Shoreditch foodie guide: where to eat and drink
Check out our favourite places to eat in the capital's city hub. Try crisp piri-piri chicken, hispi cabbage with pork fat and an XO crumb, and some of the best pasta and cocktails in town
Looking for Shoreditch restaurants? Here are some of our favourite restaurants in east London's buzzing borough around Old Street and Shoreditch High Street stations. Check out our ideas for eating and drinking in Shoreditch, from Brick Lane to Redchurch Street and beyond…
Bistro Freddie, Luke Street – for a neighbourhood bistro feel
Tucked in the quiet back streets between Shoreditch High Street and Old Street stations, almost another world from the hustle of east London that surrounds it, Bistro Freddie has a distinct classic neighbourhood bistro feel, offering generous, down-to-earth hospitality and a menu featuring the best produce of the British Isles. There’s an intimate 45-cover open-plan dining room and plenty of top-quality tipples focussing on small and predominantly independent producers and growers. bistrofreddie.com
Nest – for great-value seasonal tasting menus
The trio behind Hackney’s much-loved neighbourhood spot pulls off the same levels of intimacy in its larger Shoreditch restaurant, with various nooks carved out in the horseshoe layout. Pop into the cosy wine bar area before picking between gnarled wooden booths, a fireside table for six or a counter seat with a view of chefs adding their finishing touches. The eight-course seasonal tasting menu, presented in a tiny wax-sealed envelope, focuses on one hero ingredient at a time, allowing for superb sourcing – think Yorkshire’s Otterburn Mangalitza pork or Welsh Wagyu beef. Seafood season kicks off with a snack plate of tiny trout tarts, cod’s roe with seaweed tapioca crackers and oysters in pickled jalapeño foam, followed by treacly soda bread that hasn’t left the menu since it first featured. Other highlights include crab salad with sea buckthorn emulsion, silky squid noodles in a spicy, XO-laced broth and BBQ monkfish with roast carrot and ginger purée. Each menu is accompanied by an optional ‘one-region’ wine pairing; on our visit a showcase of the diversity of Loire wines, from sparkling pet-nat to a citrusy natural Pouilly Fumé and sweet chenin blanc to complement a delightfully surprising Jerusalem artichoke and chestnut dessert and made-to-order seaweed doughnuts to finish. nestfood.co.uk
Sohaila, Shoreditch Hight Street – for Modern Middle Eastern cuisine
Sohaila is a restaurant and natural wine bar created by social enterprise Fat Macy’s (which supports people in temporary accommodation via culinary training), serving modern Middle Eastern food. It’s named after founder Nathalie Moukarzel’s grandmother and a lot of the recipes are inspired by her. Dishes use local and sustainable ingredients, and the menu changes often to minimise food waste. Plates often include labneh and chilli butter, deep-fried mussels, and halloumi and figs. Cocktails use similar flavours, such as the martini overleaf. sohailarestaurant.com
BAO Noodle shop, Redchurch Street — for Taiwanese noodle bowls
The Taiwanese trio behind this mini pillowy bun empire have applied their signature style to this Shoreditch outpost — ruby red leather stools around blonde wood tables, soft globe wall lights and a white tiled bar, where staff in bespoke lab coats mix clever cocktails. An unusual sweet potato sour is creamy and silky with a sweet, earthy depth, and the old fashioned is given extra body from milk-washed whisky and Taiwanese tea. Small plates include crunchy Taiwanese fried chicken pieces, boiled cull yaw dumplings and crispy spring rolls filled with stretchy cheese and soy-cured jalapeños. Pillowy steamed buns are filled with the likes of prawn croquette with black garlic glaze and slow-cooked pork with a peanut crumb. Three noodle dishes join the regulars — the richer Taipei-style broth is topped with slow-cooked beef cheek and short rib, plus a dollop of spiced beef butter to melt through the silky homemade noodles. A lighter Tainan broth features rare sliced beef with melting edges of frilly fat, while sesame fried aubergine sits atop an umami-rich vegan kelp soup. Downstairs, there’s a karaoke den adorned with bespoke wallpaper for those who want to book for a bao-fuelled sing-along. baolondon.com
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Padella, Phipp Street – for homemade pasta
From the brains behind Borough Market's buzzing, booking-free pasta spot comes Padella 2.0, an industrial-style space that makes up for its cool interiors with a showstopping selection of antipasti and, you guessed it, pasta. A spacious open kitchen accommodates bar stools, or there are red wooden tables further away from the action. Wherever you sit, the larger space feels like you can linger over your linguine for longer. Start with a bitter, dark-berry blackcurrant americano (Campari, Hereford blackcurrant liqueur, fig leaf and soda) or sip a punchy gorgonzola-stuffed olive martini.
