food + drink

Best restaurants reopening in East London that you can book now

From small plates to big pizzas, innovative tasting menus to veg-centric feasts, here are some of East London's restaurants that are reopening and you can book now

LEROY

The wedge-shaped room is kitted out with tongue-and-groove panelled walls, cushioned seat pads for your bum, and pretty illustrations by the brilliant Louise Sheeran. The mood is casual at Leroy. Serving interesting and personally chosen wines with simple, yet delicious food.
18 Phipp Street, Shoredtich, EC2A 4NU

ANGELINA
REOPENING 16TH JULY
This family-run restaurant has been wooing both the foodie crowd and locals with its innovative Japanese-Italian fusion. The vibe is cool west village New York meets modern neighbourhood trattoria. The space is shallow and small, framed by vast windows and decorated simply with large fig trees and mellow, lanterned lighting. You can expect a new 10 course tasting menu from 16th July, engineered to surprise and delight. And to top it all, Angelina are offering all customers a 50% discount on food for July bookings, and 20% off food in August.
56 Dalston Lane, E8 3AH

MBER

Tucked downstairs on a corner of Pudding Lane, this City restaurant is cool, calm and collected, helped in no small part by a fabulous interior design. Named after the Great Fire of London, which is believed to have started on the very spot, Mber not only serves serious cocktails and wines by a knowledgeable sommelier, it also offers the most divine pan-Asian food.
1a Pudding Lane, London, EC3R 8AB

SOM SAA

The Thai food served here is beyond authentic, making no apologies whatsoever to the wimpy Western palate. An easily navigable menu with the suggestion you choose across the different sections.
43A Commercial Street, E1 6BD

CHAI KI

A gem located just beyond Canary Wharf overlooking the water, Chai Ki is a stylish explosion of modern and experimental Indian food. The interior is edgy yet sophisticated with an industrial aesthetic made inviting with the use of low-level lighting. Its good, honest, earthy food is styled to perfection and accompanied by impeccable staff and elegant cocktails.
Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5AR

LAHPET

REOPENING 9TH JULY
One of the only Burmese restaurants in London, its name means fermented tealeaves, and you’ll spot more than a few dishes embracing them on this exciting menu. From the deliciously bitter Lahpet Sour infused with gin, Campari and fermented tea leaves to the restaurant’s signature tea leaf salad – with a fried mix of broad beans, butter beans and split peas  – you’ll soon find a new way to get your caffeine buzz. Also on offer to start are Lahpet’s homemade shan tofu fritters, made onsite from split peas, which are crisp on the outside but melt in the middle. Elsewhere, you’ll find steamed balachaung buns with fried onions, shrimp and garlic, served with a sweet chilli juice. With ingredients imported from Myanmar, intricate details and plenty of flavour – Lahpet offers the perfect insight to Burmese cuisine and purse-friendly prices.
58 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6JW

HUNGRY DONKEY

A remarkably welcoming restaurant where The staff are highly attentive serving simple cuisine that stays true to the traditional style of Greek cooking. Set in a pleasant spot on Wentworth Street, offering an extensive menu with high-quality, fresh ingredients and a wide selection of excellent Greek wines. 
56 Wentworth Street, Aldgate, E1 7AL

RHYTHM KITCHEN

An airy, whitewashed space oftened by large palm leaves stencilled on the walls, rustic style wooden tables and the large rum-filled bar at the far end, just to remind you that you could be in a Caribbean beach bar after all! The menu offers a good mix of dishes without overwhelming diners. 
257 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, E17 9PT

AREPA & CO

Creative Venezulan delights are on offer. It’s worth making your way through the menu, our go-to fave would have to be the Reina; a grilled cornbread stuffed with charcoal roasted chicken, mayo and avocado with a tangy dressing, along with a side of Yuca, tossed in paprika salt – like fat chips but much, much better.
254 Paradise Row, E2 9LE

SAVAGE GARDEN

Sitting proudly on the roof of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London, Tower of London, you’ll find this cocktail bar and restaurant with a striking décor, inspired by Anne Rice’s 1985 novel The Vampire Lestat. With floor-to-ceiling windows and a spacious roof terrace that both offer dramatic views over the city’s skyline, it does indeed feel like a realm of its own. The food menu is no less impressive with its selection of small plates.
7 Pepys Street, Tower Hill, EC3N 4AF

