British, Modern Restaurants in Shoreditch
1. Leroy British, Modern restaurant in Shoreditch 18 Phipp Street - EC2A
“Perfectly executed classics with a gentle twist” and other small plates with “delicious and inventive combinations” have won foodie renown for this approachable (if “rather cramped”) two-year-old: a re-working (and not just of the name) of the same team’s original Hackney outfit, Ellory (RIP), occupying a quirky triangular site. Our reporters are a little more circumspect, and unimpressed that the venue sometimes seems to attract “the Michelin-star-chasing crowd... not what you’d want in a neighbourhood Shoreditch restaurant”.
2. Lyle's British, Modern restaurant in Shoreditch The Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street - E1
“Notwithstanding the hipster canteen vibe, this is the real thing!”. James Lowe’s “brilliantly executed”, seasonal British small plates – “fresh and light, yet sturdy and filling when required” (and often “using a wood-fired oven to give that extra tang of flavour”) – are complemented by “delicious bread” and “a proper list of natural wines”, and have rightly won renown for his venerated foodie champion: a light-filled space at the foot of Shoreditch’s iconic Tea Building. Its ratings are not quite as beyond-stellar as when the venue first opened, however, and it’s no criticism to say that its No. 2 ranking in the UK according to the World’s 50 Best has less to do with its “sublime” cooking, and more to do with the in-crowd criteria of the fooderati who vote for it. Top Tip – “the Lyle’s Guest Chef Series programme is great”.
3. Galvin HOP British, Modern restaurant in Shoreditch 35 Spital Sq - E1
This haute-gastropub near Spitalfields Market is next to brothers Chris and Jeff’s deluxe Galvin La Chapelle, and serves “high-quality bistro-style food”. Ratings have improved in the past 12 months as the transition from its former guise, Café à Vin, has bedded in.
4. The Clove Club British, Modern restaurant in Shoreditch Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St - EC1
In terms of media profile, Daniel Willis, Johnny Smith and chef Isaac McHale’s groundbreaking, east London six-year-old is one of the capital’s culinary titans: the highest UK restaurant in the famous World’s 50-best ranking of global gastronomic champions (one of only two UK names to be thus-recognised). Occupying a neutrally-decorated chamber within Shoreditch’s gracious old town hall – with blue-tiled open kitchen on view – the experience features prodigiously-edgy combinations using seasonal British ingredients, and is centred on an extended tasting menu (although there is also a cut-down version available Monday to Thursday, which has a mere six courses; as well another cut-down option at lunch of just four courses). The restaurant also makes a particular feature of thoughtful non-alcoholic and ‘ambient tea’ drinks pairings to complement its more traditional wine options – an innovation other big names would do well to follow. Does it live up? For many reporters the answer is still yes, with lavish praise for its “lush”, “exceptionally creative cuisine”, “unusually knowledgeable service” and “remarkable wine”. However the “pretentiously unpretentious” interior (no tablecloths of course) lacks charge for somewhere now so famous; and overall the average ratings here are starting to look thoroughly middling in terms of London’s other ‘heavy hitting’ names, by which yardstick its Top 50 placement just doesn’t stack up. Flabbergasting pricing is another issue: even fans acknowledge “you need to remortgage your home to go”, and 1 in 3 reporters now vote it their most overpriced meal of the year. Oh, and you have to pay in advance…
5. St John Bread & Wine British, Traditional restaurant in Shoreditch 94-96 Commercial St - E1
Home of “possibly the best bacon sandwich in London amongst all the faddishness and superficiality of modern Spitalfields” – this “carnivore heaven” is “more accessible and less full-on than the original (and still best) St John”, but still serves “excellent nose-to-tail food” from breakfast to dinner. Its white-walled, canteen-like quarters are echoey and not especially comfortable, but somehow avoid seeming as grimly utilitarian as they otherwise might. Top Tip – the baking is gorgeous: “an Eccles cake here will offer all the benefits of a warm hug”.
6. Merchants Tavern British, Modern restaurant in Shoreditch 36 Charlotte Road - EC2
Following on from Neil Borthwick’s departure a year ago, his wife Angela Hartnett has severed her ties with this large and elegant gastropub-style haunt that she helped create from a converted Shoreditch warehouse. The amount of feedback the place generates has declined dramatically, and the few reports we have are mixed: some say it’s still very good all round, but more downbeat commentary says “this used to be very good, but our recent meal was very poor”.
7. St Leonard’s British, Modern restaurant in Shoreditch 70 Leonard Street - EC2A
This potentially “very interesting newcomer” in Shoreditch (on the site long famous as Eyre Brothers, RIP) with a ‘fire and ice’ theme – a combination of open-hearth, roast dishes with a raw seafood bar – failed to ignite passions amongst our reporters in its first 12 months, despite some adulatory press reviews. Some fans did proclaim its “amazing” dishes, but others said “how I hate this place” citing “terrible food and snotty service”. Perhaps the management just didn’t gel, as Jackson Boxer unexpectedly severed his ties with the place in August 2019, leaving Andrew Clarke to soldier on solo.
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