Every plate impresses, from sourdough with a crunch to the crust and satisfying chew to wobbly burrata in a pool of fruity Fiorano olive oil. You’d be missing a trick if you didn’t order at least half the pasta menu (there’s eight that change on the regular). Dexter beef shin ragu cooks for eight hours, clinging to the slippery sheets of pappardelle before being covered in frilly parmesan, while a Westcombe ricotta ravioli zings with lemon, sage and butter. Come for the pasta, stay for the puds. A sliver of seasonal tart (be it lemon, rhubarb and almond or salted caramel) will end things nicely – a buttery, short crust, light filling and dollop of cooling crème fraiche. padella.co
Llama Inn, The Hoxton – for modern Peruvian cuisine
Having built a cult following in New York, Juan Correa and chef Erik Ramirez have brought their critically acclaimed Llama Inn and its playful taste of Peru across the Atlantic, taking over the rooftop restaurant at The Hoxton hotel in east London. The menu draws inspiration from the chef’s Peruvian-American background and the drinks list features many of the original NYC signature serves alongside a wine list with a focus on low-intervention and biodynamic wines. thehoxton.com
Maene, Spitalfields – for British food in a striking setting
Blink and you’ll miss the entrance to Nick Gilkinson’s latest restaurant, marked with a subtle ‘M’ on a graffiti-clad backstreet in Shoreditch. Head upstairs past the yoga studio to a stunning room that was once a textile factory; white curtains waft against floor-to-ceiling windows, filament lightbulbs hang from lofty ceilings, and rough floorboards are lined with sweeping blue banquettes. There’s a separate concrete bar for cocktails and a soon-to-open large terrace with city views.
Kick off with caramelised whipped brown butter to slather onto Snapery sourdough. Leftovers of the latter are used to make a syrup for a smooth rye whisky old fashioned-style cocktail that shares the line up with other zero-waste drinks (other ingredients include potato skin liqueur, spirulina cordial and used coffee grounds), each with its own thought-out non-alcoholic counterpart. Starter-size dishes include whipped Sussex ricotta with jammy pickled beetroot and citrussy lemon thyme, and multicoloured Nutbourne tomatoes neatly arranged into a wafer-thin tart case. Seared slices of pork loin are accompanied by a hazelnut pesto, and whole Cornish sole is lifted with pickled fennel and Spitalfields City Farm greens whizzed into a bright, grassy sauce. Complement with crispy Morphew Farm heritage potatoes with smoked yogurt. maenerestaurant.co.uk
Daffodil Mulligan, Old Street – for Irish food
Chef Richard Corrigan’s partnership with fellow Irishmen John Nugent and Tony Gibney is an unapologetic tribute to Irish craic. The industrial Shoreditch space is modestly decorated with moody portraits of Irish legends – Sinéad O’Connor guides you down the stairs to the basement drinking den; while upstairs is where you’ll find the main restaurant, open kitchen, complete with a wood oven and grill, and oyster bar. Let chef be your guide with six sharing courses and a Gibney’s stout, or work your way around the snacks, small plates, oysters and grill. Dishes include fiery beef tartare served in an oyster shell with oyster cream and vongole, chicken and tarragon best mopped up with homemade soda bread, and cured collar of bacon with creamy mash and fresh pickled shallot rings. Many ingredients are sourced from Richard’s own estate in Ireland, Virginia Park Lodge – including smoky, wood-roasted carrots that punch way above their weight. Biscuity champagne and a light, very gluggable muscadet are winners on the wine list – but drinks nerds should explore the cocktails with infused spirits, from jalapeño-infused tequila in a blood orange margarita to chilli Aperol with mezcal, chocolate and orange bitters. daffodilmulligan.com
Manteca, Curtain Road – for nose-to-tail Italian cooking
Chefs Chris Leach and David Carter opened Manteca’s first permanent home on Curtain Road, Shoreditch, in November 2021 to rave reviews. Inspired by Chris’s travels through Italy, the focus is on nose-to-tail Italian cooking, with hand-rolled pasta, house-made salami, seasonal vegetables and wood-fired breads at the forefront. Expect hearty, knockout dishes including puffy clam flatbreads, a rich pig skin ragu, and rigatoni with a silky kale sauce served in a light, airy setting. There’s a carefully honed wine menu with classic bottles and bolder ‘down the rabbit hole’ wines, and an amari-focussed cocktail list making the most of the Italian herbal liqueur, featuring not-to-be-missed house-made amaro. mantecarestaurant.co.uk
