Shoreditch is east London’s Soho — and that means it’s both a creative nerve-centre, trendy-but-increasingly-commercial, and a hotbed of exciting and varied restaurants. Shoreditch, which here is defined as running a little way down Old Street, a little way up Kingsland Road, and across to Spitalfields, includes, variously, some of the city’s most interesting modern British restaurants, a brilliant, comparatively unknown pastificio, one of London’s best American-style barbecue restaurants, the city’s best bánh mì shop and, now, four Michelin-starred restaurants. Plus, much more. It’s got almost everything. Here’s 24 of the best.Read More
Where to Eat in Shoreditch
St. John, shengjianbao, Michelin stars, pizza, Cantonese roast meats, lemon meringue pie — and much more
The Clove Club
High-end but not fusty; low-key but impeccable service. One of Britain's most talented chefs, Isaac McHale has put in time at high-profile spots Noma and The Ledbury. Stunning, meandering tasting menus — chiefly British — with flashes of flavour from such cuisines as India and Japan in the dining room.
Kêu Banh Mi Deli
Bánh mì is a deceptively difficult dish to nail. Where many would-be bánh mì makers try, most fall flat. But Kêu delivers with an assortment of crisp Vietnamese baguettes, steamed buns and noodle and rice bowls. Scattered around London, the delis are the newest addition to the Vietnamese Kitchen portfolio. The Shoreditch locale is bright, airy and punctuated with wood finishes. In a rush, grab the bánh mì heo quay, which packs in crisp, wobbly pork belly. And a tip: season your baguette with extra Maggi ‘Arome’ liquid, provided in bottles for free.
Also in the Vietnamese Kitchen family that runs Kêu, Cây Tre specialises in Vietnamese cuisine but concentrates more on the traditional dining experience than its street food-focused sibling. The menu features items meant for feasting in groups as much as savouring alone, making it ideal for delivery and takeout. Try the beef phở, which has an 18-hour prep time; it’s hard to go wrong with a starter of salt-and-pepper squid, too.
Franco's Take Away
Shoreditch is London’s trendiest neighbourhood. Franco’s is a good old-fashioned greasy spoon and sandwich shop that does a job in bringing even the most fashionable hypebeasts back down to earth, and never stopped doing so throughout lockdown. Go early doors for a bacon sandwich, Full English, or just a slice of toast and cup of tea. At lunchtime, make a beeline for one of its good value and extremely popular protein-mayo-bonded sandwiches. It’s called takeaway, so, catch the drift.
Leila’s straddles two units on Calvert Avenue: one, is a grocery shop; the second a cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch. It is owned and operated by Leila McAlister — who belongs to the same obsessively seasonal school as all of those alumni from St John and the River Cafe. Currently, it’s two units of shop. offering dishes based on comfort and a wide range of larder and produce staples. Use the live stock list to see what’s up.
Gordon Ker’s homage to quality British meat finds its third expression on Shoreditch’s Rivington Street, and the quality across the menu is extremely high. An exquisite rendering of the classic steak sandwich packs aged hanger, yielding bone marrow and a piquant horseradish sauce into a decent ciabatta — spoonfuls of bracing green sauce are a fine accessory. Elsewhere, steak is juicy, beefy, and pretty unimpeachable, with shattering chips, superb gravy, and the usual range of chops skinny and hefty rounding things off.
Rochelle Canteen has been a reliable purveyor of seasonal loveliness since its opening in 2006. While the restaurant may be a little difficult to find for any newcomers to the area (it’s located in the old bike shed of the Rochelle School), the fare is worth the trek, especially with the lure of a garden where the air is often heavy with the scent of fig leaves. Mostly without pretence or fuss, Rochelle Canteen offers succinct menus based on top produce, and a newly introduced canopy offers outdoor dining sheltered from the rain.
Gloria is a lot: “Youporn” pizza (good base); cacio e pepe served out of a wheel of cheese; a lemon meringue pie bigger than necessary. What Parisian restaurant group Big Mamma’s London debut captures is a sense of hedonistic maximalism — to serve all of these things without irony or undercutting, and to revel in the fun that comes with them. Its bright yellow exterior and surfeit of foliage in the heart of London’s most normcore-cool neighbourhood marks it out even further. Now also home to Napoli Gang, a delivery-only offering.
