Spitalfields is just a stone’s throw away from Brick Lane in London’s East End and has just as much variety of cool places to wine and dine in.
Centuries ago, the area – just off Liverpool Street – was home to textile workers, tailors, craftsmen, and crooks.
But, these days, Spitalfields is a cosmopolitan community known for its links to the art and fashion scenes, and eating and drinking venues that are just as in-vogue.
From vegan eateries to a former tailor’s store room turned cocktail joint, there’s something to suit most people’s tastebuds.
Read on for more about a selection of Spitalfields’ superb bars and restaurants.
The latest branch of this 100 per cent vegan Mexican joint has just opened on Commercial Street. As well as its classic menu items, such as the cheezeburger taco and fried chick’n burrito, you can try additions such as the slow-cooked ‘beef’ brisket, tofish and chips taco, and ‘chorizo’ empanadas. Leave room for desserts, including soft-serve ice cream with coffee-infused tequila. clubmexicana.com
Xi’an Biang Biang
A stalwart of the Spitalfields dining scene, it specialises in moreish, hand-pulled ‘belt’ noodles. Wide, slippery and slurpable, they come in meat, seafood and vegan versions, with a spicy sauce. Other tasty recommendations include the ‘smacked’ cucumber, boneless chicken in chilli oil, and salt and pepper tofu. xianbiangbiangnoodles.com
St John Bread and Wine
Little sister to Fergus Henderson’s famous nose-to-tail restaurant St John, this offshoot celebrates good old-fashioned British cuisine, from devilled kidneys on toast to roast partridge with bread sauce, and bread and butter pudding. There’s also a corkage fee if you prefer to bring your own wine. stjohnrestaurant.com
Galvin Bistrot & Bar
Renowned chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin have poured their passion for French bistrots into this charming little restaurant tucked away from the bustle of Liverpool Street. The short but mouthwatering menu changes regularly – you might find a classic rib-eye steak frites, Bayonne ham with burrata, or apple tarte tatin. galvinrestaurants.com
Discount Suit Company
Located, as the name might suggest, in a former suit tailor’s store room, DSC specialises in cool cocktails served to a hip Northern soul and rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. Innovative beverages include the delightfully named Mr Lucky, with Bombay Sapphire gin, manzanilla sherry and passion fruit, and the Caledonian Sleeper, with Dewar’s scotch, oat milk and apricot. discountsuitcompany.co.uk
At this all-day restaurant and wine bar, with a chef whose CV includes Petersham Nurseries, you can expect a European menu using locally sourced ingredients from small-scale independent producers. You’ll find the likes of mussels with ‘nduja and gremolata, Cornish sole with wild mushrooms, and plum tart with crème fraîche, served within a unique glass-and-zinc pavilion. crispinlondon.com
The Golden Heart
With an arty, creative clientele including Tracey Emin and Kate Moss, this down-to-earth drinking joint on Commercial Street eschews fancy frills and lets the booze do the talking. The grade-II-listed building was built in 1936 for the Truman Brewery, and has been preserved in a kind of time warp ever since.
This vegetable-focused, Middle Eastern-style restaurant started life as a pop-up and now has two bricks-and-mortar sites (the other is in Soho). Fresh, vibrant dishes include fried aubergine with zhoug and date syrup, falafel with tahini and sumac onions, and charred oyster mushroom skewers with coriander seed and agave. Pile freshly baked laffa bread with dips such as beetroot borani, labneh with confit garlic, and hummus with burnt butter. bubala.co.uk
The Pride of Spitalfields
Formerly the Romford Arms, this classic east London boozer is now the Pride of Spitalfields, situated just off Brick Lane. Slightly more sticky carpet that slick gastropub, it has a generous selection of quality beers on tap. Always packed with locals, it’s one of those places where you can hunker down for the night.