estled in the shadow of the City, a favourite of suits, students and everyone in between, Shoreditch has garnered a well-earned reputation as one of London’s hottest – and coolest – neighbourhoods. A centre of art, fashion and nightlife, the area has become synonymous with trendy, hipster-approved eateries that set the bar for chefs across the capital and the country alike (we can all thank Shoreditch cool kids for the appearance of avocado toast on brunch menus everywhere).
Tasty treats from every corner of the globe can be found among the galleries, coffee shops and independent record stores that are as ubiquitous as Shoreditch’s famous street art. From Michelin-starred restaurants offering up gastronomical set menus served on wooden planks and upcycled slate, to the area’s bustling street food scene, each venue is decidedly unique and unapologetically hip – a true testament to the neighbourhood’s cool kid vibes. Here’s our guide to the best restaurants Shoreditch has to offer.
Bao Noodle Shop
From humble beginnings in London Fields’ Netil Market, Bao has grown to become a London institution, offering up fluffy pillow-like buns filled with all manner of tasty Taiwanese treats across the city. Run by the family behind Gymkhana, Trishna and Hoppers, their latest opening on Redchurch Street is a little different.
Inspired by Taiwanese noodle bars, Bao Noodle Shop invites diners to sit around an open kitchen where chefs offer up steaming bowlfuls of authentic Taipei and Tainan beef noodle soup, along with the ever-popular cloudlike buns from which the restaurant takes its name.
Kelp noodle soup with aubergine and dan dan tofu noodles offer a plant-based take on the Taiwanese classic, or for the full noodle shop experience try out the set menu, which features eel and smacked cucumber and boiled cull yaw dumplings. A range of refreshing cocktails sees classics infused with a taste of Taiwan; keep the party going all night with an Umeshu negroni (plum sake, gin, campari, vermouth) or the milk tea Old Fashioned (milk washed whisky, Taiwanese tea and bitters) in the venue’s private karaoke room.
1 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ, baolondon.com
Following the roaring success of their Heddon Street pop-up and subsequent Soho residency on Great Marlborough Street, chefs Chris Leach and David Carter have reincarnated Manteca once again, this time taking its much-lauded concept to East London. Launched last November and situated centre-stage on Curtain Road, easily marked out by its floating pig’s head signage, the team at Manteca continues to delight and thrill with its refreshing infusion of British and Italian nose-to-tail cuisine.
Fan favourites such as the house-made mortadella, wood-fired focaccia and decadent duck fazzoletti remain on menu, joined by ever-more mouthwatering choices such as the pig skin ragu, ‘nduja steamed mussels and brown crab cacio e pepe. Libations abound with a new menu of cocktails – many of which are crafted with Manteca’s own homemade amaro – which takes inspiration from the restaurant’s British-Italian roots. Desserts, such as the pair’s frangipane twist on a torta di mele, are not to be overlooked and, for those lucky enough to visit on a night it is available, Leach’s famed stuffed pig snout is a must, even if just for the Instagram likes.
49-51 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT, mantecarestaurant.co.uk
Entering Gloria is somewhat like stepping into the past. With its kitschy-chic interior, the ‘70s-style Capri-inspired trattoria feels every bit as authentic as its food. Owned by Big Mamma group, the Parisian collective behind Fitzrovia’s Circolo Popolare and Ave Mario of Covent Garden, Gloria specialises in decadent, flavourful Italian classics that will stay with you long after the last limoncello is sunk.
Served tableside from a wheel of pecorino, la gran carbonara has become the stuff of Instagram legend, but other dishes shine just as bright. There’s the burrata con marinara with crispy black kale, and the xo xo agnolotti – fresh pasta stuffed with slow-cooked ox cheek ragú in a castelmagno fondue sauce and topped with crispy sage. For dessert, two all-time favourites go head-to-head in competition for your attention: il tigramisù (made just like nonna used to do) and the ‘incomparable lemon pie’ with its towering 5-inch layer of meringue. Unsurprisingly, the buzz around Big Mamma’s London venues is huge – all three restaurants regularly get booked up a month in advance and the queue for walk-in tables at Gloria stretches along Great Eastern Street daily.
54-56 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3QR, bigmammagroup.com
In a former Lipton tea factory, directly opposite buzzing Box Park, sits Lyle’s. With a pared-back industrial interior, chef James Lowe – who gained recognition as one of the Young Turks, a collective of chefs famed for their pop-ups and supper clubs – stays true to the restaurant’s roots, letting his modern British small plates do all the talking.
Menus at the Michelin-starred venue are updated daily: for lunch, the sophisticated a la carte offering pairs high-quality seasonal produce with freshly sourced British meat and seafood – think pheasant broth with calçot, barley and egg yolk, razor clams with sea purslane and seaweed broth, or bitter leaves with pear and stichelton. A technically accomplished, yet seemingly simple, set menu is dished up for dinner, allowing guests the opportunity to sample the best of Lowe’s carefully considered compositions.
Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ, lyleslondon.com
Set among the vibrant street art of Shoreditch, Smokestak is one of London’s best-loved barbecue spots, and it’s easy to see why. Born and raised in Barbados, chef David Carter (also of Manteca, formerly of Claridge’s and Roka) fuses Bajan and Central Texas-style BBQ, bringing the best of both techniques together for a unique eating experience that has Londoners and tourists alike flocking to the venue time and time again.
Beef rib is truly the star of the show at Smokestak: 28-day dry-aged British beef is seasoned abundantly with oil, salt and pepper, then oak-smoked for seven hours on-site before being glazed with beef dripping and homemade BBQ sauce, and finished off over hot coals until charred. This is definitely not your dad’s British summer barbie.
35 Sclater Street, E1 6LB, smokestak.co.uk
The Clove Club
Housed in the ever-glam Shoreditch Town Hall, the Michelin-starred Clove Club helped put Shoreditch on the foodie map when they opened back in 2013. Billed as classic British cuisine with a modern twist, chef Isaac McHale – who cut his teeth at Noma and the Ledbury – applies his globally-inspired technique to fresh locally-sourced produce.
Staying true to its roots as an experimental supper club, tasting menus are the order of the day and feature a range of classic British favourites made creatively contemporary with unexpected pairings. Recent highlights include a chilled courgette soup with Cornish crab, parmesan and basil, dry-aged Middlewhite pork with new season garlic and Indian spices, and, for dessert, a loquat sorbet with a loquat kernel mousse, popcorn and amaranth.
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT, thecloveclub.com