SMITHS OF SMITHFIELD
REOPENING MONDAY 20TH JULY
Housed in a Grade II-listed building and stretching over four floors, this East London institution is often abuzz with after-work revelry and cocktail swilling. But it’s The Grill on the third floor we were here for, with its intimate booths and large city-facing windows. The menu will leave you ripe with indecision – particularly the starters. Think seared scallops with smoked bacon loin crumb and lobster sauce, and a shallot and nettle tarte tatin. Both tasted as good as they sound. Oh, and the bone marrow and wild garlic butter that came with our perfectly cooked steaks wasn’t bad either – so much so we had to ask for more!
67-77 Charterhouse Street, EC1M 6HJ

YUU KITCHEN
REOPENING AUGUST 2020
This edgy restaurant brings the flavours of south-east Asia and the Pacific Rim to the streets of East London. Comic-book in style, they bring together influences from Manga, Asian fashion, and pop culture – all adding to the place’s unique, slightly risqué feel. The meat dishes are devilishly moreish, but the vegetable dishes are equally as exciting and delicious. Personal favourites include the grilled broccoli with an apple and onion dressing and fried shallots, as well as some grilled cauliflower with sweet corn, jalepeño dressing, shallots, garlic chips and chives.
29 Commercial Street, E1 6NE

FARE

Brought to you by award-winning duo Michael Sager and Marcis Dzelzainis, of Sager + Wilde. This all-day dining bar and canteen is located in the historic Morelands building on Old Street with a buzzy, light-filled drinking and dining space. There’s a grab-and-go coffee area for your caffeine fix, an intimate cocktail and wine bar for your date night needs, as well as a restaurant serving Mediterranean-inspired seasonal small plates – and larger ones from the robata grill. Its bold and punchy menu, created by Head Chef Thomas Raymond, includes the likes of Fare’s Wet Burger (that is: red Devon beef patty, sweet paprika and sour cucumber) and Cylindra Beetroot (Roasted in embers, grapefruit reduction and Devon Blue). Tempted yet? Maybe their Nitro Vodka Espressos will lure you in: a vodka and coffee cocktail served on tap (like Guinness!).
11 Old Street, EC1V 9HL

SKY GARDEN

Sitting proudly at the top of the famous ‘Walkie Talkie’ building, the menu is a celebration of contemporary British fare and you won’t go far wrong. An absolute must is the East End-inspired Mile End cocktail. This heady mixture of Don Julio Reposado tequila, kumquat liqueur, guava juice, yuzu and smoked Himalayan sea salt is a deliciously strong way to ease yourself in and get the conversation flowing.
20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 4BA

DISHOOM
REOPENING 10TH JULY
A well-established feature and much-loved institution of the East London scene, Dishoom upholds a fine reputation and certain air of exclusivity. Serving delicious Iranian-influenced Indian food with fragrant, delicate flavours and sumptuous combinations of spices. 
7 Boundary Street, E2 7JE

CHIRINGUITO

Mixing East London industrial chic with the informality of a Spanish beach bar, Chiringuito is suited to both date-night tapas and an impromptu Sunday brunch. The menu boasts fail-safe options such as smashed avo on sourdough, or you can try something a little more adventurous  like their Chiringuito Veggie Breakfast of vegan chorizo, halloumi, grilled mushroom and tomato, sourdough, eggs and jazzy beans. With competition high for brunch in this part of town, Chiringuito balances a menu that welcomes all dietary preferences with creative, tasty dishes done really well. And – if a date night is more your thing, the sharing menu of tapas and well-crafted cocktails, wine and fizz will fill the gaps if the conversation is less than sparkling.
Museum Gardens, E2 9PA

LIBAN TAPAS

Modern and funky with a middle eastern vibe flowing through its four different seating areas – the restaurant, The Souk, The Sun Room and the Parisian Terrace. The restaurant is furnished with cosy teal booths and benches, with carefully chosen lighting and music providing a bright and lively feel. The food at Liban is fresh, well presented and tasty, and the service is friendly and efficient.
190 George LANE, E18 1AY