Burro e Salvia
Burro e Salvia is one of London’s top spots for fresh pasta and exists comparatively under the radar. Diners could do much worse than order the signature beef, pork and spinach ‘agnolotti cavour’, or, for that matter, any of the daily-changing options, including a number of vegetarian dishes like cappellacci with aubergine, ricotta and tomato. It’s one of Shoreditch’s best options for a quick lunch and the off-menu lasagne is one of the neighbourhood’s best kept secrets.
Casa do Frango Shoreditch
The piri piri chicken specialists’ second fully fledged restaurant is an instant improvement to Shoreditch’s lunchtime options, with properly grilled chicken accessorised by simple things done smartly: quality chips; a fine tomato, pepper, and onion salad heavily perfumed with oregano. Leave Nando’s comparisons at home and don’t think about the Algarve; just relax into a restaurant comfortable in its own skin.
Brat is named after the old English colloquialism for turbot. Here, grill cooking is the focus. Seafood (including whole turbot), sourced from Cornwall; lamb from Wales; beef from the English south west; and seasonal fruit and vegetables from all over, is grilled or cooked in a purpose-built wood oven. Parry differentiates himself slightly from other grill restaurants, aiming to emulate methods used in the north of Spain — using fire to cook his range of ingredients slowly. Received its first Michelin star — six months in — October 2018, and currently has an outdoor sibling at Climpson’s Arch in London Fields until autumn 2021.
Smoking Goat Shoreditch
Ben Chapman has taken the attention to detail, ferocious sourcing and sense of freedom that makes Kiln in Soho such a hit and transported it east in service of Thai drinking food. Barbecued Tamworth pork skewers and lardo-fried rice are surefire hits; a new, pared-back outdoor menu places even greater focus on its produce, honing the grilling of red mullet, pork chops, and sometimes mutton to be served unadorned alongside fragrant, prickly nahm jim and smoked chilli jaew.
Selin Kiazim’s first solo restaurant is a paean to the chef’s Turkish-Cypriot heritage. The small dining room and bar is organised around an open kitchen which uses a wood oven and tiered grill to prepare some of the most ambitious modern Turkish food in the city. Pide (flatbreads) — marinated octopus with ricotta; or a classic lamb lahmacun — are served with a crisp, piquant pomegranate-dressed red cabbage salad with pickles; the regularly-changing grilled meats might include glazed lamb breast or half chicken served with preserved lemon and greens. Despite being in the middle of Shoreditch, Oklava has the warm atmosphere of a discreet neighbourhood restaurant, with a few bar stools and window ledge tables outside for the warmer evenings.
Leroy is a wine bar and Michelin-starred restaurant from the team — Ed Thaw and Jack Lewens — who closed Michelin-starred Ellory in Hackney in March 2018. It is inspired by the Parisian “caves” (restaurant wine annexes) where former head chef Sam Kamienko cooked before coming to London. Like many of the capital’s restaurants in this formula, it’s adopted a set menu on the back of lockdown, with the same French-leaning, delicate dishes nodding to native British ingredients, like guinea fowl with girolles or steamed plaice with mussels, white wine, and samphire.
Smokestak is one of a very small number of temples to barbecue in London. From the grungy, industrial, almost charred look of the countertops and walls to a menu replete with different British meats, fish and vegetables, the majority of which are smoked with great skill. Between the brisket buns, tender brisket, crispy pork cheek and thick-cut pork ribs: Smokestak is fine Southern-style barbecue restaurant with a strong British accent.
This restaurant is a marriage of its co-owner James Lowe's British heritage (St. John Bread and Wine) and his many stints across the globe, including at Noma. Lowe is a gifted chef and one of London's foremost proponents of the quality of British produce; his relaxed brand of ‘fine dining’ regularly celebrates mutton, game and goat, as well as wood fire-cooked seafood and seasonal English vegetables. Lyle’s is one of London’s very best modern restaurants, one of London’s best Michelin-starred restaurants, and, arguably, the best restaurant in Shoreditch.
