The best restaurants in Shoreditch
Music exec-turned-restaurateur Martin Morales hasn’t put a foot wrong since he launched Ceviche Soho and we went collectively loco for pisco sours. This large Shoreditch spin-off is a hoot: built on the same foundations as Ceviche (upbeat music, exotically zingy dishes and plentiful routes to a pisco-induced hangover), it changes the record slightly, adding Andean dishes, street food and a superfood slant. Close-set tables, sharing plates and a lively vibe put it firmly in Shoreditch’s ‘pleasure’ rather than ‘business’ camp.
Poised between the old-school City and the new world of the Silicon Roundabout, swanky Angler lures in suited-and-booted diners with its Michelin-starred seafood cookery and enviable location up on the seventh floor of the South Place Hotel. The food’s ultra-modern and impeccably crafted – a perfect fit for the dining room’s sophisticated vibe and gleaming monochrome interiors. Angler’s terrace is a rare asset in this part of town, while smooth-as-silk service is a bonus for the expense-account crowd.
Venue says This summer, Angler’s rooftop terrace has launched a picturesque bar in collaboration with artisanal gin producers, Cambridge Distillery.
It’s tattoos all-round at this biker café/boutique/barbers, which makes two-wheeled petrol-heads mainstream. You don’t have to roar up to these arches on a custom-made motor – everyone is welcome – but if you do, you can shake off your leathers and savour a flat white, or tuck into generous portions of good food (the likes of charcuterie platters, huevos rancheros and superfood salads alongside more predictably ‘biker’ dishes).
Venue says With more than 10,000-square feet of restaurant, lounge, shop and event space, Bike Shed offers something for all. We also have a barbers!
You can always judge a restaurant by its loo, and there’s a tapestry of frolicking nudes in the bogs at Blanchette East. Plus there’s another naked babe above the bar at this solid-gold date spot right on Brick Lane. Foodwise, this is decent bistro fare with a few twists – North African-inflected, with Provençal and Basque overtones – rejigged into small plates you’ll want to share.
A handsome, buzzy chophouse with a no-frills Basque-leaning menu, Brat has a sexy speakeasy style entrance: just a nameplate by the door. A set of pokey steps leads you up to a room above a former pub with glorious original features: wood panelling, arched windows, parquet floors. Expect smart service, a nice line in ‘things on toast’ and some serious signature dishes from the grill – beef chops, lobsters and the show-stopping whole turbot cooked in an iron cage over smoking wood.
As street-food supremos, the Burger & Beyond boys pride themselves on ageing and butchering the best home-reared meat, and now they’ve brought all their expertise to an urban hipster diner in Shoreditch. Their burgers are officially cooked ‘medium’ and despite the temptation to ‘double up’, a single patty is more than sufficient in its sturdy sesame brioche bun with essential additions. As for the ‘beyond’ bit – think chicken bites, lamb croquettes and addictive ‘dirty tots’.
This fresh pasta specialist buzzes with activity as its pasta-makers deftly roll and fold their product behind the counter of the small, whitewashed venue. Most people buy by weight to take away, although there is a sit-down ‘tasting area’ further back. The monthly changing menu offers just a handful of ‘folds’ with seasonal toppings, but the signature dish of agnolotti cavour – ravioli filled with pork, beef and spinach bathed in sage butter – is always available. The only gripe? Parmesan costs extra.
Butchies’ original street food stall made its name with fast fried chicken, but their first proper restaurant ups the ante by matching superlative nosh with friendly counter service and sharp decor. As the unofficial ‘chicken burger’ champions of London, they serve up delectable buttermilk-fried ‘sandwiches’ – big bacon-stacked numbers with playful names like ‘Jenny from the Block’. Also don’t write off their moreish chicken ‘strips’ served with house ‘OG’ sauce and extra dips if you want them (trust us, you will).
Everything about the Clove Club screams ‘look at me’, from the austere dining room and blue-tiled kitchen within Shoreditch’s old Town Hall to the intentionally avant-garde cooking and the tasting menu – a masterpiece of contemporary aspirations in nine courses. It’s British yet esoteric, accessible yet obscure, and it delivers absolutely ravishing flavours – just be warned that pre-payment is required when booking a ’ticket’ for dinner. Hot tip: the corner bar is a prime spot for cocktails and snacks.
A handsome glass-and-zinc building on a Spitalfields backstreet provides the striking backdrop for this head-turning café/restaurant from the people behind the Lundenwic coffee house. During the day, it’s all about organic bacon sarnies, coconut-milk porridge and Assembly Coffee, while evening brings more ambitious, skilfully cooked dishes ranging celeriac croquettes with moreish sage aïoli to pork belly in broth with pickled daikon. We also like Crispin’s airy, minimalist vibe and slick, helpful staff.
