Take your tastebuds on a gastronomic global tour without leaving East London
Whether you’re a born and bred Londoner or visiting the English capital for the first time, there’s no shortage of fantastic restaurants to choose from wherever you are in the city. In fact, in the last decade London has cemented itself as the restaurant capital of the world thanks to its sheer diversity of world cuisine, with a growing reputation that outshines even that of Paris or New York.
One of the cultural hearts of London’s gastronomic scene is, of course, East London. While historically the East End didn’t offer much to tempt the taste buds, the area has slowly become a hub of different cultures, communities and cuisines. It has long been famed for traditional Cockney fare – such as jellied eels or pie and mash shops – but East London’s streets have also been the heart of immigration into London throughout the centuries; enriched by large communities of French Hugenots and Walloons, African mariners, Jewish migration from Eastern Europe, Muslim migration from across the former British Empire, and large Bangladeshi communities in the 1970s to name just a few.
The now-trendy, widely gentrified area is also home to the capital’s love affair with craft beer as well as a new wave of quirky gastronomic gambits such as the Cereal Killer Cafe and Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. It’s little wonder then, that from Commercial Road to Brick Lane and beyond, the East End has become one of the best areas of London to satisfy any dinner craving, whatever your budget.
Volopa has gathered a few gems to help you travel the world by taste…
A cocktail bar with a penchant for great design, Behind This Wall is contemporary East London at its hipster finest. Seasonal drinks menu use only locally sourced ingredients and no artificial additives, creating a perfect place to whet your whistle before – or after – getting down to the serious business of dinner.
This super trendy home-style Indian restaurant opened in Spitalfields in 2015, and has now grown to include a second site by Tower Bridge. The family-run spot is a popular choice with locals and food critics alike, but won’t break the bank. Try maa’s kashmiri lamb chops for a melt-in-the-mouth meal.
Easily the most down to earth sushi bar on Brick Lane, Suito is a Japanese restaurant and cocktail spot that will delight you with its fresh and suitably quirky creations. If you want to embrace the East End’s Cockney heritage in style, you can’t go wrong with the Eel Uramaki.
Celebrate our cousins across the pond with this American-themed bar and grill that brings Harlem to Shoreditch. Founded by acclaimed New York chef Marcus Samuelsson, this is Southern soul food to die for – with plenty of themed events for U.S. holidays.
It’s location is edging into Central, but this Highlands-themed restaurant is a must-visit thanks to its stunning menu. Offering wild Scottish meat, game and seafood cooked to perfection – as well as a virtual shooting range in the basement – you’ll get a true taste of the rich gems the British Isles has to offer.
Mexican food is always a winner for a large group of friends, and this trendy venue’s classic menu is designed to be shared with a range of platters, set menus or larger dishes. Favourites including chimichangas, burritos and fajitas are all available.
Authentic Thai cuisine and elaborate cocktails make Thaisty’s simple but flavoursome menu stand out from the pack. With all the classic dishes in its repertoire, Brick Lane’s Thaisty does a roaring trade in deliveries as well.
* The Volopa Lifestyle Programme offers exclusive cashback deals at many restaurants in the UK, including those marked here, and is available with every Volopa prepaid MasterCard. To find out more, visit volopa.com/lifestyle