Friday 19 August 2016

A Guide to London's Shoreditch - Eat, Drink & Sleep

Shoreditch is a neighbourhood of East London, you may have heard of it when the Cereal Killer Café got attacked in the 'anti-gentrification' protests last year. The area is a mix of run-down buildings, hip cafes and restaurants with lots of street art and a high concentration of bearded men (I'm trying not to use the 'H' word here).

Food and street art being two of my favourite things, I planned a little trip to London with Mr. FFID during which we stayed in Shoreditch.

Quite frankly I wished I had more than one stomach as there were so many things to eat. I got almost frustrated that I couldn't taste them all.

We still managed to visit a few cool spots so if you're wondering where to stay, eat or drink in Shoreditch look no further as I'm sharing my addresses here!

Where to sleep in Shoreditch?

The Hoxton, 81 Great Easter Street, London EC2A 3HU 

I booked a room at the Hoxton, a funky hotel located in Shoreditch which reminded me of the Dean Hotel in Dublin. The lobby was always busy at any time of the day with people working on their Macbooks or having a few drinks. We stayed in one of their 'cosy' rooms which was small, with modern décor and included a free light breakfast bag (granola with yogurt, banana and an orange juice). They had a neighbourhood guide in the bedroom which I found helpful to discover spots that weren't already on my itinerary.

Where to eat and drink in Shoreditch?

The Breakfast Club Hoxton, 2-4 Rufus Street, London N1 6PE

If you are looking for a place for breakfast or brunch I highly recommend this spot; there are many branches in the city and you might have to queue but it's worth it. I had the huevos al benny (£10.50) which contained everything I love for brunch (chorizo, avocado, chillies, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce...) and Mr. FFID had the all American and I couldn't help eating some of his pancakes, they were so fluffy and delicious.

Dinerama, 19 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3EJ

London knows how to do street food and Dinerama was by far my favourite food experience in London. It's a little street food market (£3 entrance fee) which takes place from Thursday to Sunday from noon to late. We tried the amazing duck burger with foie gras and truffle cream from Duck N'Roll, the pork belly buns from Yum Bun and the njuda pizza from Fundi pizza, everything was very tasty. The place is buzzing, you can sit at communal tables and they have lots of drinks stalls as well. Totally my kind of place!

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs (Spitalfields and Norton Folgate)

I'm not sure if they technically are in Shoreditch but they're in the area anyway, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs serve speciality coffee in different locations around the city. I preferred the Norton Folgate, it was super bright and modern with seats outside. Perfect spot for your caffeine fix!

Wahaca Liverpool Street, 1-3 Widegate Street, London E1 7ES

I've been wanting to try Wahaca for a long time, as its co-founder Thomasina Miers is a former Ballymaloe Cookery Shoool student (she also won Masterchef UK in 2005). Wahaca is a chain of Mexican street food restaurants all over the UK and I visited the Liverpool Street branch for dinner. We ordered one of their feasts for two and for just £34 we got a great selection of street food dishes: pork pibil tacos, chipotle chicken quesadillas, scallop and shrimp ceviche, cactus and courgettte tacos, pea and mint empanadas, cornbread with chipotle honey butter, sweet potato and churros with chocolate to finish. It was very good value and the food was colourful and flavoursome.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory and Shop, 19-29 Red Church Street, London UK E2 7DJ

I stumbled upon Mast during our street art tour, the smell of chocolate brought me in. I didn't know Mast brothers had a branch in Europe (they're New York based) but the swanky shop in Shoreditch is worth a visit. You can even book tours of the chocolate factory or tastings (which I didn't do) on their website.

Brewdog Shoreditch, 51-55 Brethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA

We totally made Brewdog Shoreditch our local during our stay. Scottish craft beer brewery Brew Dog has a few pubs around London and we were delighted our hotel was about 10 min walk from one of them. It's a cool spot with obviously a large selection of Brew Dog beer as well as some guest beers. They also serve food (lots of meaty dishes) which I haven't tried but it looked exactly like the food you need after a few drinks!

Some things to do in Shoreditch

Shoreditch Street Art Tours

Shoreditch is the street art hub in London so I was glad to have found this tour online. The tour is priced at £15 per person, which is brilliant value as it last about three and a half hours. Dave the guide is very passionate and brings you around Shoreditch to see lots of street art pieces, he's super knowledgeable and it's really a great alternative way to discover the area. Loved it!

Electric Cinema, 64-66 Redchurch St, London E2 7DP

I found out about this place thanks to the guide in our hotel bedroom. Electric Cinema is a swanky cinema with beautiful velvet chairs and sofas as well as blankets for you to get comfy. The venue itself is very cool with a shop, cafe/restaurant upstairs and the cinema in the basement. You can even bring snacks and wine down with you from the bar. The tickets are on the pricey side but I really enjoyed the experience.

I hope you enjoyed this mini guide of Shoreditch if you have any more recommendations for this area please leave them in the comments and stay tuned for more London posts to come!