ENOTECA RABEZZANA
REOPENING 8TH JULY
With a history of wine-making stretching back over 100 years, Rabezanna Vini are Italian wine producers from the Piedmont region in Italy. Their wine list, consisting of more than 150 Italian wines and all served by knowledgeable sommeliers, sits proudly alongside an authentic and sophisticated menu, created by talented Executive Chef, Federico Casali. Based around regional dishes – from small plate tapas to more hearty, traditional fare (including, of course, pasta!) – the menu uses ingredients sourced from small Italian independent farms and artisanal producers, as well as top UK suppliers.
62-63 Long Lane, London EC1A 9EJ

GUNPOWDER

The chefs at Gunpowder really know what they’re doing – high-quality ingredients are cooked with bright, vibrant flavours and a knowing combination of spices. Its dishes read like culinary poetry: karwari soft shell crab and rasam ke bomb. The problem, of course, with such an enticing small platters menu like Gunpowder’s is that it’s easy to come over with a case of ‘kid-in-a-sweetshop’ syndrome and order the whole thing.
4 Duchess Walk, London SE1 2SD – opening 9th July
11 White’s Row, E1 7NF – For the moment the Spitalfields restaurant will continue to provide delivery and take away service.

PLEASANT LADY

Pleasant Lady have brought the breakfasts of Beijing to the streets of Spitalfields. With a vendor in the centre of the market, you’ll spot it by the crowds. There’s something so therapeutic about watching the experts freshly make up your Jian Bing. The batter pours onto the hot plate and is swirled around, then topped with a cracked egg, tangy sauce, the herbs and spring onions and crispy wonton. And if you fancy adorning the original with a meaty morsel, they also offer Iberico Char Siu Pork, Cumin Spiced Lamb, or Grilled Miso Chicken. What better way to spend a sunny summer’s day than people-watching while you’re gorging on the champion of all street food?
Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW

GLORIA

Gloria is a gaudy welcome change to the restaurants we’re inundated with today, an antithesis to the stripped back industrial décor that fills every crevice of Shoreditch. Yes, the food is good but I say it’s more about the occasion, the atmosphere. Gloria is a big night out. It is somewhere to get dressed up, sip cocktails and savour the food, without worrying that your allotted time slot is up.
54-56 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3QR

HOMESLICE

Whether you’re a fan of a simple Margarita or a controversial Hawaiian, there’s always comfort in knowing what to expect from the humble pizza. But, it’s safe to say, Homeslice Shoreditch is shattering the expectations of pizza conventions, one 20″ pizza at a time. With an ever-changing seasonal menu, this trendy spot rolls out the finest flavour combinations for East Londoners to feast on all year round. Having caught sight of a 20” pizza in real life we opt to go for half and half (kudos to you if you’re feeling ambitious to have one to yourself!). We toss up between the Cauliflower Shawarma, Tahini, Pomegranate and Chickpeas, the Spiced Lamb, Savoy Cabbage and Sumac Yoghurt and the Provisions’ 4 Cheese, Jalapeno Salsa and Rye Crumb with Garlic Oil, and both go for the latter – though it’s a tough call. If you’re looking for pizzas
with pizazz, then this is the place to go – just be prepared to roll yourself home!
374-378 Old Street, EC1V 9LT

ISSHO NI

A welcoming yet seriously cool space to enjoy sushi and cocktails. With Eduardo Aguilar at the helm, the former head chef of Bone Daddies, Shakafuyu and Kiri, you can trust you’re in good hands. His style here is a contemporary Japanese, Izakaya-style menu (which means sharing) The fish is, as you’d hope, super-fresh and well-prepared – but even the ‘standard’ rolls are extra-special, like they’ve had a sprinkle of culinary genius upon them. Added to that was the attentive and friendly service. There’s no denying we have some outstanding sushi restaurants in London, and competition is high, but few boast excellent ingredients and creative dishes, served in a warm and friendly atmosphere – and at a reasonable price too.
185 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6AB

CECCONI’S
REOPENING 6TH JULY
An all-day Venetian brasserie serving the best of northern Italian dishes in the classiest of settings. The decor is understated elegance, less is more, with wooden tables and chairs, allowing the fabulous food to speak for itself.
58-60 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP

LITTLE DUCK THE PICKLERY

REOPENING 11TH JULY

Small but perfectly formed, and framed with linen curtains and rows of wine bottles, Little Duck the Picklery invites you in to their fermented wonderland. An open kitchen, combined with a cosy corners by the window, create a scene that is both intimate and inspiring. The menu is listed on a chalkboard, but everything looks so tempting.
68 Dalston Lane, E8 3AH

