They always go back four seconds.
Hungry Londoners, on the other hand, head to one of the city’s many dining micro-capitals when they’re in need of some nosh – and it just so happens that Spitalfields is one of them. Less posey than Shoreditch, but more eccentric than Liverpool Street, it’s a little pocket of dining heaven on the edge of the City.
And so, in our unending quest to make you happy, we’ve made a list of our favourite Spitalfields restaurants.
These are they –
Gunpowder | £££
Gunpowder is pure dynamite. Packed into a tiny, brick-walled room with a bar made from old chairs and lights from repurposed metal thali dishes, it’s a heady, convivial spot for flavoursome Bengali-inspired grub, like their venison and vermicelli donut, encrusted in what can only be described as a pastry hedgehog…
Details: 11 White’s Row, E1 7NF | Open Mon Sat, 12-3pm and 5.30-10.30pm
Som Saa | £££
Once housed in an East London railway arch with exposed brick walls and reclaimed furniture, Som Saa can now be found in an East London warehouse with exposed brick walls and reclaimed furniture. Their miraculous transformation from pop up to permanent came about thanks to their critically lauded flair for Thai cuisine, which they now serve up alongside equally excellent cocktails.
Details: 43A Commercial Street, E1 6BD | Open for lunch Tues-Sun, 12-2.30pm, dinner Mon-Sat 6-10.30pm
St. John Bread & Wine | £££
St. John must be the unofficial patron saint of dining. Because this spot (from acclaimed chef Fergus Henderson and wine master Trevor Gulliver) is a true blessing, with a ‘nose to tail’ dining philosophy that sees everything from snouts to trotters served up with serious culinary flair.
Details: 94-96 Commercial Street, E1 6LZ | Open daily for breakfast, lunch & dinner
Hawksmoor Spitalfields | ££££
The original in what is now a micro-empire of moody steak spots, with killer cocktails, thick hunks of Ginger Pig-reared steaks and sides like triple cooked chips; steak and bone marrow sausages; and mash with Neal’s Yard cheese. Plus, it’s handily perched above one of the area’s best bars.
Details: 157a Commercial Street, E1 6BJ | Open Mon-Sat 12-2.30pm (3pm Sat) and 5-10.30pm, Sunday 12-9pm
Ottolenghi | ££
Almighty Mediterranean and Levantine-inspired dining in a pared back space, tucked quietly down a Spitalfields side street. Here you can feast on burnt leeks with whipped feta; bream with smoked bulgur wheat and roasted butternut squash with sake yoghurt, while perched up at the bar overlooking the ‘tenders putting together mezcal sours and chilli cardamom negronis.
Details: 50 Artillery Lane, E1 7LJ | Open weekdays 8am-10.30pm, Sat 9am-10.30pm, Sun 9am-6pm
The Culpeper wins points for three main reasons. 1) The rooftop restaurant where you’ll take part in summer workshops like botanical sketching or cocktail making, before sitting down to a meal made with ingredients grown on that very same rooftop. 2) The rooftop restaurant that you can hire privately in winter, for a meal made with ingredients grown on that very same rooftop. 3) Doughnuts.
Details: 40 Commercial Street, E1 6LP | Open Mon-Thurs 11am-midnight; Fri & Sat 11am-2am; Sun 11am-11pm
Last Updated: 17th December 2018 | Main image: Som Saa
After something a little more casual? Check out the pop up kitchens in Spitalfields Market