Lilienblum, Old Street – for theatrical Israeli cuisine
Israeli chefs Eyal Shani and Oren King have joined forces to open a theatrical ode to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food, where large groups cheer at celebrations, fresh tomatoes hold down brown paper tablecloths ready to be filled with sharing plates, and a sage burner is paraded round to mingle with spices from the tile-and-copper backed open kitchen. Reserve a spot at the counter to watch chefs stir fresh tomatoes through homemade pasta, bake pizza-like focaccia and grate horseradish over charcuterie-style sliced beetroot. Waiters help decipher playful menu items such as “6 spicy instruments that will swirl your soul”, aka a palate of salsa and spices to lift your dishes, and silky, smoky signature hummus topped with whole chickpeas and green chilli salsa. Meat dishes range from minute steak, prepared crisp like bacon and slathered in tahini, to the “dinosaur bone” short rib cooked over 24 hours. Seafood fans should try the light yet comforting clams slow cooked with springy farro. Strong contenders on the dessert menu include zesty pistachio cake and silky chocolate mousse with salted butter cookies. Pair with a smooth, tahini-laced espresso martini, or refreshing Oren’s Memories cocktail that evokes the aromas of the spice markets in Jerusalem. lilienblum.co.uk
Gloria, Great Eastern Street – for a fun group dinner
A Paris export bringing top-quality Italian food to the streets of east London in its own quirky, seriously OTT and raucous way. Gloria might call itself a “pure and traditional Italian trattoria” but this is signature Shoreditch (by way of Paris) – expect long queues, one-way-glass in the loos and overflowing plants, everywhere. In a nod to 50s Capri, the dining room mixes Carrara marble with colourful antique Italian ceramics, mirrored ceilings and velour banquettes. All produce is sourced from Italy and it shows. Order smoked stracciatella (if you can resist burrata from Puglia), accurately described on the playful menu as “bloody godsent”. If Instagrammable dishes are your bag then look no further than the La Gran Carbonara, for two to share, served in a giant wheel of pecorino, and the “incomparable” lemon pie with a promised 5.9-inch meringue layer. Neapolitan-style pizza is as it should be; big, blistered crust; a sloppy, well-seasoned San Marzano tomato sauce heart – and the spicy “Robert de Nitro” toppings of mozzarella, ricotta, candied onions and salame piccante. There are plenty of classic cocktails to choose from but Gloria’s trophy negroni is unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere in London, with unusual additions of porcini mushroom wine and a truffle foam. Wines are all Italian, naturally. bigmammagroup.com
Casa do Frango, King John Court – for Portuguese food
This two-floor Shoreditch spot is the second Portuguese chicken joint from Casa do Frango. Start in Bar da Casa on the ground floor, where cocktails have pleasing Portuguese twists – such as a dash of tawny port in a punchy old fashioned, or tropical Licor Beirão to lace the caipirinha-like Caipirão. Continue upstairs in the candlelit dining room where long wooden tables, dusty pink banquettes and plenty of plants fit neatly round curved walls with floor-to-ceiling windows. Friendly Portuguese staff are keen to share wine knowledge and recommend dishes like their grandmas used to make. Try a selection of petiscos (small plates) served in terracotta dishes – shell-on prawns slathered in a garlicky white wine piri piri sauce and deep-fried salgadinhos (empanadas stuffed with caramelised onion, kale and mushrooms). The main event is succulent chicken with crispy, sticky piri-piri skin and extra-hot piri-piri sauce on the side. Accompany with a refreshing chopped salad of tomatoes, cucumber, onions and green peppers or African rice studded with tiny peas, plantain pieces and chorizo, with crisp chicken skin on top to add crunch. Leave room for a delicate, cinnamon-laced custard tart, fresh and warm from the oven. casadofrango.co.uk
BRAT, Redchurch Street – for sharing plates