Wherever a branch of this slick Iran-via-India ‘café’ shows up, you’re guaranteed a fun time, and this Shoreditch branch is no different. The vast dining room, overseen by an army of friendly staff, is split into stylistically different sections – a Bombay-esque railway café here, a colonial-era verandah there. The menu is the same throughout: start with exotically spiced cocktails, then move onto inventive Indian small plates, with Dishoom signatures such as the black dal and Shoreditch specials including the slow-cooked lamb raan.
It’s fun, fun, fun all the way at this riotous Shoreditch spot – a cross between a chintzy curio-filled emporium and your Italian nonna’s parlour. You’re here for the good times, but there’s some very decent trattoria food on offer too (if you’re prepared to wait). The carbonara for two is a huge, rich bowlful of jollity, and it’s worth adding a few nibbles to start – perhaps a trio of snooker ball-sized crocchè (Italy’s answer to jamón croquetas). Oh, and just wait until you see the loos.
A tiny home-style Indian just round the corner from Brick Lane, Gunpowder stands head and shoulders above the rest of the curry mile. They’ve ditched stomach-bursting breads and creamy sauces in favour of complex, imaginative small plates – think spicy venison and vermicelli doughnuts, sigree-grilled mustard broccoli and Nagaland crispy pork ribs with tamarind kachumber, plus Old Monk rum pudding to finish. The owner is on hand to tell a personal tale about each dish, so pay attention.
The granddaddy of upmarket steakhouses, this original Spitalfields branch of the beefy Hawksmoor chain is a ruggedly masculine beast complete with an exposed brick bar that makes you want to order a thousand martinis. Get slabs of prime British-reared beef, yes. But also remember that the menu touts velvety grilled bone marrow, Old Spot belly ribs, lamb tomahawk steaks and no fewer than 16 amazing sides – including triple-cooked chips, mac ‘n’ cheese and a brilliant Caesar salad.
Neapolitan-style pizza might still reign supreme in London – think pillowy sourdough bases and spare scatterings of quality ingredients – but the good people of Homeslice are making a serious claim to the crown with their gargantuan New York-style pies. The 20-inch pizzas here are made for sharing, while toppings are genuinely well-considered: think kimchi, porcini cream and basil or spiced lamb with savoy cabbage and sumac yoghurt alongside standard margherita and salami numbers. You can get ’em by the slice too.
Lebanese restaurants don’t come more palatial than this seductive spot just off Devonshire Square. Set up by the guy behind the Comptoir Libanais chain, Kenza signals its intentions with flickering flames, scattered rose petals, water features and mosaics, while the party vibe peaks at the weekends with live music and belly dancing. As for the food, expect home-style dishes built for sharing – we like the lavish mashawy feast crowned by a tiered platter of fresh fruit, Turkish delight and mint tea.
You can now take the road to Mandalay without leaving the East End by visiting this Burmese star on the fringes of Shoreditch. Looking achingly stylish with its dark wood, chic upholstery and huge windows, Lahpet’s distinctive crossbreed of Thai and Indian cuisine is very much its own – if you don’t believe us, try one of their zingy signature salads spliced with split peas, shallots, tea leaves and fish. They also do lovely plates of hake and deep bowls of coconut noodles too.
Ellory is dead, long live Leroy. It’s the same team, and (almost) the same name as before, but this EC2 reboot of the short-lived Hackney star is more relaxed and miles better than the original in every department. Unfussy ingredients and clean, bright flavours come together in a cavalcade of small plates ranging from charred runner beans with almond cream and peach to confit rainbow trout with peas, sea herbs and lovage. There are some terrific wines by the glass too.
James Lowe was once a pop-up partner of Isaac McHale, and, like at McHale’s Clove Club, the no-choice, four-course dinner menu at Lowe’s cutting-edge solo restaurant goes big on foraged, oft-forgotten finds (dulse, verbena, ransoms), unusual cuts (monkfish liver, mutton breast) and very British ingredients (Jersey oysters, game, Neal’s Yard cheese). Lowe has worked under Fergus Henderson, and it shows: the clinical all-white dining room shares St John’s minimalism, while the beautifully presented dishes are dazzling yet restrained.
With casual counter seating for the cool kids, plus elegant marble tables for grown-up business meetings, this smart, contemporary gem has one foot in each of Shoreditch’s clientele camps. Turkish-Cypriot ingredients and dishes are given a modern, fusion spin: think smoky cocktails made with Cypriot brandy, or lahmacun flatbreads topped with marinated octopus, ricotta, herbs and honey, rolled up with crunchy salad. The buzz is lively, the staff are lovely, and the prices are gentle on the average wallet.
A Shoreditch offshoot of the Marylebone original, Pachamama infuses classic Peruvian cuisine with exciting ingredients from across the globe (especially the Far East). Expect creative small plates piled up with a rainbow of flavours, colours and textures – from sticky miso-cured carrot on risotto-style black quinoa with Peruvian kimchi to the must-order tapioca marshmallows with black mint and peanut sauce on the side. Everything is played out in a genuinely elegant, shabby-chic split-level space patrolled by passionate high-energy staff.
