An area of ultimate fusion, Spitalfields is the embodiment of City meets east. Glass towers perch alongside back roads of a once thriving textile industry, Brick Lane’s famous curry houses jostle for space with cocktail bars and old boozers while the eccentric muddle of the market’s antique stalls are framed by permanent high street chains.
Dotted in amongst this fantastic jumble of modernity and eccentricity is a thriving community and a formidable hospitality scene.
The Early Bird
Mornings in Spitalfields are more often greeted by the beginning of rush hour rather than revellers stumbling home. The market has just started setting up and Brick Lane is an oasis of calm, hours before the heady scents of cumin and cardamom dominate the air.
Head to Blixen in the market for breakfast in their idyllic indoor garden or opt for a weekday dose of avocado on sourdough toast with tomato, chilli and coriander at Jago. Fancy eggs the continental way? Chez Elle on Brick Lane is a perfect quaint French brunch spot.
Wake Me Up
Pret, Starbucks, Nero and Costa are all found in abundance around Liverpool Street and Bishops Square but coffee aficionados should head straight to Nude Espresso on Hanbury Street for their beautiful roasts and calm vibes. Moments away Brick Lane Coffee and Fika are all serving excellent coffee.
Eateries abound Old Spitalfields Market and you could do worse than spend a few hours munching through the menu at St John Bread & Wine. According to Guardian and Timeout food critics Wright Brothers’ Spitalfields outpost is the best of the group with its sublime seafood offering, but if it’s meat you’re after then while away lunch hour at New Street Grill.
The Culpeper on Commerical Street
Sparking the idea that a British steakhouse could exist outside the trappings of Americana, let alone be beautifully designed and serve some of this country’s best cuts of meat, was Hawksmoor.
Spitalfields was the first of this now national chain of restaurants and is still one of the best places to eat and drink in London. Come for a Sunday Roast, a delicious dinner or a fabulous cocktail in the award-winning bar downstairs. There’s simply something very special about this place.
Inside Spitalfields Market
Thrift Shops and Antiques
Spitalfields Market is a hoarder’s delight. There’s a real mix of wares for sale, from 1940s inspired hats to artwork and old books with everything in between. In the area’s surrounding streets are some of the best vintage shops about. Head down Brick Lane, making a quick stop at the Laden Showroom for local modern designers, and wander onto Cheshire Street to hunt for bargains.
Brick Lane’s famous Indian restaurants are okay – and most Londoner’s will have a favourite. For something more upmarket and away from the crowds try Cinnamon Kitchen in the beautiful Devonshire Square. Smoked meats and outstanding desserts feature on Hoxbox’s menu and Hanbury Street’s Sichaun-Folk is the ultimate destination for authentic and incredible Chinese. Or, for a lighter meal, Miyako at the Andaz Hotel serves delicious fresh sushi and sashimi although the space is intimate so book ahead.
Discount Suit Company on Wentworth Street
Time For A Tipple
There is an absolute abundance of bars serving quality drinks around Spitalfields. For intimate cocktails and tasty cheese become a regular at the charming Discount Suit Company. Around the corner the artistic 46 & Mercy’s drinks are always spot on, and there's nothing like treating yourself to oysters and champagne at Wright Brothers followed by a few classic and well-crafted cocktails.
Wine lovers can leisurely peruse New Street Wine Shop where you can enjoy a glass and buy a bottle for later, or at Bedales where the warm atmosphere is perfect for a few glasses of the good stuff. Afterwards cross the road to Liverpool Street’s Andaz Hotel which boasts the beautiful Catch Champagne Bar & Lounge as well as 1901 Restaurant & Wine Bar, both of which are great for a grape-inspired tipple. If hops are more your thing then you'll fall for The Culpeper with it's easy dining and drinking space. The beer list here will knock your socks off - think zesty pale ales and local London crafted lagers - as will the food menu.
Take Me Higher
Ride in style right up to the 38th floor of the Heron Tower for cocktails with a view at Sushi Samba and stay for the delicious Japanese-Brazilian fusion food. Two floors above is the sublime Duck & Waffle whose inverse bar, jaw-dropping views and 24 hour license make it one of London’s best drinking spots.