British, Modern Restaurants in Spitalfields
1. Mr White's English Chophouse British, Modern restaurant in Whitechapel 103 - 107 New Road - E1
Mr. White’s English Chophouse By Marco Pierre WhiteMarco Pierre White was the first and youngest British chef to achieve three-Michelin stars. His good looks and devilish behaviour led to the media dubbing him ‘the original rock-star ch...
2. St John Bread & Wine British, Traditional restaurant in Shoreditch 94-96 Commercial St - E1
2021 Review: 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”.
3. The Buxton British, Modern restaurant in Tower Hamlets 42 Osborn Street - E1
2021 Review: From the team behind the nearby Culpeper, this new (June 2019) gastroboozer occupies a cleverly rebuilt seven-storey site near the foot of Brick Lane, whose redevelopment has allowed the addition of 15 bedrooms. It opened too late for survey feedback: The Standard’s David Sexton found the ground floor bar a little “cramped” and “not for lingering”, but a good value, if “lonely pioneer of bourgeois taste” in this grungy ’hood.
4. The Culpeper British, Modern restaurant in Aldgate 40 Commercial St - E1
2021 Review: “The lovely first-floor dining room is a particular favourite” at this thoughtfully converted Spitalfields gastropub with its own rooftop garden (complete with summer BBQ). “Friendly” and “unpretentious”, its cooking pleases all reporters (but misses the raves it once attracted).
5. Lyle's British, Modern restaurant in Shoreditch The Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street - E1
2021 Review: “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”.
6. Mãos British, Modern restaurant in Shoreditch 41 Redchurch Street - E2
2021 Review: “Nuno Mendes strikes again, outside the box” at his “informal and wonderful” Shoreditch 16-seater, where a once-daily, three-hour sitting provides a “very intimate” happening, which fans hail as “the top dining experience in town”. It is tucked away up a staircase in the ‘nurturing’ environment of the Blue Mountain School – self-described as ‘a progressive vision and a physical place of contemplation’ (where one can spend a ton of money on clothes and other artisanal creations). The meal takes place in a bare terracotta chamber at a shared table, and “the opportunity to watch and interact with the chefs makes the experience so much more interesting”. “An ever-changing, multi-course tasting menu” is served: “inventive, challenging” and “exciting”. It’s “a brilliant concept” and one whose scary expense inspires not a single grumble from anyone commenting this year. And – breaking news… – with a recent change of policy, taking pics for your Insta feed is now not only allowed but encouraged.
7. Humble Grape British, Modern restaurant in City 8 Devonshire Row - EC2M
2021 Review: “An amazing choice of wines” is served by “lovely staff, who are passionate and knowledgeable about the list” at these “proper wine bars”, whose liquid offering is “complemented by a very good food menu” of “well-made” dishes (small plates, plus cheese and charcuterie). The Battersea original is still the branch attracting most feedback, although the chain is spreading eastwards, and its operation in the crypt of St Bride’s Church and newer Liverpool Street branch are “very competent”: next stop is an opening in Canary Wharf.
8. VQ British, Modern restaurant in City 9 Aldgate High St - EC3N
2021 Review: “Handy… especially when other places are shut!” – these “round-the-clock” diners have grown from their SW10 base (which has been around for yonks) to bring their late-night formula of “decent food, a good vibe, friendly service and dependable value” to ever-more ’hoods: recent additions include sites in Euston and Clapham. Only Chelsea, Bloomsbury and Aldgate are actually 24/7.
9. Duck & Waffle British, Modern restaurant in City 110 Bishopsgate, Heron Tower - EC2
2021 Review: “At midnight, perched high above London in this flashy 40th-floor restaurant, it’s thrilling watching the lights of the traffic; and the signature duck & waffle dish with maple syrup was like none we have tasted before” – that’s the fanboy view on this luxury diner at the top of the City’s Heron Tower, and the fact that it’s open 24/7 makes it a big brunch destination. Sceptical diners were more in evidence this year, though, criticising the “stodgy and unbalanced” menu, or “food that’s average, but a bill that’s WAY above average”: “once you take away the hype, that you can eat in the middle of the night and it’s up a skyscraper, it’s actually nothing special”. “Getting a reservation can be difficult, though: book way ahead and eat at a strange hour!”
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