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Culpeper

Bars and pubs, Gastropubs Whitechapel
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(24user reviews)
Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer
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Paul Winch-Furness

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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.

Culpeper says
The Culpeper public house sits on the corner of Commercial Street, opposite Petticoat Lane. It's set over four floors, to include a pub, restaurant, rooms and rooftop greenhouse and garden. Delicious food, good booze, friendly staff and a beautiful restored building provide its unique atmosphere.

By: Guy Dimond

Posted:

Details

Address: 40 Commercial Street
London
E1 6LP
Transport: Tube: Liverpool Street; Aldgate East. Overground: Shoreditch High Street
Contact:
Opening hours: 11am-midnight Tue-Thur; 11am-2am Fri-Sat; 11am-11pm Sun.
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Users say (24)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:11
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|24
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tastemaker

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. 

Tastemaker

So far I’ve only knew Culpeper from the overcrowded after work drinks. The restaurant upstairs remained a mystery, until today. The rainy mid-week turned out to be a perfect time to test their food as the place was nice and quiet with only a few people eating their late lunches in the Kitchen. The menu is modern, short but diverse and you can choose between big sharing plates and smaller ones.

I started with sea bream ceviche (with chilli, coriander, pickled cucumber and ginger-which was completely lost or forgotten) which was served in a pleasant delicate sauce but was slightly fishy. I wouldn’t say it was the best in London I’ve had. It was followed by wild mushroom risotto, which was delicious and aromatic, but a bit too salty for my liking. We were also served a perfect sourdough with anchovies butter which was also slightly fishy, but this time in a good way.

When you dine there, look up at the ceiling. One of the most weirdest you've seen.

Tastemaker

I came to the Culpeper a couple of weeks ago to celebrate a friend's birthday. I wasn't expecting anything above standard pub fare, however I was pleasantly surprised. I ordered the gnocchi, which I have to say was probably the nicest gnocchi I've had in my entire life! Every bite just kept getting better and better, I absolutely loved it. Friends ordered some of the roast options, which included chicken or bavette steak, both of which looked delicious. My boyfriend had the baked cod, which was nice but had nothing on the gnocchi. The restaurant had a great atmosphere and was lovely and light; I'd happily return for drinks or to try more of the food. 

tastemaker

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!

tastemaker

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.

tastemaker

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.

tastemaker

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.

Tastemaker

Surely the ultimate London local? It's hard to fault The Culpeper - it delivers on style, substance and vibes all around and absolutely every time I visit. The rooftop makes the ultimate evening hangout whilst your waiting for those nearby restaurant queues to die down, the restaurant the floor below serves much of it's own fantastic fare should you fancy staying and the pub on the ground level is a wide-open, high-ceilinged affair whose atmosphere never disappoints. 

Tastemaker

The Culpeper – A London Pub, 40 Commercial Street hotel restaurant and pub. Beautiful features in a well preserved Victorian building.

The pub area is quite large with tables and bench seating, the restaurant upstairs is a mixture of booths and tables. Service wasn’t the best, in that it took a while to get someone’s attention but the food was good and the atmosphere pleasant.

A nice local for people in the area and for anyone organising a get together with friends, everything under one roof.

tastemaker

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.


Tastemaker

The classy but relaxed restaurant at the Culpeper is a world away from the loud and overflowing pub on the ground floor. Once seated we waited at least five minutes for menus to be brought over, but after this, service was quite attentive. You can reserve tables which is always nice, but even on a Saturday night at 8:00 the restaurant wasn't completely full so walking in may also be possible. The menu isn't large, with three starters, three mains and five desserts but this was still enough for us all to have something that we liked on the menu. I went for the vegetarian gnocchi which was the cheapest main at £12.50. There was also cod and pork which my friends both said were delicious. Portions weren't huge, but they were enough. For dessert we shared a blood orange panna cotta and rhubarb crumble which were both lovely. Although the Culpeper is a pub, the food definitely seems to be a bit more upscale and the prices reflect this. Three mains, four glasses of wine, and two desserts came to £90 with service.

tastemaker

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!

tastemaker

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!

Tastemaker

We went here last summer after seeing a picnic on the roof advertised in timeout

X price (can't remember now) for a hamper with lots of home made goodies inc pudding 
We got there at 6.30 and were taken up to the roof garden which has a lovely view over Shoreditch and also is their garden where they grow herbs etc 
There was someone serving drinks which were yum
Then half hour later they brought us our picnic which was pretty tasty! 
Also blankets as it was a bit chilly
Lovely idea and well executed
Pub downstairs also looks good. Not sure about the rest of the food though but would go back to try it!

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!

Tastemaker

One of the coolest bars in East London, which is saying a lot since East London is the land of cool bars. A good range of craft beers (they had BBNO and Brixton when I was there) and the bartenders are extremely friendly. You can easily spend hours chatting to those guys. Didn't get to try the food but will definitely want to go back for the food as the dining room is spacious and the menu looks tantalising. 

Tastemaker

The area it's in means the mix of people it's bizarre! City worker, students, hipsters... And me!

Such a cool place, beautiful bar, plants everywhere, great drinks selection and if it hadn't been raining (it's a pity you can't review the British Summer!) we would have sat on the roof terrace!

I'm gutted I didn't get to try the food, the menu looked great, but I'll definitely be back so more to come...!


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.


The Culpeper


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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