For a sumptuously satisfying feed, Shoreditch is a safe bet. Expect fantastic steaks at Hawksmoor, and if you're after something a little different, head to Rochelle Canteen. Check out Time Out's guide to the best restaurants in Shoreditch for even more options. And don't forget to read our guides to Shoreditch bars and clubs.
Hawksmoor’s USP is in supplying excellent produce cooked well, focusing on top-quality beef from renowned London butcher Ginger Pig. There’s a serious attitude to beef provenance and an impressive list of breeds; Longhorn is always available, but guest breeds range from Herefords to Lincoln Reds.
Eating at Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson’s daytime-only spot remains a distinctive treat: entry is via a buzzer on a tiny door in the wall of an old Victorian school on Arnold Circus, now a hub of creative studios. Inside, a handful of outdoor tables and a former bike shed converted into an airy, modern space act as the canteen for the creatives working here, and those lucky outsiders in the know.
‘Wham-bam, thank you m’am’ – the new normal for London’s restaurants. Book ahead? You’re having a laugh. Queue? Of course. Meals come and go at breakneck speed, and before you can even settle into your faux-distressed school chair, the bill appears and you’re out on your ear, wondering if it was all just a dream. If that’s the kind of fast and furious that floats your boat, then you should probably give Lyle’s a swerve.
Boho Mexica’s claims to authenticity rely on its domestic labour-of-love approach – chef Tía Patty, the owner’s aunt, uses recipes learnt from her mother. While a starter of bland guacamole disappointed, painstaking care showed through in another of slow-cooked beef brisket, and crispy tostadas of green plantain topped with prawns and roasted habanero peppers had us happily glugging back our cocktails.
There’s never a dull mouthful at Andina, which charms your tastebuds with its Peruvian-inspired ceviches, street food, cocktails and colourful smoothies. Andina is the second branch of the fun-loving Ceviche, but rather than imitating its older Soho sibling, it has new tricks, some of them inspired by the food of the Andes.
Sit in Dishoom's basement dining room and you can watch the Indian chefs at work. Our seekh kebabs arrived well spiced, the minced lamb juicy, served piping hot from the grill. Many more distinctively Bombay dishes are on the menu, including bhel (a spicy puffed-rice snack) and pau bhaji (spicy vegetables in a bread roll).
The dining space at the Rivington Grill is calm and white, with crisp linen and enough of both formality and trendiness to gratify different audiences. Contemporary art such as a Tracey Emin light sculpture add a splash of Shoreditch cool. Menus follow the distinctively British style set by Mark Hix, chef-supremo of Caprice group when the Rivington opened.
After over a decade in existence, Eyre Brothers is a trusted local fixture, equally attractive to couples, Shoreditch’s young movers ’n’ shakers and suited City persons deep in lunchtime conversation. The low-ceilinged, dark-wood and leather design helps – it’s contemporary-classic without flimsy trendiness.
After a promising start, Mark Hix’s chicken and steak restaurant has lost some allure. The room remains a winning combination of fun, glamour and heritage: a Damien Hirst cow and chicken in formaldehyde suspended over the main dining room makes a striking first impression.
The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch
This Curtain Road venue is close in style and sentiment to its big sister, The Blues Kitchen over in Camden. Expect, then, a restaurant, bar and music venue with a hefty Stateside influence - from its bourbon and its barbecues all the way to its blues. Music does have a big part to play here. There's live artists pretty much every night of the week, with everything from rock 'n' roll to swing, motown, roots and even gospel complementing all that smokey blues. Keep an eye out for nights where food and music combine in happy harmony - think bargain ribs gnawed to a soundtrack of soul. An in-house barbecue, with meats smoked over fruit woods in their own fire pit, is kept busy - orders of beef brisket, smoked chicken, short beef ribs and burnt ends glazed with a beer and hickory barbecue sauce prove popular. Burgers, chilli, lobster, gumbo and a catfish jambalaya also feature.