Brat, slang for turbot – the much ordered and much Instagrammed star dish on the menu at this former Shoreditch strip bar – is grilled over an open wood fire grill to much dramatic effect, along with more prime ingredients. Order the Cornish moorland beef chop – slices of ruby red meat with a darkly charred bark, come lined up like dominos, their border of gamey yellow fat almost better than the meat itself. Italian tomatoes, on the side, are simply quartered, seasoned and drenched in an olive oil so peppery it catches in your throat. The rest of the menu follows the trend for sharing plates – small snacks up to giant platters. Chopped egg salad with bottarga, and bouncy, blistered, pillow-soft grilled flatbread, topped with curls of salty anchovy fillets. Sweet langoustines with earthy spikes of roasted rosemary are barely licked by the flames – still daringly see through. Spider crab, cabbage and fennel salad is refreshingly different – a careful dance between the sweet shellfish, brassica pepperiness and aniseed hit, lemon zest and chervil. For dessert try a Tomos Parry classic, brown bread ice cream marbled with marmalade. The wine list lives up to its promise, too – curated with the help of the cool gang at Noble Rot – there’s plenty for the chipper team to recommend, from supremely sippable sherries, to the grown-up Koehler-Ruprecht riesling trocken. bratrestaurant.com
Apothecary, Charlotte Road — for Tokyo-inspired izakaya dishes
Though its concept is a bit different from the more traditional, informal izakaya you might find in Japan, Apothecary does bring the social aspect of these Tokyo bars with its two softly divided spaces — a sophisticated dining area serving ‘drinking food’, spilling into a smart bar with live DJ sessions over the weekend. The spacious restaurant is contemporary and bright, with Shoreditch-worthy exposed brick, sleek crescent-shaped booths and wooden partitions, and a clear view of the kitchen assembling its Japanese-inspired small plates: buns, sushi, tempura, yakitori-style skewers and sashimi arrive promptly at the table as they’re ready. Highlights on the menu are yellowtail tiradito, combining the fresh fish with zingy yuzu-soy and jalapeño prawn dragon sushi rolls with crisp tempura in the centre; and the vegan grilled cauliflower with a perfectly paired black sesame sauce. It’s worth trying a side of furikake rice, too, with its umami depth from the nori. Pair these with one of the impressive drinks offerings: plum wine from Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture, or a punchy cocktail, like the sweet pea spritz (tequila shaken with sweet pea syrup and absinthe) or sesame old fashioned.
Leroy, Phipp Street – for a relaxed dinner
This is a relaxed, affordable bistro, and the sort of place we want to hang out in every damn day. Olive-green tables are gold trimmed, school chairs have red-leather cushions, there’s dark, marble-topped counters and an open kitchen that feels like Brooklyn – but better. The drinks are a draw, from deliciously puckering rhubarb house soda and aromatic vermouth spritzes to a long list of low-intervention, natural wines (although only a few by the glass). When it comes to the food, simplicity and flavour are key – so everything on the menu appeals. One to two plates per person, with a couple of snacks to share for good measure, should do it. Quail skewers are so tender, still pink inside, with a sticky and hot honey sauce. Caramelised and moreish, the tingly heat that gently lingers is a reminder of just how good they were. Ricotta dumplings, under a cloud of parmesan, are like edible pillows sent from heaven, crashing down to earth in their bed of early summer peas and courgette. Don't miss Muscat crème caramel for dessert – explicit in its wobble, unapologetic with its boozy flirting. leroyshoreditch.com
Som Saa, Commercial Street – for Thai food
The interior of this popular Thai restaurant wears that trendy East London warehouse look well – it’s a former fabric warehouse – with a mix of exposed brick, thick, battered wooden tabletops, steel girders and tanks of beer from Camden Town Brewery. The staff are really good – friendly, passionate, knowledgeable, efficient. Many have been with the chefs (Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie who both previously worked at Nahm with chef-patron and Thai food guru David Thompson) from the beginning. But, of course, it’s the food that draws these sorts of crowds: uncompromising, regional Thai. We’re recommended to order four to five dishes between two after sampling a cocktail each. Bangkok-style Som tam Thai screeched with flavour – salt, sour, and chilli fire. Sticky rice was addictively good and the ideal carrier for a mellow, sticky Burmese-style curry (gaeng hung lay) of pork belly and shoulder, topped with pickled garlic and ginger. Nahm dtok pla thort (whole deep-fried sea bass) looked terrifying, but hacking into the crisp, roasted rice-coated skin, gave way to the most tender flesh, and was perked up with sprightly dressed Isaan herbs. For dessert, jackfruit poached in coconut cream and palm sugar ice cream with grilled banana are worth a try.
