If you are looking for things to do in East London, than make eating be at the top of your list. There's never been a shortage of places to eat in East London. In fact, some of London’s most infamous eats – think the curry houses of Brick Lane, salt beef bagels and of course, your pie and jellied eel, all hail from London’s cockney roots. And in recent years the area has made room for ventures from chefs and restaurateurs with some real clout in the culinary world. From Tomos Parry of BRAT fame and Margot Henderson, co-founder of Rochelle Canteen, the neighbourhood has come a long way from its small but mighty culinary beginnings. Below, we point you in the direction of some of our favourite restaurants in East London to add to your Google Maps now.2023 July 05
Don’t be fooled by its somewhat rustic exterior, Towpath Café has made a name for itself serving up seasonally-lead, no-frills, no-fuss nourishing food. Located just on the
waters’ edge of Regents Canal, service runs almost around the clock from breakfast through to dinner, with locals also stopping by for a quick cuppa or oat flat white. What it really excels at though – is brunch. Think the hearty kind but stepped up a notch - Spanish sausage sandwiches, Turkish eggs with yoghurt and brown butter and confit garlic & goats curd on sourdough toast. With celebrity fans that include Keira Knightley and Sex Education’s Asa Butterfield, Towpath Cafe proves why simple is almost always best.
Make like the influencer crew with a trip to this romantic, candle-lit space In Hackney. With no detail left un-touched, with its millennial shabby-chic logo (named after Dolly Parton’s song Jolene), and terracotta-pink East London bakery off-joints, Jolene serves up breakfast, lunch, small plates and dinner. Plates are healthy, seasonally-lead and photogenic (hence the crowd), but taste as good as they look. It even has its own mill, where it makes all its bread, pasta, and perfectly flakey pastries. Make sure to book ahead (though I’m sure we didn’t have to tell you that) and order a few of the small plates and a glass of natural wine – what else.
With a culinary CV which includes stints at the River Café, St John and Spring, it’s no wonder Max Rocha’s Café Cecilia was a success from the offset. Named after his mother, this relaxed hangout is home cooking at its core. Like most of the restaurants in this list, all dishes are seasonally lead, made to share and inspired by Rocha’s childhood in Ireland. Expect, Guinness-infused bread with salted butter, whole grilled onions with feta and herb and deep-fried bread and butter pudding to top it all off. Leave satisfied, belly and soul full.
Potentially the swankiest restaurant on this, BRAT needs little to no introduction. Often touted as one of the best restaurants in East London, Tomos Parry’s BRAT burst onto the Shoreditch restaurant scene in 2018 and the rest, as they say, is history. Its name hails from the Old English word for turbot, and while turbot grilled directly on the coals in a metal basket is the restaurant’s signature dish, there’s much more to the menu than just whole fish. Heavily inspired by Basque Country cooking, many dishes are made directly on the flames – don’t discount the whole roasted potatoes and wood-fired greens which are so much more than just humble side dishes. And while the restaurant does serve individual portions such as grilled mackerel, roasted duck rice and lemon sole, it is with its sharing dishes of beef rib and of course, its star – the whole roasted turbot where true satisfaction can be found. Grab a few friends and get down there now.
Simple, creative and ever-changing – what more could you want from a restaurant and Elliot’s does all three by the tenfold. This light and airy space screams Scandinavian minimalism, but with a hygge warmth, all warm tones and orange-hued lighting that is impeccably good for first dates. Luckily, the menu holds all of the same charm as the interior. Small, seasonal and rotating (there is a theme here), you’ll find veal tartare alongside monkfish and some of the best wood-fired pizza in East London, cooked on a sourdough base and topped with everything from crab, beef ragu and whole-grilled courgette flowers (don’t discount the vegan option).
Brought to us by Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson (whose husband is of the St. John’s fame), Rochelle’s Canteen has been serving tasty, seasonal food in a former school courtyard since 2004. Housed in what was once the bike shed, the airy space acts as a hub for edgy creatives. A place to enjoy simple and perfectly executed dishes, expect the likes of brown shrimp, white cabbage and chervil, asparagus and butter, and a rhubarb fool to die for. Both sustainable and seasonal, the menu changes daily, with a vast majority of its a huge produce grown in the restaurant’s adjacent walled garden, and anything not grown on-site is sourced from within the British Isles.
Nothing says East London hipster like the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘zero waste’ and this Hackney Wick resident has been leading the way to eco-focused eating since 2019. Nothing here is wasted – ingredients are bought directly from producers and farmers, bread is made in the attached flour mill, butter is churned on-site and every inch is used in some way. Even the tables chairs of this canal-side eatery are upcycled and sustainable, crockery is recycled glass and its plates have been formed from plastic bags (would you expect anything else?). All dishes on the daily-changing, six-course tasting menu are beautifully curated and can’t be found anywhere else. Expect comforting but upscaled classics such as bran baked beetroot, wild garlic dumplings and a potato-skin soup – made to be mopped up with thickly-sliced bread and house-churned butter.
In the past, Notting Hill was known as a multicultural melting pot with a free-spirited attitude for people who couldn't afford Kensington or Chelsea. Fast forward 30 years or so and Notting Hill is now better known for its high-end boutiques, designer stores and award-winning restaurants. But despite the bankers having moved in and the sea of tourists searching for Mr Grant’s blue door, the old spirit of Notting Hill can still be found – you just need to know where to look. In the runup to its most famous export – Notting Hill Carnival, we asked West London's locals about the best spots that go beyond what you see on social media.
If your trip has been cancelled or delayed, or you’re simply looking for an easy place to stay to catch some Zs before your early morning flight, we’ve rounded up three of our most convenient easyHotels near Gatwick Airport.
This May King Charles III was crowned at Westminster Abbey, marking the reign of a new King and era in royal British history. With a festival-like fever in the air in light of the coronation, we couldn’t think of a better time to explore all that the capital has to offer and visit one of its many royal attractions on offer. With plenty of coronation-themed attractions going on throughout the year (not just in May), there’s plenty of sights to see and special events to tick off your bucket list. So, without further ado, whether you’re planning a day trip or a long weekend away, here are our top picks of the best royal attractions to see and do in London this summer.