LATEST NEWS AND HAPPENINGS IN SHORDITCH
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The beating heart of East London and the spiritual home of the pop-up, Shoreditch is bursting with restaurants, bars and things to do. It may have smartened up its act and polished all the rough edges that made the area truly cool and cutting edge in the early noughties but it’s still a vibrant neighbourhood that’s at the centre of all the action.
Feeling hungry? You won’t be for long here thanks to the many Shoreditch restaurants you can dip into. The neighbourhood boasts some of the best restaurants in London, from Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold’s Rochelle Canteen and Tomos Parry’s Brat to Michelin-starred establishments like Lyle’s, The Clove Club and Cycene. And who can forget the legendary Beigel Bake, an East London institution that isn’t all about the tourist hype. Salt beef, mustard and gherkins, what’s not to like?
You can’t very well have all those great restaurants without anywhere to grab a drink; the best Shoreditch bars include Hoxton Square’s Happiness Forgets, Callooh Callay, the 1000-bottle strong TT Liquor (housed in what used to be an old police station), Nightjar and Mr Lyan’s Seed Library. And if you prefer beer over cocktails, there are plenty of Shoreditch pubs pulling pints.
If you’re on a budget and are restricting yourself from hitting all the area’s independent shops or salons, you can have plenty of fun people watching and window shopping on Brick Lane and Redchurch Street.
Manteca in Shoreditch is the third iteration of a restaurant that started at 10 Heddon Street before moving to Soho, and now finally settling here in on Curtain Road. Of all these, the new place is the one that really feels like their home. If you’ve been to Manteca before and loved it then you will definitely be a fan of the Shoreditch restaurant. All the elements are there – the in-house charcuterie, the nose-to-tail menu, and the fresh pasta – and now it’s all wrapped up in a beautiful new space and a bold menu that combines some of their classic dishes with several new ones. Don’t miss the incredible mortadella, made fresh in house; the crisp, rich pig head fritti; the clam flatbread; the n’duja mussels; and the tonnarelli with a brown crab cacio e pepe sauce.
Life in London isn’t always conducive to peace of mind, and in between work commutes and *trying* to have a social life, it’s also not always easy to find the time to take care of our mental health. Luckily, we’ve got not one, but two outposts of the world’s first on-demand mental health service in the city. Self Space is an in-person spot for mental wellbeing support that’s open seven days a week, from 7.30am until 9.30pm, and that has over 65 therapists to choose from. There’s no waiting list and no assessment process, just accessible therapy that can be adjusted to suit individual needs. Choose a therapist based on your needs and book a session with a qualified mental health professional as easily as booking a table at a restaurant – even if you just need a one-off chat.
Cycene is the new-ish restaurant at Blue Mountain School on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch – it took over the space that was previously Mãos. Cycene is headed up by chef Theo Clench, who was previously at Portland and most recently at Akoko. The space has remained very much the same but Theo has bought an entirely new menu into the renamed restaurant (‘Cycene’ means ‘kitchen’ in Old English, btw), and it’s clearly been working out very well already, as Cycene picked up a Michelin star earlier this year. The Cycene experience begins at the downstairs bar, where you’ll have your first course with an aperitif. For the next course, you’re taken upstairs to the kitchen, and then you’re into the proper dining room, a tiny, charming little place with wood-panelled walls and Persian rugs. The tasting menu now begins in earnest with some exceptional snacks and other highlights like confit scallop with tomato & ginger sauce; aged turbot with fish bone caramel; Hereford beef with sea buckthorn; and chocolate mousse on top of wafer-thin biscuit, topped with crème crue. A special mention must also go to the ‘half and half’ wine / soft drinks pairing – in between the wine servings, you get to try some really interesting soft drinks and kombuchas that have all been made in-house too.
Bao Noodle Shop is part of the Taiwanese mini-chain’s empire that includes three ‘regular’ Bao restaurants and Cafe Bao in King’s Cross. They’ve taken over the old Andina site in Shoreditch, facing Smoking Goat and Brat, and have given the place a lovely spruce up. As you might guess from the name, it’s noodles that are the focus here rather than the steamed buns that made them famous, specifically the beef noodle shops of Taiwan. Despite this, there’s only actually two beef noodle soups on the menu, a rich Taipei-style with beef cheek, short rib and spiced beef butter, and a lighter Tainan-style beef soup with rare beef rump. And then to the trusty bao, here as good as ever, and with a particular shoutout to the prawn croquette bun which may just be our new favourite. There’s also sake, wine, tea, and Bao’s own-label beers to crack into. With a prominent position in Shoreditch and a crowd-pleasing menu of big hitters, Bao Noodle Shop is another surefire hit for the team.