WILLIAM THE FOURTH PUB

A traditionally grand establishment in the very heart of Leyton, where can you find real ales, creative cocktails, craft beers and a dizzying array of gins. Popular with every age group, it’s easy to see why. It feels like a proper local boozer, but with style. The food side of things is run by the El Food Brothers, whose relaxed, off-beat way means the superb cuisine can catch you off-guard. Their menu offers up imaginative (and we can confirm delicious) plates, such as whiskey barrel smoked mac ’n’ cheese balls.
816 High Road, Leyton, E10 6AE

THE FUGITIVE MOTEL

When we were invited to The Fugitive Motel in Bethnal Green we thought we might be getting a good night’s sleep, instead we got craft beer and pizza. In a cool laid-back west coast-style bar, no less. The owners David and Liam are two former musicians who first came up with the concept after travelling along the west coast of America. There are 14 taps in the bar offering a medley of beers from around the world. They are also the first bar we have seen to have espresso martinis on tap so they are ahead of the game in that respect. The seating is made up of comfy, cosy booths with vacancy signs and you can turn them on and off.  It isn’t just a bar, however, it’s a restaurant too, and the main feature of the menu is the sourdough pizza. There’s a large variety of pimped-up pizzas including an incredibly indulgent White Pizza which is topped with bechamel, mushroom tapenade, charred broccoli, truffle oil and ricotta, which was our favourite by far. It wouldn’t be East London without a few inventive vegan options though, including in this case the eponymous Fugitive, topped with red onion, harissa, cauliflower, gherkins, tahini and chimichurri, and the Vegan Marg topped with vegan cheese. For those not wanting to devour an entire pizza, there are also have a couple of grazing plates like the Antipasti Sharer and Triple-cooked Chips with Truffle Mayo), which are both perfect for sharing.
199 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 0EL

THE FROG HOXTON
REOPENING 1ST AUGUST
The Frog has made its name with rotating sustainable menus and a strongly organic and biodynamic wine list. It’s a minimal-waste ethos straight from founder and chef Adam Handling; and one that means even the bar snacks are made from what other kitchens would throw away. This sharp emphasis on zero waste and sustainable produce combined with great wines and craft beers has established The Frog as a dining destination that is as beautifully modest as it is theatrical. Quirky menu options include the infamous cheese doughnuts and Handling’s signature celeriac, yolk, apple, dates. The wines are original and consistently excellent, including a leftfield Slovenian bottle and a jaw-dropping Kiwi dessert wine. There’s an Asian influence to lots of the dishes that keeps the intrigue up. Crisps made from nori and tapioca are super-crunchy snacks, yakiniku flavours cut through deliciously earthy duck and beetroot, and floral jasmine underpinned a seriously good pear dessert. For optimum pleasure and minimum guilt, you can’t do better.
45-47 Hoxton Square, Hackney, N1 6PD

DRAUGHTS

The front of the shop is a celebration of its past, with pie and mash shop, F Cooke’s original sign still hanging high above the door. Inside, bright white, cream and turquoise tiles over a century old adorn the walls, along with Art-deco-style mirrors. With walls lined with over 1,000 games, this vast space is an ode to the art of screen-free joy. The bar is marble topped and the booths cosy and wooden benched. Better still, pie and mash remains on the menu (although you won’t find any eel here, just a hearty steak and ale, and a veggie-friendly mushroom, leek and potato). The rest of the menu is simple, feel-good food – often the sloppy, crispy, fried sort that calls for a beer to wash it down (lucky then there’s a long list of draughts and ales available). It’s also the sort of menu you have to make a feast of, ideally with a group of friends. Include in your feast the cod, mango, lime, chilli tacos; a crispy fried buffalo chicken burger with blue cheese sauce; vegan fajitas, and lobster mac and cheese, and — perhaps most importantly — the halloumi fries, of which we ordered three portions, one after the other.
41 Kingsland High StREET, Dalston, E8 2JS

