excited to visit The Culpeper. With a slick and fairly recent opening, a snazzy website and a decent refurb, all the signs were there for it to be an excellent addition to City nightlife. It’s based in the less trendy end of Commercial Street, where you’re more likely to see a dead cat in the road than a hipster with an almighty beard.
The Culpeper is, essentially, worth a visit but doesn’t set the world alight.
Plusses include the décor, which is certainly attractive to look at and creates a pleasant yet dingy atmosphere. However, the keg selection is pretty poor for a bar which prides itself on beer, although there are bottles aplenty (at pretty steep prices).
Overall, worth a visit. But don’t plan a night out around it.
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