Mr Lyan, aka cocktail maestro Ryan Chetiyawardana, is back in East London (he opened his first bar White Lyan in the neighbourhood back in 2013) with Seed Library. The bar is in the basement of One Hundred Shoreditch and is decked out in warm orange and red upholstery and wood panelling. There’s lo-fi, analogue approach to drinks, taking inspo from classic cocktails and alternative flavours and ingredients, which means drinks like the Curry Leaf Stonefence (using curry leaf to bring out the greener side of white rum), the Perilla Gin & Tonic (using perilla seed to add green and nutty notes to the bitter sweet cocktail) and the Sancho Leaf Martini (adding the floral spice of szechuan leaf to contrast with the cold gin or vodka).
After killing it on the street food circuit for years, David Carter’s first permanent Smokestak is a dark, moody BBQ dream, complete with an absolutely huge custom built smoker, responsible for slow smoking all that meat (plus your clothes by the end of the night too). There’s some great snacks on the menu such as a giant slab of pork scratching dusted with chilli powder and BBQ pigs tails which won’t be to everyone’s taste but you should definitely try. A thick cut pork rib with picked cucumber is another favourite and even the veg dishes hit the spot – check out the coal roasted potato and the smoked girolles and beef dripping brioche toast. The snug basement bar is a top spot for cocktails too, perfect to help all that meat go down at the end of the night.
Even if you have no intention of buying anything, House of Hackney’s home in Shoreditch is worth poking around in. The mid-19th century four-storey building, complete with gothic architecture and stained glass windows, is a showcase for all things design, with each room featuring an edit of House of Hackney collections so you can experience them first-hand – a real feast for the eyes.
Beigel Bake is an East London institution and their beigels aren’t all about the tourist hype. Salt beef, mustard and gherkins, what’s not to like? And being open 24hrs it’s the perfect place for those late night munchies.
If we could dress head to toe in threads from Goodhood we would – they stock all our fave brands including Wood Wood, Vans, Aries, Nanushka, YMC and Norse Projects. And once your wardrobe is full, it’s worth popping downstairs to check out their homeware selection, including Hay, Ferm Living and Cold Picnic, and pick up some Aesop goodies OBVS.
It’s no secret that Ruffians is our fave barber in London and we regularly pop into their Shoreditch branch for a tidy up and not just because they have a whisky bar…They do a damn fine job and they have some of the comfiest chairs we’ve ever sat in.
After setting up shop in Soho, Shoreditch is now the place to come for smokey, BBQ Thai food inspired by the grub you’d get in late-night canteens in Bangkok. We love their freshly made rotis, goat krapow, turmeric crab curry and lardo fried rice. It’s all a world away from cheap pad thai and prawn crackers and has been part of a wave of restaurants that woke London up to proper Thai food.
You’ll rarely find anything else on our feet than trainers and that’s why we LOVE Sneakersnstuff. This place is filled with all hottest sneakers including limited edition ones – expect brands like Adidas, Reebok, Vans, Converse, Nike and more.
One hotel closes, another one opens. One Hundred Shoreditch, from the Lore Group (who are also behind Sea Containers and Pulitzer Amsterdam) has moved into the site once occupied by the Ace Hotel. The property boasts 258 bedrooms and a whopping six restaurants and bars, including seafood restaurant and wine bar Goddard & Gibbs; destination cocktail bar Seed Library from Ryan Chetiyawardana aka Mr Lyan, which’ll shake up new takes on classic serves; a lobby bar; a coffee shop; and a roof terrace with panoramic views over the city.
80s aerobics, Beyonce dance classes, power yoga, ass & abs or reformer pilates, whatever your thing you’ll find it at Frame. This studio is all about the fun, whether you’re a bit of a fitness freak or someone who eats too many cakes (like us), you’ll feel right at home.
Rochelle Canteen, run by Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold, has long been one of London’s favourite spots. Housed in a former school bike shed on Arnold Circus in Shoreditch, accessible only through an unmarked door that, when buzzed in, leads you through a pretty garden and to a small dining room, it’s always been a hidden spot for Londoners to enjoy. Aside from being an excellent setting to enjoy a leisurely weekend lunch, the cooking is really quite good too. Simplicity is the order of the day so, although menus change daily, expect dishes along the lines of Queenie scallops, grilled in garlic and butter; the skate wing with burnt butter and samphire; and, our favourite, braised lamb with peas and mint.
Whether you’re after the perfect manicure or pedicure treatment, Shoreditch Nails offers high-quality treatments that promote healthy nails. So if you’re looking for modern nail art or a classic shellac style, the artists here will be able to give you exactly what you want.