COYA ANGEL COURT
REOPENING 6TH JULY
Born out of the spirit of adventure, this intimate Peruvian paradise, situated just minutes from Bank station, invites a full immersion into the colourful cuisine known as ‘the original fusion food’, due to its Japanese, Chinese and Spanish influences. The restaurant’s exotic and swanky identity – with its vibrant wallpaper, patterned pillows and lively jazz and reggae-like vibes – creates a carefree atmosphere that will have you hooked straightaway. Not to mention its stunning cocktail bar. Everything on the menu is tempting – we recommend the ceviche, Atún Nikkei (yellowfin tuna), Hiramasa (kingfish) and Arroz Nikkei – sea bass, rice, lime and chilli – all served on homely pottery. Tailored for the financial liberalism of the city worker and natural curiosity of any serious bon vivant, this is a deluxe experience with COYA voted one of ‘London’s best brunches’ by Vogue. Certainly worth a visit.
31-33 Throgmorton Street, EC2N 2AT

CASA DO FRANGO

Casa Do Frango is situated minutes from Shoreditch High Street in a new, ultra-modern, unfinished development that already houses a yoga centre, among other East London amenities. And it offers up the best Portuguese interpretation of the ubiquitous piri piri chicken, Algarve style. The menu is deliciously tempting and is an interesting edit of eye-pleasing sharing plates. You can mix and match the flavours, we tried the half chicken with lemon and garlic and a half of the Piri Piri chicken. The lemon and garlic got our vote, along with a scattering of fragrant dried oregano with a side of beyond-good batatas fritas.
2 King John Court, EC2A 3EZ

CALDERA

With a modern Mexican menu inspired by the owner’s grandmother and funky, industrial-style decor, this restaurant is an artsy mix of old meets new. Interesting posters adorn the walls, and art pieces catch the eye. Naturally we kicked off with a margarita – mixed up terrifically by the super-friendly bartenders – we went with a clean, fresh classic to start – followed by their avocado margarita, made with tequila reposado, homemade avocado sauce, agave and lime. And we couldn’t leave without trying Sandy the Showgirl, made with mezcal, tequila reposado, agave and lavender – all beautifully presented and dutifully drunk. Along with their kick-ass margarita menu there’s the food – we started with totopos guacamole served with nachos, along with romanesco broccoli served with aioli and onion dressing, as it looked so good. We happened to be there on Taco Tuesday when their homemade tacos are £3 all day, so we dived straight in, and boy they are delicious. We tried chicken tinga with pico de gallo; grilled prawn with guacamole, and wild mushroom with okra, fennel and mole amarillo – each one a juicy tongue masterpiece. If you have the time and the appetite, go for the whole baby chicken al pastor served with habanero and jackfruit sauce, it certainly packs a punch. If you can somehow find room for dessert then the churros with dulce de leche are a perfect ending… along with another margarita, of course. Before lockdown, Caldera had live music on Wednesday nights and a DJ playing Latin feel music on Friday nights. Right now, they have a collection and delivery service to Hackney and nearby areas via Uber Eats and Deliveroo, with a reduced menu that includes their juicy tacos, nachos, quesadillas, burritos and nibbles.
143 Mare Street, E8 3FW

ZIA LUCIA

Start with the creamy and luscious burrata, generously drizzled with olive oil. Then share a platter of cured meats and cheeses. The cheeses are superb and go perfectly with the earthy-tasting charcoal focaccia – this is where Zia Lucia stands out from the pizzeria crowd. Their USP is their experimental dough options – from the traditional flour dough to an unusual vegetable charcoal black base which gives a unique flavour, as well as aiding your digestion. So it’s ciao to post-pizza bloat! Friendly service, excellent pizzas and a fabulous list of toppings. The locals must be delighted to have it on their doorstep.
Unit 1a, 12 Piazza Walk, Aldgate East, E1 8ZH

 

EMILIA’S CRAFTED PASTA

Emilia’s Crafted Pasta is fully re-opening for dine in and takeaway from Saturday 4th July at both restaurants in Aldgate and St. Katharine Docks. Their full menu will be available with signature dishes such as their hearty pappardelle Béchamel Bolognese and creamy Genovese pesto sauce with casarecce pasta. Additionally, Emilia’s has added more flavours of natural gelato to their dessert’s menu including chocolate & hazelnut, creamy mascarpone, Sicilian pistachio and raspberry sorbet, perfect for cooling down during the summer months.
C3, Ivory House, St Katharine Docks, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London E1W 1At, London E1W 1AT

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