East London is a stomping ground for coffee enthusiasts, and we've rounded up our favourite cafés. Be tempted by a light brunch at Leila's Shop, a connoisseur's brew at Prufrock Coffee or something more hearty at Albion at The Boundary Project. Try Time Out's guide to the best cafés in Shoreditch to satisfy those early morning cravings.
East London: stomping ground of the coffee connoisseurs. No-one should pass through Shoreditch without a pilgrimage to Prufrock. What’s the big fuss? Mainly that the shiny Victoria Arduino espresso machine has been operated by top coffee names, from the 2009 Swedish Barista Champion Mattias Björklund to the UK’s first World Barista Champion, Gwylim Davies.
Albion describes itself somewhat self-consciously as a ‘caff’, but no greasy spoon in London was ever designed and owned by Terence Conran, and certainly none has its own maître d’. But in spirit, at least, it is something approaching a café for 21st-century Shoreditch – a place where locals can drop in for a casual breakfast, lunch or dinner, or just a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
Venue says: “Friendly Sunday cafe with delicious coffee, cakes and pastries. We also offer a fully bespoke cake, canape and wedding cake service.”
Lily Jones (aka Lily Vanilli) carved out a solid, celebrity-packed fan base well before opening her own bakery. Her foray into sculptural, macabre cake creations (roadkill cake, gingerbread gravestones, marzipan beetles) gave sweet treats a contemporary, anti-cute makeover and set her far apart from the mainstream cupcake clan.
This original branch of Nude just never stops being busy, even at times of the day that should be quiet. The enduring popularity has a pretty simple explanation: quality and (relative) consistency. That, plus a sizeable local catchment area encompassing business as well as residential custom.
Burger & Lobster Threadneedle Street
Please note, Burger and Lobster is now fully a la carte and prices have changed. Time Out Food editors, January 2018. This City branch of Burger & Lobster has its lobster tank on view, so you can see what you'll be eating, if you're into that kind of thing. Alternatively you can watch the bartenders whip you up a fancy cocktail from the comfort of a barstool, or sit down to a more private meal at your own table. Born from the minds of four schoolmates on a rooftop in London, this restaurant chain grew from a pop-up in a Mayfair boozer to ten branches London-wide, and more to boot around the the world. In case the name isn't enough of a hint, these guys specialise in lobsters and burgers. It might come across gimmicky, but ignore that initial impression because if you're after good lobster, you'd be hard pressed to find it at better value for money than here. You can get a lobster (boiled, grilled or in a brioche roll with mayo) with a substantial salad and french fries for £23-£36, depending on how you have it and which branch you're in. For a smaller budget, the beef burgers will set you back £16.
Venue says: “Simply the best burger and lobster in town!”