Seed Library, Shoreditch – for sophisticated cocktails
Ryan Chetiyawardana’s latest venture is a slinky drinking den in the basement of the One Hundred Shoreditch hotel. Whereas his flagship bar – Lyaness at Sea Containers in Southbank – showcases a high-concept approach to mixology, Seed Library is deliberately more casual and low key. Walk-ins are encouraged and the space, with its sultry lighting, wood-panelled walls, red velvet chairs and warm palette, feels retro and slightly louche, yet very welcoming. Expect elevated riffs on cocktail classics. Sansho Leaf Martini with Belvedere vodka, Cocchi dry vermouth and green sansho oil is clean and delicate, and subtly savoury. A Coriander Seed Gimlet is gorgeously executed, clean and citrussy with a backbone of gentle, warming spice. Galangal Pencillin swaps the traditional peated whisky for tequila and mezcal, and adds aromatic galangal for a vibrant, smoky cocktail. Bar snacks are winningly hearty, and moreish – expect the likes of deep-fried chicken hearts, beef short rib croquettes and potato smileys.
Genesis, Shoreditch – for vegan fast food
Organic, vegan fast food eaten against a backdrop of bubble gum-pink banquettes, neon signs and original graphic art. It’s all very Shoreditch. Expect a menu bulging with magically meat-free burgers, hot dogs and tacos. There's also mac ‘n’ cheese, made with a type of ancient grain called kamut, with its dairy-defying creamy sauce and sweet edge, and roasted turmeric cauliflower. Desserts include vegan ice cream sundaes, while cocktails are fun to drink (try the vividly purple ‘sacred spritz’, made with vodka, lemongrass and blue matcha). eatgenesis.com
Voodoo Ray’s, Kingsland High Street – for pizza slices
For some of the best slice of pizza in London, head to Voodoo Ray’s for a New York style slice. With four locations across London, this joint bakes 22-inch pizzas topped with everything from wild mushroom, squash and red onion; salt beef, sauerkraut and emmental and a vegan option, piled high with artichoke hearts and green olives. If you fancy a pizza pie for brunch, Voodoo Ray’s serve 10” pizzas on the weekend topped with classic eggs and bacon or a veggie spinach and ricotta version. With a selection of craft beers (think Beavertown, Red Hook and Kona) and frozen margaritas on offer, Voodoo Ray’s is the place to go for a late-night munch. voodoorays.com
Crispin, Spitalfields – for brunch
This all-day and night café can be found on a quiet corner just off Spitalfields and Liverpool Street Station. In a quirky, purpose-built zinc and glass pavilion, designed to look like an origami-folded bird, light pours into the back onto the cool polished concrete bars, and terrazzo-topped ash bar. There’s Assembly coffee from Brixton during the day, and at night Fernando Berry of Otros Vinos has helped curate a rotating wine list focussing on natural and low-intervention wines. Breakfast starts at 7.30am and covers the classics, alongside trendy new contenders. There’s an organic bacon sandwich with house ketchup; bright-yolked, boiled Burford Brown eggs with Dusty Knuckle Bakery soldiers; and Secret Smokehouse (made in London Fields) on sourdough (check out our guide to sourdough here) with soft cheese, lemon and dill. There’s avo on toast, too, plus scrambled eggs with chives and parmesan, and overnight oats with kefir, toasted seeds and compote. Order the super-crunchy, smoked ham toastie – oozing with melted cheddar, topped with a crispy fried egg and showered in finely grated, nutty Berkswell cheese. crispinlondon.com
Old Spitalfields Market, Spitalfields – for street food
Spitalfields Market has a selection of street-food traders right at its heart. Berber & Q, Dumpling Shack and Monty’s Deli are a few familiar faces, but there are new names, too, including seasonal fresh pasta from Sood Family and traditional Taiwanese dishes from JiaBa. Don’t miss out on nose-to tail hearty dishes from Flank (by Brighton chef Tom Griffiths), including bone-marrow crumpets with tender beef cheeks and Marmite sauce. For dessert, head along to Happy Endings for indulgent ice-cream sandwiches and next-level hot chocolates.