Spread across three floors, TT Liquor has a 1000-bottle strong liquor store, space for drinks masterclasses, and a basement bar. And what a bar! It’s huge and has more character than you’ll find in most other East London spots, with lots of alcoves and cubby holes in what used to be jail cells during the 19th century when the building was a police station. With loads of different cocktails, beer and wine, you’re bound to find something you fancy drinking here.
Despite earning a Michelin star, the Ellory boys decided to shut up shop in London Fields and open Leroy in Shoreditch. Luckily, the gamble payed off as Leroy one its own Michelin Star in the 2019 Guide. It’s got the same front of house and kitchen team but is more of a relaxed affair, influenced by the new wave of Parisian wine bars. The space is lovely, a sort-of triangular site with lots of natural light, a bar/counter area with high stools and an open kitchen. They offer a range of snacks and sharing plates on the menu as well as a set lunch option – we’d happily pop in for a plate of charcuterie, and a glass of wine at the bar anytime.
Lyle’s has built up a stellar reputation thanks to its elegant, seasonal British food but if you don’t want to plan ahead, you can also drop in for small plates and a glass of wine from their bar snack menu (as long as one of the six bar stools are free of course). It is a changing menu, but if the mussel, garlic and spenwood flatbread or the smoked eel with cabbage and seaweed are on, they’re must-orders. It’s not exactly cheap, but as a Michelin-starred pit-stop it’s pretty perfect.
Popolo is a hidden gem of a restaurant, which boasts a pretty impressive bar for counter dining and intimate dining room upstairs. The menu is mostly Italian with Middle Eastern and Spanish influences…hello fried olives with labne and morita chilli oil. With other dishes like octopus with paprika and potatoes, gnudi with buffalo ricotta and sage butter, and burnt honey panna cotta and figs, this place is defo worth a visit.
Aida is a multi-concept store where you can grab a coffee and pick up some pieces from their unique edit of independent European brands. Expect to find the likes of Mads Norgaard, Libertine-Libertine, Rains and Converse amongst some lesser known brands.
Off the main Shoreditch drag, the Well & Bucket is a gem of pub. It’s been restored to its former glory with gorgeous tiled walls and a copper topped bar taking pride of place in the middle. They’ve got a solid range of craft beer on tap and even more in the fridge, and they serve up a great oysters and seafood menu too.
Thanks to a big refurb, The Griffin has polished up its rough edges whilst still retaining that traditional pub feel (it helps that it’s quite small and quite dark). They can mix you up a G&T or a spritz but this is a beer pub, with a strong selection of brews on tap and even more in the fridge, including some pretty potent bottles.
Owned by Ronnie and Reggie Kray back in the day, The Carpenters Arms used to be one of the most notorious pubs in town. Now apart from a discreetly placed print of the long-departed twins, you would never have known of its history. It has an impressive range of over fifty different ales from all over the world and a small menu of classic British grub.
Afetr killing it on the festival and street food circuit, The Vurger Co finally went perm in Shoreditch in 2018. The restaurant serves up a full menu including the Tabasco Auburger, made from aubergines, chickpeas, red onion and vegan cheese, as well as the Classic, the Mexican and the MLT, packed full of baked mushrooms and rocket and topped with walnut and sundried tomato paste. Oh and there’s also the infamous mac’n’cheese and milkshakes.
These burger truck vendors-turned-restaurateurs sure know a thing or two about a filthy burger. The signature Bacon Butter Burger features a dry-aged beef patty slathered in burnt butter mayo and topped with crispy pancetta, and the Bougie Burger with steak sauce, marrownaise and beef fat onions is a juicy, messy delight. Don’t miss the boozy shakes and badass sides too, including cheeseburger wontons and dirty tater tots smothered in hot sauce and crispy bacon pieces.
Labour and Wait is all about functional products and classic design. Rebelling against the idea of re-designing ranges each season, owners Rachel and Simon source homeware, clothes and accessories that are timeless, like enamel cookware, brass pens and Breton striped shirts, so you can enjoy them forever.
SCP is a London staple, having been open on Curtain Road since 1985, and it’s still one of the best design and lifestyle shops in town. Its two floors are packed with contemporary products from tons of different brands as well as their own designs and re-booted classics from the SCP archive, including pieces from Rachel Whiteread, Matthew Hilton and Terence Woodgate.
Not Another Salon looks like an art gallery, but is the perfect place to get your hair dyed. Specialising in colour they use INNOluxe, a “magic serum” to create any colour you want. And with board games, crazy 80’s books and a Game Boy complete with Super Mario to keep you entertained, you definitely won’t be bored while you’re waiting.
