We’ve been spending A LOT of time in and around the area these last few months and so wanted to pass along our thoughts of the very best things to do (when you’re planning your trip to see us on the first week of October!)
Aside from the flea markets and the cheeky kormas there’s a world of other hidden gems, from gorgeously simple restaurants to hidden cocktail bars and probably the most famous bagel shop(s) in East London. This is our guide to traversing this deceivingly diverse and trendy road.
Breakfast & Brunch
Unleash your inner Japanese school girl and start your day with what could well be the most expensive bowl of cereal you’ve ever had at The Cereal Killer Café. Colourful bowls full of old favourites will have you buzzing off e-numbers and ready for exploring.
Or if you fancy something more grown up grab a coffee and funky sourdough doughnut... yes that’s a thing now, from Crosstown Doughnuts. And if you just have to start your day with something more traditional, St John’s is just a short stroll for the world’s best sausage sandwich and builder’s tea. If you’re after a quick caffeinated pick-me-up – our fave is Nude Coffee, on Hanbury Street. There’s also a very nice young man that makes great coffee in the courtyard opposite The Boiler House. We don’t know what it’s called but he’s good at his job.
Now this one’s easy, just base yourself in Ely’s Yard where you’ll be surrounded by street food favourites like delicious deep fried chicken from Mother Clucker’s or fully embrace the seemingly new East End way of life and grab a vegan burger at Mooshies. We’re also very partial to a burrito from DF / Mexico but then we’re often found lugging heavy boxes about and we need feeding up!
The best way to while away an afternoon on Brick Lane is to get lost in the quirky shops. If records are your thing then head to Rough Trade East or if you’ve always fancied a vintage bowling shirt then pop into Rokit or Beyond Retro. Brick Lane Bookshop is also a great hideaway to pick up something to read while you satisfy your sugar craving with a hot chocolate from Dark Sugars.
There’s street art aplenty along Brick Lane and the Truman Brewery generally has an exhibition or installation worth a squizz, plus if you visit on a weekend the streets are taken over by stalls full of bric-a-brac and Del Boy jackets, which are always worth a peruse.
If the idea of being touted into one of the many curry houses with the promise of free poppadoms and a glass of questionable wine isn’t for you, then we’ve got some other options...
Technically just off Brick Lane, but worth a mention, Pickled Fred has an Asian inspired menu that’s about more than just pickles. Named after a cheeky monkey in the Philippines and great for a different type of curry to the Brick Lane norm.
Or if you fancy something a little more European head to the top of the Brick lane for two easily missed gems. Blanchette does French small plates really well in an Instagrammers dream setting – think plants, painted tiles and a mural behind the bar.
Then right next door is Hopscotch whose restaurant upstairs serves tasty seafood and plant based small plates cooked over coal... we highly recommend their early evening weekday special, which for two small plates and a cocktail each is an absolute steal.
Carry on your evening in Hopscotch’s intimate downstairs drinking den, where they serve well-made classic cocktails in a speakeasy setting. Then head round the corner for something a little more extravagant at The Cocktail Trading Company, where you’re always guaranteed a fab night out.
Late night snack-attack
We couldn’t write a guide to Brick Lane and not mention the most famous bagels in East London! Join the queue for either of the Bagel shops – Beigel Shop & Beigel Bake, handily only two shops apart and both open 24 hours. The Late night snack spots for post-night out revellers and bartenders alike, whether you chose the yellow shop or the white shop you’ll end your night happy after wrapping your smackers round a salt beef bagel.
The Cocktail Village will be relocating to Brick Lane for 2018
We’re on the right hand side of the road where the Back Yard Market is usually held, stretching across three distinct areas of the Truman estate. Exciting!
Wednesday 03 – Saturday 06 October : Midday – 11pm
Sunday 07 October : Midday – 7pm