Smokestak, Sclater Street – for barbecue
Founder David Carter launched his US-style smoked and barbecued meat stall onto the capital’s street food scene in 2013. Since then Barbadian David, who previously worked front of house at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, The Savoy Grill and Roka, has grown a reputation in London and beyond (praise the lord for the UK food festival circuit) for his USDA brisket, pork and beef ribs. Ribs – beef and pork – collapses from the bone with only the merest nudge. Pigtails, cut into bitesize chunks are fiddly with the bones still intact, but this isn’t a place for airs and graces, or cutlery. It’s a place to gnaw, and spit out bones. Pastrami with sour cabbage and pickles is moreish – rudely blushing pink – amongst the dark, sticky plates that continue to stack up.
Dishoom, Boundary Street – for Bombay brasserie-style outings
Inspired by the all-day Irani cafés that were an integral part of Bombay life, there are now five branches of Dishoom in London (and another in Edinburgh and Manchester), each serving Bombay breakfast, lunch, afternoon chai and dinner. Breakfasts at Dishoom have won a cult following. Not least for the bacon naan rolls – crisp bacon wrapped in tandoor-charred naan with a dollop of chilli tomato jam and cream cheese. Pair with a breakfast lassi or house chai.
Nightjar – for speakasy vibes
The busy City Road in Shoreditch seems an unlikely setting for a stylish, subterranean speakeasy bar but that’s exactly where you’ll find Nightjar. On the outside, a tall wooden door sandwiched between two cafés is the only evidence of its existence, but go inside and discover a plush space replete with candlelit tables, leather banquette seating and flatteringly dim lighting. The bar’s characteristically detailed drinks menu riffs on old cocktail recipes (ranging from the pre-prohibition to post-war periods) but adds its own twist. Try the Honeymoon – a short, fresh yet punchy blend of Glenfiddich 21-year-old whisky, Nightjar’s ‘forbidden fruit liqueur’ (a mix of citrussy pomelo, sherry and dry vermouth), Cynar, mead, lemon and geranium leaf. It's a complex drink, dry and delicately smoky, with subtle honey and aniseed notes. Drink nerds should investigate the bar’s vintage spirits menu, which is full of rare, aged spirits dating from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. barnightjar.com
The Buxton, Spitalfields – for a slicked up boozer
A former Brick Lane boozer turned polished pub-with-rooms, reimagined by the team behind Commercial Street’s The Culpeper. The heart of the action occurs in the slickly refurbished Victorian pub, on the ground floor (there are bedrooms and a roof terrace above). Tall, graceful arched windows introduce plenty of light, while a sweeping rosso levanto marble counter acts as a stylish focal point. Diners sit at a polished, oxblood-coloured counter that surrounds a compact open kitchen. Food is affordably priced, with an emphasis on prime produce and seasonality. Meat (high-welfare native breeds from Swaledale in Yorkshire) is butchered in-house, and fish comes from day boats on the south coast. Simple dishes don’t stray far from British and European classics – the pithy menu covers everything from cottage pie to homemade tagliatelle – but they are well executed and deliver on flavour. The wine list is made up of Old World vintages – we had a mineral chardonnay and a silky malbec – while a short cocktail list riffs on classics. Bar snacks include charcuterie and cheese boards, terrines and rillettes, plus classics such as scotch eggs and chips with aïoli. thebuxton.co.uk
With an impressively modest flat rate (including breakfast and a welcome drink) for every room, this an astute option for solo travellers who have outgrown hostels, or those looking for a comfortable yet affordable base in this fashionable and often pricey part of London. Doubles from £135, check availability at booking.com.
