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Blanchette East

Brick Lane restaurants

From curry houses to bagels and posh restaurants to street food, Brick Lane’s restaurants span every continent and budget

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Until recently, Brick Lane’s restaurant scene was known for one thing: curry. After newly arrived Bengali immigrants set up Indian restaurants here in the ’60s and ’70s, Brick Lane became the place to go for curry and BYO beer – and you’ll still find plenty of these old-school joints among Brick Lane’s restaurants, many employing ‘tikka touts’ offering meal deals to get passers-by through the door. But over the last decade or so there’s been an explosion in new Brick Lane restaurants run by a trendier new wave of arrivals. Today’s Brick Lane restaurants include vegan joints, fried chicken restaurants, upscale dining spots that would have been unthinkable here 20 years ago and the (in)famous cereal café. Get stuck in with our guide below.

Also nearby: check out the best restaurants in Shoreditch and our guide to Liverpool Street restaurants.

Restaurants in Brick Lane

Sheba
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Brick Lane

A Brick Lane stalwart, Sheba has been knocking out dishes from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan for more than 40 years. It's been in the same family all that time. The menu is typical curry house fare – think samosas, onion bhajis and tandoori lamb chops to start followed by mains of chicken tikka masala, lamb bhuna, prawn vindaloo and a number of biryani dishes. Signature dishes such as shorisha chicken, lamb noorani and king prawn malabar look interesting.  Drinks include a short selection of wines, pints of Cobra and Kingfisher and lassi. John Smith's is conspicuous by its absence - Sheba was the setting for one of their TV adverts, starring Peter Kay. 

Blanchette Shoreditch
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Brick Lane

You can always judge a restaurant by its loo – which is why I was pleased to see the tapestry of frolicking nudes at Blanchette East. This toilet said: naughty but nice, fun with a certain je ne sais quoi. There’s another naked babe above the bar; clearly, this Shoreditch spin-off of popular Soho hangout Blanchette doesn’t take itself too seriously. Foodwise, think decent bistro fare with a few twists – North African-inflected, with Provençal and Basque overtones – rejigged into small plates you’ll want to share. I could’ve left happy after the snack alone, a merguez sausage roll with harissa mayo for dunking – spicy, flaky and ever-so-slightly sweetened by the onion confit. Ooh la la. A divisive-sounding escargot surf n’ turf of seared hanger steak topped with (shell-less) snails, parsley, garlic and a velvety onion purée was a highlight. Lamb tagine was no less gorgeous, speckled with almonds, its richness cut by whipped labheh. Green bean and comté salad and pomegranate couscous were also exquisite. My rose-tinted specs did have to come off when dessert arrived; a chilled peach and saffron ‘soup’ was redolent of shop-bought smoothie and a coconut macaroon was inedibly brittle. Zingy basil sorbet fared better, but I’d stick to post-prandial cocktails instead. Because hey, not everything can be perfect. Blanchette East is a solid-gold date night option; or, if you want to romp in a group, request the lovely back table, secluded by frosted glass and velvet drapes. Like I said

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Caboose
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Brick Lane
  • price 1 of 4

Occupying what was once a derelict train cabin, Caboose is parked up at the Old Truman Brewery where it peddles its smoky BBQ meats, burgers, ‘dirty rice’ and Fairtrade coffee to crowds of Shoreditch hipsters. However, the most interesting thing about this set-up is its offer of private parties with BYOB (plus nominal £5 corkage). Here’s the deal: the owners cook at three-course menu (£35) in front of up to 13 guests who are welcome to bring their own booze – there’s a big ice chest by the door and extra fridge space if you need it. They’ll even decorate the space free of charge if it’s a special occasion. A typical menu might kick off with smoky nibbles and dips ahead of a hunk of pulled pork or hickory-smoked brisket with buttermilk jalapeño slaw and roast garlic mash – plus apple crumble to finish. The cabin is yours for the evening, although there’s a strict curfew at 11.15pm.  

