Traditionally a less common culinary go-to than the City’s established West End, East London has proclaimed itself to be a thriving gastro-heartland busily reviving the imagination and skill behind unforgettable food. Here are our top five restaurants from a wave of new openings across the East.
The Clove Club
Opened in March amidst appropriate excitement in the food world, the Clove Club occupies two rooms within the once-upon-a-time grandeur of Shoreditch Town Hall. Danny Willis, Johnny Smith and chef Isaac McHale, key players behind Upstairs at the Ten Bells, a popular pop-up-turned-permanent in Spitalfields, reunite to present their latest offering of innovative dishes. A five-course set menu (£46) offers quirky and high quality British-inspired food, such as Mackerel, Pickled Rhubarb & Tokyo Turnip, all industriously prepared before your eyes in the open kitchen. Sharing plates (£4.50-£17 each) can also be selected à-la-carte in the Clove Club’s bar area.
Address: Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London EC2A 3BE
Bird of Smithfield
If you need further motivation to “go East” then the decision by the Ivy’s former executive chef Alan Bird to open a flagship five-floor venue in Farringdon must surely clinch it. Opposite the famous Smithfield market, Bird of Smithfield just opened its doors to the public. On the menu in the circa 50-seat restaurant will be British dishes which pay flavoursome homage to the colonial influences that have seasoned the country’s plates over centuries. The Georgian townhouse venue also boasts a bar, lounge and roof terrace.
Address: 26 Smithfield St, London EC1A 9LB
Casa Negra which opens this spring, is the latest offering from Australian-born restaurateur Will Rikker of Rikker Restaurants, whose past successes have included the pan-Asian e&o in Notting Hill as well as Mexican eatery La Bodega Negra, on Soho’s Old Compton Street. Casa Negra is housed on the former site of one of Rikker’s first restaurants, the acclaimed Great Eastern Dining Room, and will be a sister venue to La Bodega Negra. Diners can expect to see Rikker building upon La Bodega Negra’s ability to take Mexican cuisine beyond guacamole and burritos to offer imaginative renditions of classic dishes, such as their Wild Sea Bass Red and Green Adobe.
Opens Spring 2013
Address: 54-56 Great Eastern St London, EC2A 3QR, United Kingdom
MasterChef fans will remember the daring and by all accounts eccentric dishes of 2011 winner Tim Anderson, which included “cola-braised pork belly”. This spring will see the opening of his first restaurant on Shoreditch High Street offering Southern Japanese cuisine. Visitors can expect to see the same playfulness Anderson displayed on screen but also a devotion to recreating authentically the dishes of South Japan, where he lived for two years, gaining a love of the culinary traditions.
Opens Spring/Summer 2013
Address: Shoreditch High Street, London E1
Tom’s Kitchen Canary Wharf
Tom Aikens will bring his beloved brand of British brasserie to East London’s Docklands this summer, as he opens Tom’s Kitchen Canary Wharf. With business partners London Doors, Aikens will offer busy City workers a place to relax at the Westferry Circus venue featuring a bar, deli, 130-seater restaurant and private dining room. Diners can expect the chef’s famed blend of indulgent British favourites such as Macaroni Cheese with a grating of truffle and French-inspired dishes such as Milk Chocolate Mousse Profiteroles. Visitors may also choose to enjoy the 80-seater terrace, accompanied perhaps by a Champagne cocktail such as the elderflower-scented “Twinkle”.
Opens: Late June 2013
Address: 11 Westferry Circus, London, E14