If ‘Friends’ was still relevant, Joey and co would have ditched Central Perk for somewhere like Pizza East by now (although they’d be the oldest people in there). Still, PES is very New York: a rustic-themed former warehouse with wall-to-wall wood and long shared tables, serving Italo-American nibbles, luxury pizzas, brunch and great cocktails. This being a Soho House venture, serious money has been thrown at everything, from staff training to creating exactly the right vibe. Great for groups.
What d’ya get if you meld the small-plates creativity of Bocca di Lupo, the top-quality ingredients of River Café, the magpie culinary gleanings of Morito and an ex-kickboxer chef who trained under Theo Randall? Popolo, that’s what. The food at this tiny Rivington Street joint is stunning, too. Check out the deep-fried olives, agnolotti pasta parcels filled with veal shoulder and the two-day-marinated bavette with chimichurri and you’ll see what we mean.
Margot Henderson’s awfully well known ‘hidden treasure’ is a dinky, discreet restaurant located in the bike shed of a former school. Inside, things are prettily low-key, with white walls and jugs of flowers on the tables; on warm days, snap up the sought-after spaces in the allotment-cum-yard. The short daily menu deals in simple seasonal fare such as grilled sardines and tomato, braised rabbit with potato and anchovy or onglet with caponata. This is heart-and-soul dining that should really cost more – not that we’re complaining.
Raising the ‘steaks’ (sorry!) in the capital’s meat market, this vast Shoreditch branch of a highly respected Basque steakhouse chain is all about rustic, peasant-style cookery – although you’ll need deep pockets to pay for its pricey platefuls. That said, eating here is a sound investment: the signature txuletón, for example, is expertly grilled over oak until smokily charred on the outside and perfectly pink in the middle. There are also wines aplenty to accompany your chosen cut.
A permanent Shoreditch home for the cult street-food vendors, this stygian semi-industrial space feels like a medieval nightclub complete with throbbing beats and a man-tastic meat-loving vibe. Beef brisket is the top call on the menu, and it comes two ways – as a single hunk of flesh or shredded and snuggled inside a pillowy, slightly sweet bun with a lick of barbecue sauce and bone-marrow butter. We also rate Smokestak’s lavishly seasoned, long-smoked beef ribs very highly.
The brazen Shoreditch reincarnation of Soho’s teeny-weeny Smoking Goat promises smack-in-the-face Thai barbecue in a jam-packed industrial-meets-rustic setting – all smoke, loud music and high-strength alcohol. The food is laced with volcanically hot ‘mouse-drop’ chillies, and the flavours will hit you for six (try the lardo fried rice or the signature fish-sauce chicken wings) – although your wallet won’t be seriously dented, even if you go heavy on the booze. Mind you, this really is ‘drinking food’ at its best.
With its full-frontal, never-dumbed-down flavours from Thailand’s north-eastern provinces, the cooking at this cavernous, moody and exotic destination is guaranteed to blow you away. Unforgettable dishes include deep-fried sea bass with regional herbs and a dry jungle curry made with guinea fowl – but don’t miss the silky palm-sugar ice cream (think burnt toffee and salt), matched with grilled turmeric-tinged banana. Once you eat at Som Saa, you may never order pad thai again.
St John’s Spitalfields offshoot has the same workaday style as its Smithfield parent: a bright, white, canteen-like space with a utilitarian bakery counter in one corner. The menu is an exploration of under-appreciated British ingredients (especially gutsy meats), from renowned bacon sandwiches at breakfast to no-frills plates of blood cake with fried egg and brown sauce, sweetbreads with carrots and aïoli or Dexter beef mince on dripping toast. Fish, veggie treats and nursery puds such as treacle tart complete the offer.
Two open prepping stations jostle for the limelight at this cool but classy Shoreditch eatery: one is an icy raw bar; the other is dominated by meat carcases and a smouldering wood-fired oven. It’s not especially radical, but the food is quietly self-assured, with dabs of creativity applied to its pretty European plates – perhaps burnt leek with almond cream, wild sea bass crudo with lardo or nicely charred bavette with green peppercorns and laver seaweed. Be warned: the bill can escalate quickly.
Stretching across one bendy swathe of the Broadgate Circle foodie complex, this offshoot of Soho’s Michelin-starred Yauatcha looks a bit like an extremely glamorous spaceship. Inside, the long room seems to go on forever, while superior dim sum is the main attraction on the food front – don’t miss the sublime venison puffs, the translucent crab dumplings or the wonderfully slippery scallop shu mai. Of course, the whole place is chock full of city slickers, but service and cooking are both top drawer.
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