If you’re after jazz and cocktails, Nightjar is the one. The subterranean speakeasy bar is one of the best in town with table service and inventive cocktails, alongside all the classics. It’s proper old school, but super popular so don’t forget to book a table.
Gloria is Parisian restaurant group Big Mamma’s first foray into London and they certainly arrived with a bang. It’s full on, both outside and in with bright colours, plants, a central bar with hundreds of glowing bottles, and every inch of space decorated with pictures and mirrors. The menu is just as OTT with massive sharing pastas, carbonara served at the table in a cheese wheel, pizzas with names like Regina Instagram and Robert De Nitro, and lemon meringue pies the size of your head.
Inspired by the old Irani cafes of Bombay, Dishoom delivers every single time. From the beaut decor (not only is every inch of this massive restaurant perfectly styled, it has a verandah too) to the Shoreditch special lamb raan to the legendary house black daal, it’s hard to have a bad meal here. And if you make it in time, you can never say no to THAT bacon and egg naan for brekkie.
Blacklock brings quality chops to the people of Soho, the City, Covent Garden and Shoreditch. It’s all about the meat here, with a range of steaks, big chops, skinny chops, burgers at lunchtime and specials up on the chalkboard. For us, the best way to go is still the All In, which gets you three varieties of pre-chop bites and you get a pile of perfectly cooked beef, lamb and pork chops sat on top of thick fingers of flatbread, so all those meaty juices run down and soak in, plus sauces and sides. And not forgetting a big spoonful of white chocolate cheesecake scooped right from the bowl. Blacklock also does one of the best Sunday roasts in town and classic cocktails for a fiver. Bring on the meat sweats.
It’s all about wood fire cooking at Tomos Parry’s Michelin-starred Brat. Named after the slang word for turbot, the restaurant serves whole pieces of fish and meat with other dishes, like young leeks with cheese, oysters roasted with seaweed and chilled tomato soup, representing a mix of Welsh (where he’s from) and Basque (where he’s travelled) influences. The dishes are simple, often just one or two ingredients per plate, but that just highlights how good the chefs are over that grill – the signature turbot really is something special. With the kitchen and grill, bar and tables all in one wood-panelled room (Brat is on the floor above Smoking Goat) the atmosphere is always great too.
BLOK is not your average gym. The two London locations – one in a converted Victorian tram depot in Clapton and the other in a swish new build in Shoreditch – are luxury concept fitness spaces with the identity brought together by property developer Ed Stanbury and fashion photographer Max Oppenheimer. BLOK is a place to train hard and build up your fitness skills. The instructors want you to feel inspired, not just sweat hard and leave, although you most definitely will sweat hard. The classes range from intense HITT sand Primal Movement to the restorative Barre and Yin Yoga, along with a range of different boxing options so you’re sure to get a thorough workout. And once you’re done working on your bod, you can exercise your mind with a look at their evolving exhibition space.
Not content with having a cheese bar, a cheese conveyor belt restaurant and a cheese barge, the Cheese Bar team has opened Funk, a cheese shop and bottle shop on Columbia Road. You’d better brie-lieve it. It’s stocked with the best of British cheese, like Tunworth, Quickes Mature Cheddar, Baron Bigod and Village Maid cheese alongside Crown & Queue charcuterie, Rosebud Preserves, Miller’s Damsel Crackers, Kernel Brewery beers and low-intervention wines.
Forget a cheeky Nando’s, there’s a new piri-piri joint in town. Casa do Frango, which bills itself as London’s first Algarvian restaurant, cooks up proper piri-piri chicken grilled over wood. Alongside those spicy birds you can chow down on bacalhau fritters, garlic prawns, African rice and fries with pasteis de nata for pud (obvs), and there’s be a Portuguese wine list (a mix of well-known and natural varieties) to wash it all down with.
Bond is a boutique women’s-only salon that’s recently been listed as a finalist for the Most Wanted Awards’ ‘Best New Boutique Salon’. It’s tucked away on a quiet street just off Brick Lane – think loft apartment vibes with high ceilings, wood floor, exposed brick and orb lighting. The stylists are super friendly and really make an effort to give you a personalised service. Bond also has full length beds at the basins rather than just chairs so you don’t strain your neck so much, and you can properly relax during the head massage. It’s the perfect balance between a relaxed atmosphere and attentive, personal service, making it the kind of salon you just keep wanting to come back to.