Laurel's On The Roof, Shoreditch – for rooftop cocktails
This rooftop bar at the Mondrian hotel in Shoreditch is inspired by 70s-era Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, with a retro, laid-back aesthetic of low-slung rattan chairs and pendant lamps, neon signage, strings of lights and bold chunky patterns. Think luxe pool party and you’re not far off (and there actually is a pool, which you can use if you’re staying at the Mondrian). The bar is mostly covered, but if it’s sunny nab a seat outside to enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding city. Cocktails are fun and crowd-pleasing – sip on a zesty, long and refreshing Japanese Garibaldi with Campari, yuzu, agave, grapefruit and lime, or a frozen spicy margarita with an earthy, poky kick thanks to tequila, mezcal and Empirical Ayuuk. There’s also an all-day menu of snacks and bigger, retro-inspired dishes – try the OTT Malibu shrimp cocktail with fat chunky prawns, and the pleasingly hearty cobb salad. sbe.com/hotels/mondrian/shoreditch/dining/laurels
Boundary Hotel, Boundary Street – for rooftop vibes
In fast-changing Shoreditch, Boundary is virtually prehistoric. Which is a compliment. Opened in 2009, the fact that this hotel - part of the Prescott & Conran empire - is still buzzing means it got its recipe for classy but unpretentious food, wine and bedrooms right from the off.
In the basement is a small bar serving classic cocktails, and the main Boundary Restaurant, an elegant, boudoir-ish, space that wallows in the gloom, with theatrical lighting bouncing off red velvet chairs, the glass walls of its kitchen and polished cutlery. The menu here also has a strong French influence, with dishes such as roast and confit duck with a cherry sauce and salardaise potatoes and herb-crusted rack of lamb, and a good-value menu du jour (there’s also a wine club, for tastings and events, should the all-French wine list not sate your thirst).
In summer the Boundary Rooftop is the ideal spot to rise above the streetside hustle and sip cocktails as the sun sets over a slightly hushed, 360-degree view of London. It’s by no means out of bounds in winter, though, with its heaters, blankets and covered pergola; shelter under a string of fairy lights with a seasonal cocktail and a sharing plate of octopus and chorizo skewers, or fish or meat dishes cooked on a Robata grill. Or just head up after dinner and sit by the outdoor fireplace nursing a digestive glass of vielle prune.
The real hub of the hotel, however, is Albion, an all-day café, shop and bakery on the ground floor, plus various other outlets around the city. For overnight guests, this is also where breakfast is served. There’s a grown-up vibe but an on-trend menu, stretching to a range of cold-pressed juices, marmite scrolls from the bakery and a ‘healthy’ range of cooked breakfasts.
Bull in a China shop, Shoreditch High Street – for whisky cocktails
Bull in a China Shop specialises in rotisserie chicken and whisky. The chicken is brined for four hours before being left to marinate for a further 24 hours in a mix of Asian spices and yogurt. It’s then finished with a deliciously-dark, sticky whisky glaze. The result is such incredibly succulent, richly flavoured meat that you’ll have to exercise a great amount of willpower not to finish a whole one by yourself. Pair this with some cauliflower cheese fritters and spicy mayo (we’re obsessed), guacamole salad, and house slaw with mooli. As for drinks, it’s all about whisky. Take a seat at the gleaming copper bar and watch the staff hand-carve the ice for your chosen dram from a 30-strong selection of Japanese and Scotch whiskies.
Passione Vino, Leonard Street – for wine
Wine importers Luca Dusi and Federico Bruschetta have run this Shoreditch shop since 2013, supplying Italian wines from 75 different producers to top restaurants including Hélène Darroze at The Connaught and The River Café. Behind the shop itself is a ‘secret bar’ which also spills downstairs to the basement with small tables which can be booked. There’s no wine list or menu as customers are encouraged to discuss their tastes so the team can recommend something just a little out of their comfort zone.
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