Although East London was once a derelict neighborhood, it is now the place to be and the place to eat. With locally-sourced ingredients and cultural cachet (and the rent prices to go with it) East London’s food scene is no longer a secret.
On the outskirts of East London, in the city’s business district, this East End brasserie within the Andaz London Liverpool Street has tapped into the local art scene, with works by street artists. When it comes to food, head chef Dunleavy doesn’t disappoint, and the highlight at this brasserie is the “Meats from the Grill” section of the menu that showcases Eastway’s signature style. There’s a communal table to encourage interaction among guests or to simply share with friends while sipping specialty cocktails and indulging in tapas. During the warmer months, guests can dine al fresco while people watching on the Liverpool Street terrace.
This all-day dining restaurant in London Fields is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and Sunday roasts, and the menu evolves and changes depending on availability of fresh ingredients. The restaurant takes a healthful (but not raw or vegan) approach to eating by creating a menu that incorporates current produce and local ingredients sourced only from trusted suppliers. The menu is full of homemade pickles, jams, and drinking vinegars, and the wine is carefully selected from a small number of suppliers who source natural and biodynamic wines. It doesn’t matter what time of day you sit down at a communal table at Rawduck—it’s always going to be good.
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When chef Matthew Lucas Young and sommelier Jack Lewens met at a wine event a few years ago, they immediately clicked, and their friendship and partnership gave rise to Ellory. The intimate space plays host to incredible meals that change daily according to what’s fresh, thanks to the restaurant’s relationship with local growers and producers. The wine offered is matched to the daily menu, but is heavily dominated by the Old World. Both men are extremely passionate about what they do and the reservations, which fill up fast, prove they know what they are doing.
Wheeler’s Oyster Bar & Grill Room
With a menu conceived by the enigmatic Marco Pierre White, the “godfather of modern British cooking,” Wheeler’s Oyster Bar & Grill Room, located within Threadneedles Hotel London, focuses on high-quality British ingredients such as local fresh catch and an indulgent menu with a flair for flavor. Threadneedles was once a bank, and the old bank counter is now dedicated to oysters and Champagne. The restaurant also boasts a distinctive gin selection, a world-class wine list, and craft cocktails. In the evenings before 7 pm, guests can enjoy two oysters and a glass of house champagne for £10, making it a welcoming environment for those wanting to indulge on a budget.
Located within The Westbury in Mayfair, the stylish and elegant Art Deco–inspired Polo Bar has won countless awards for their cocktails and is often considered among the best bars in London. With an exquisite drinks list, Polo Bar is crowded with executives during the day and anyone looking to unwind and enjoy a sophisticated cocktail during the evening. But it’s not just the drinks—Polo Bar has an extraordinary selection of food and nibbles to savor as well. With an entire page dedicated to small plates to share, ranging from Beluga caviar to Scotch egg, there are options for any palate.
A classic steakhouse and cocktail bar with several locations, including a new one opening in New York, Hawksmoor Spitalfields has dominated the East London dining scene for a decade. Serving British beef sourced exclusively from Tim Wilson of The Ginger Pig, and cocktails created by Nick Strangeway, the Spitalfields location is the signature restaurant and model of all Hawksmoor restaurants. The steaks here are big cuts and the portions are hefty, so come with an appetite. For those looking for something lighter, their Cellar Bar has a short cocktail list and a menu of sandwiches and snacks.
The Jones Family Project
This modern steakhouse and cocktail bar in Shoreditch is visually exhilarating. Downstairs, the massive main dining room has an open kitchen. The Jones Family Project places the main focus on the meat, sourced from Britain’s best farmers and butchers, although they do cater to vegetarians who might have mistakenly made a reservation. The extensive wine list has more than 20 choices by the glass, and their cocktail list features in-house aged ingredients. They are open daily Monday to Saturday and for traditional Sunday roast.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's East London Guide