Some say Callooh Callay kickstarted the cocktail bar trend in Shoreditch, others just get lost through that wardrobe. Made up of three bars, including the back lounge where you have to walk through a Narnia-style wardrobe and rock & roll Palace of Humbug bar, it all sounds pretty exclusive. But at the end of the day, this place is just damn eccentric and even has a sticker book for a cocktail menu.
Happiness Forgets is an oldie but a goodie. The speakeasy is in a tiny candle-lit basement in Hoxton and serves up some damn fine cocktails. As you’d imagine, it’s a popular one so book a table or get down there early as they won’t let the rabble stand in the corner here!
With a roaster, coffee bar and eatery all under one roof Ozone isn’t just a place to grab a cup of joe, but somewhere to enjoy brunch, lunch, dinner and a few cocktails too. But their on-site roasted coffee is still the main attraction and that eggs benny just happens to go well with it, right?
The Hoxton, Shoreditch is the original east end design hotel, having been on the block since 2006. The hotel has 211 rooms, which are compact but perfect for city stays, and with a restaurant and lobby below that’s buzzing 24/7 there’s really no reason to be in your room other than to sleep. The rooms all come with free breakfast bag, water and a mini fridge to stock with booze from the lobby shop at supermarket prices although we’d recommend checking out the avo on toast for breakfast – it’s our fave avo in London. Be sure to check out the cultural events programme whilst you’re there too and really submerse yourself in the local culture.
The very swish Kite eyebar offers a fully-personalised shopping experience with free state-of-the-art eye exams, followed by a one-on-one style consultation with an eye expert to help you find your perfect specs. Designed in London and handcrafted in Italy, the glasses are pretty damn cool too and won’t break the bank even with their high-tech prescription lenses, which are exclusively fitted by industry leading manufacturer Carl Zeiss.
There aren’t too many places serving Burmese food in London and Lahpet do it very well indeed, finding a good balance between traditional dishes and some more modern creations. The eponymous lahpet, the traditional tea leaf salad found all across Burma, is a mainstay and you can also expect dishes like mohinga fish stew, yellow pea paratha, coconut chicken noodles, and shredded lamb stuffed into black cabbage leaves. Lahpet is a great restaurant, offering something you can’t really find elsewhere in London, so you should make a particular beeline for it if you’re craving something new.
Similar to the Mayfair flagship, Cecconi’s Shoreditch serves up the same Italian faves but with a more relaxed vibe… it is East London after all. The restaurant very much looks the part with a black and white tiled floor, marble tables and artwork-covered walls. It’s a menu full of classics done right with dishes like tuna tartare, veal milanese, wood-fired pizza and lobster spaghetti, with all of the pastas also coming in sharing sized portions as well as individal bowls. The Shoreditch outpost of Cecconi’s is an instant hit – it’s classy but not stuffy, it’s got a buzzy atmosphere and the service is totally on point, just as you’d expect from a Soho House operation.
Tucked just off Great Eastern Street, The Princess of Shoreditch is a smart little gastropub. It’s split in two, with the downstairs bar serving elevated snacks and small plates (burgers and nachos it ain’t) and a bangin’ Sunday roast and a more formal dining room up top with a modern British a la carte menu, featuring dishes like crispy potato terrine with smoked cod’s roe, Dorset crab crumpet with pickled peaches, beef tartare with truffle custard, Yorkshire lamb rump with green herbs & cauliflower, and lemon, blueberry & bay tart.
Nordic Poetry is a designer vintage clothing store aimed at elevating the perception of vintage with a brand purpose. The collection is curated by Atika’s founder, Ameli Lindgren, and has been acclaimed by the likes of Vogue and Highsnobiety. Plus, the interior of their location in Shoreditch is nothing short of uber-Instagrammable, with rooms painted entirely salmon pink and 60s mod vibes.
Japanese izakaya Apothecary is a twist on the traditional Tokyo tavern, mixing classic features – a robata kitchen counter and handcrafted wooden screens – with more contemporary elements such as exposed brick and a wood-burning stove. The drinks list carries everything from local and Japanese beers, through hot and cold sake, to Asian-influenced cocktails. Choose from a range of small plates to snack on while you drink, including robata grilled skewers, sushi, sashimi and hirata steamed buns. And drop by on Friday and Saturday nights for disco, funk, soul or electronic DJ sets.
Ultra-convenient for Liverpool Street commuters and Shoreditch office dwellers, Notice is a gender-neutral hair salon just off Shoreditch High Street. The prices here are based on hair length, rather than gender, with services including haircuts and restyling, highlights, balayage, tints, glosses and creative colours. They also have a sustainable ethos, using only natural brands (like Davines) and products free from parabens and sulphates to lower their environmental impact.
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