It’s taken a long time for chef Tim Siadatan and frontman Jordan Frieda to do what a couple of years ago seemed like the inevitable: to capitalise on the success of one of London’s most popular restaurants and arguably the pastificio which sparked London’s recent love affair with Italian fast food. In Shoreditch, the duo have a bigger, more beautiful site as well as a bakery, and the early signs suggest that pastas — such as the trademark beef shin ragu pappardelle and the pici cacio e pepe — as well as seasonal salads and sides will be deserving of renewed interest.
St. John Bread and Wine
While the original St. John is rightly regarded as the most important British restaurant in a generation, Bread & Wine, the sister site in Spitalfields, is a better and more interesting restaurant today. If food were a religion, then this would be its church. Indeed, to many, Ferguson Henderson is God. Welsh rarebit, bone marrow and parsley salad, foie gras on toast, mussels with cider, devilled kidneys and half a dozen madeleines; a whole roast suckling pig?
Old Spitalfields Market
One of London’s oldest markets includes dozens of food options. Here’s the pick of them
Burgers: Bleecker Burger
Dumplings and noodles: Dumpling Shack and Fen Noodles
Reubens: Monty’s [order online nationally]
Pizza: Sud Italia
Sausage rolls: The Butchery
Bubble tea: Yi Fang
The New Israeli debut restaurant from Marc Summers, (formerly Berber & Q) and Helen Graham, (of The Palomar, The Barbary, and The Good Egg) is vegetarian without shouting about it. Indeed, in service of modern tastes but also in recognition of culinary tradition, plenty of the menu is vegan, too. Execution here is first-rate: in a pumpkin dip with harissa, preserved lemon, and verdant olive oil, in hummus lifted by brown butter, in crisp confit potato latkes with toum and Aleppo chilli; and ful medames enlivened with lovage pesto, yoghurt, and homemade malawach (flatbread with the texture of good pastry).
Just across from Liverpool Street station’s main entrance, down a side street, the Shoreditch-City borders has a top-tier Cantonese roast meat takeaway specialist. Three Uncles — owned by friends, Cheong Yew, Put Sing Tsang, and Mo Kwok — is one of the best-value new takeaway lunches in the area. A small number of tables and a few counter spots are in high demand for delicately balanced char siu, roast duck, and pork belly. All are served with steamed bok choy and either rice or fine lo mein (egg noodles). Make sure to judiciously apply the deeply savoury and gently smoky house chilli oil.
Xi'an Biang Biang Noodles
A sort-of sister site to London’s outstanding Xi’an Chinese restaurant in Highbury, Xi’an Impression. Co-owner Zhang Chao, along with Sichuanese head chef Li Liang, has brought to Spitalfields Xi’an’s regional specialities: Wide hand-pulled “belt” noodles, covered in an umami-rich Sichuan peppercorn, soya-based sauces, and chilli oil — served with Chinese greens; braised beef; or cumin-spiced lamb. Elsewhere there are refreshing cold skin noodles, with sesame or chilli dressings; smacked cucumber salads; boneless poached chicken in special sauce, and wonton and Qishan soups.
Jolene Redchurch Street
Jolene finally brings what Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street has been crying out for all along — a very, very decent bakery. A diminuitive takeaway space with orange-red hues and a bench for perching, it offers breads, laminated pastries, and sweets and savouries made with rough-hewn care.
Southwestern imports Origin have staged something of a London takeover since opening a flagship store on Charlotte Road in 2014, opening in Southwark and at the British Library — a display of specialty’s mainstream breakthrough. The offering — all roasted in Cornwall and now selected by two-time U.K. coffee tasting champion Freda Yuan — is perhaps one of the most progressive in the city. ‘Session coffees’: high yield, steady harvests with approachable flavour profiles, are set against monthly features, often focussed on a specific process, varietal, or, inevitably, origin. The mural behind the bar demands close attention.
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