This French / Modern European restaurant is in Bethnal Green and is one of the original restaurants in London to pioneer a minimalistic modern aesthetic. Having not been since 2009, I was pleased to find it had maintained its standards when I visited in Sep 2016. Good solid fare served in a stripped back cool setting with a mixed crowd. Reservations recommended
Located on the 40th floor of Heron Tower, so crazy good views of the City (though I went straight in for the food and didn’t check this out). It’s hip and fun and doesn’t seem too full of itself. Had the obligatory duck & waffle (crispy leg confit / fried duck egg / mustard maple syrup – £17) – it was the sh*t. Deep fried Mars bar for dessert – delectable. Also open 24 hours which is a sweet bonus. Reservations recommended.
Pizza by the slice or opt for the 20″ pizzas which you can go half n half with a pal. They do a few classics but most of the menu is seasonal with interesting toppings. The Shoreditch branch is fairly large with upstairs and downstairs seating space. Decor is simple and stylish, feels hip without trying too hard. They have other spots in Covent Garden and Fitzrovia. Reservations possible for large groups. Read more here
A traditional gastro pub look downstairs with a hip casual dining room upstairs designed by Martino Gamper. Simple wooden tables, chairs + brown leather sofa chairs make for grown up dining; the playful element coming in via the primary coloured patterned floor. FYI, it has a cute little roof terrace. Order their famous beef barley buns but avoid the Sunday roast which is rather bland. Reservations recommended.
Morito is a chic tapas & mezze with Spanish and N.African influences. It has a lovely central bar perfect for dining. It’s got quite an industrial feel to it with lots of zinc running through the room. There’s one on Hackney Road – the original is in Exmouth Market next to its sister restaurant, Moro. Only had a small bite to eat here, so keen to go back and check it out properly. Walk Ins and Reservations. Read more here.
Oklava serves up tasty ‘modern’ Turkish fare in a contemporary setting. There are a few individual tables with marble tops, plotted across the room but the seating mainly comprises stools dotted around the outer edge of the room and at the bar itself. It’s a smart, modern looking space with blue x rose gold accents. NOTE: Manager can be quite abrupt. Reservations recommended. Read more here
Sardine has a bar to your right as you walk in, then a long communal zinc table that occupies the centre, facing the open plan kitchen. Individual tables occupy the back wall of the restaurant with spherical lights hanging from the ceiling. Colour is brought to the space via the retro tiled bar and kitchen island unit + wild flowers. Serves up Southern European plates with real heart. Reservations recommended. Read more here
Banging plates of Thai food coming out of this deservedly hyped restaurant, housed in a pared back tropical, sophisticated space. The beef curry and deep fried sea bass we had when we went were packed with flavour. Yes, the wait is painful (we spent 2.5 hours at the bar) but it is well worth it. This is a place I would happily come back to again and again. Reservations recommended. Read more here