Brick Lane Beigel Bake
  • Restaurants
  • Jewish
  • Brick Lane

What do we love most about this institution? Perhaps the brilliant moist salt beef, carved as you wait from a slab kept warm in the front window, or the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese, or the bagels (boiled before being baked) these fillings go into. Or could it be the 24-hour opening with hot bread pulled fresh from the ovens all night, or a Brick Lane location that makes this the snack stop of choice for clubbers, imbibers and taxi drivers? Indulge in a piece of New York-style cheesecake or a super-sweet almond slice if you wish (ignore the pastry-heavy sausage rolls), but remember that the bagels are what have kept punters coming back since 1977. A narrow counter caters for eaters-in. And if there’s too long a queue, try the Beigel Shop two doors down – there isn’t really, truth be told, all that much difference between these longstanding Brick Lane rivals. Discover more great places to visit in Shoreditch

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  • Restaurants
  • Brick Lane

There's much debate over which of the Brick Lane bagel shops is better: The Yellow One (this one) or The White One (Beigel Bake). And you'll find patrons fiercely defending their choices with arguments including: The Yellow One has been here longer (over a century longer, in fact), but it sells bacon, which White One fans will dub un-Jewish and blasphemous on a bagel. The truth is, they're both as good as each other, especially when those hunger pangs surface in the early hours and can only be satiated by a salt beef bagel. We suggest simply joining the shorter queue.

DF Tacos
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Brick Lane

 The ‘DF’, in case you were wondering, stands for ‘Distrito Federal’ – what Mexicans call the conurbation of Mexico City, a vast sprawl bigger than Greater London. Not that you’ll find many Mexicans in this Whitechapel namesake. Plenty of attentive graphic designers and off-duty DJs, maybe, but not many Spanish-speaking North Americans raised on corn, beans and chili. For DF is very ‘London’. It’s a fashionable and affordable modern Mexican diner created by the Wahaca chain. They are dabbling in something even more mass-market and affordable than Wahaca’s cool Mexican cantina format. DF still bears a lot of Wahaca signatures –  strikingly modern design, cheery staff, reservations not taken – and will be a long-running popup (until 2015 at least). It feels and looks like a pilot for a new chain in the making.  How can DF be cheaper than Wahaca? No table ordering keeps staffing costs low. You sit down, leave your bag and jacket behind for opportunistic thieves to eye up, then queue at the counter to use the supermarket-style touchscreen. There are real humans working behind the tills too though, and they can take your order if the touchscreen drives you loco. But this part of the experience is about as much fun as being told you have an unidentified item in the bagging area. Then a human brings you your booze, you collect your soft drinks from the self-service coolers, and wend your way back through the forest of awkwardly-placed chair legs – the bag snatchers don’t have a chan

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Preem
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Brick Lane

This Brick Lane curry house is one of the oldest going around these parts, having originally set up shop here back in 1963. It's a big spot, too, capable of catering to 200 hungry mouths.   The menu is peppered with curry house crowd-pleasers – think butter chicken, lamb korma, masala dosa, vegetable dansak and prawn jalfrezi. Keep an eye out, though, for less well-known dishes such as lemon chana lamb or chicken khaiber - a dish of half a spring chicken cooked in the tandoor then served in a tomato and fresh garlic sauce. And if you want to know how they cook them? Sign yourself up for one of their weekly cookery classes. 

All Star Lanes
  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Brick Lane

Bowling, booze and bites combine at this popular Brick Lane spot.

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Aladin
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Brick Lane

In the heart of Bangla Town, Aladin serves dishes from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan through an extensive menu, which includes plenty of balti and tandoori dishes, with a good number of fish and vegetarian options. Though the restaurant is unlicensed, customers may take advantage of a 20% discount deal with the off licence next door, and there is no charge for corkage.

Papadoms
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Brick Lane

Papadoms is a Brick Lane-based Indian restaurant that has won the Best Curry Chef award at the Brick Lane Curry Festival three times. The kitchen here has made a name for itself by mixing traditional curry favourites with unusual specialities, such as the roopchanda and king prawn malaai.  

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