When it comes to the midday meal, you’re spoilt for choice in Shoreditch. Whether you’re celebrating a team win or catching up with a colleague, here are ten top spots for lunch.
Blacklock’s usually all about the chops, but come 12pm on a weekday, the steak sarnies and aged beef pie and mash steal the show. Provided you work locally, the ‘workman’s lunch’ is such that it should have you fed and back at your desk within the hour.
This old bike shed lives another life as the name might suggest – a pimped-up canteen co-run by Margot Henderson. Accordingly, the food (pork terrine, grilled mackerel, blueberry tart, for example) isn’t out to impress anyone with creative plating or vibrant colours. If good, honest food had an embodiment, it’d be this.
Few mini chains are as reliable as Brindisa. Of course it shouldn’t be difficult, as they import (and sell) only the finest Spanish produce. For a leisurely lunch, the paella works wonders, if not two or three smaller dishes – such as gazpacho or gambas al ajillo – if you’re in more of a hurry.
Ratings have Lyles as one of London’s best. Dinner reservations, accordingly, should be made weeks in advance. At lunch however, competition for a table isn’t quite so high. Plus, the midday a la carte’s a bit easier on the wallet than the full whack £60 evening tasting menu.
Pachamama, which leans towards vibrant Peruvian cooking, does a ‘pick and mix’ lunch menu where each dish is only £7. Choose from things like sea bass ceviche, Sichuan fried chicken, and caramelised aubergine. There’s also a great value £35 lunchtime tasting menu, if you have more time.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
Lying just off Old Street, Ozone’s chiefly a coffee roastery, but is deserving of more credit for what’s happening in its kitchen. The weekday menu involves all-day breakfast for your eggs any which way, and a large and eclectic choice of lunch dishes, from yakitori chicken to yellow pea falafel.
Great for larger groups, pizza is normally the democratic choice. But as delicious as they are at Pizza East, it’s only half the story – their range of dishes also includes lamb meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, red pepper and scamorza croquettes, fresh salads, and salt baked salmon.
Souvlaki remains one of the greatest things ever invented to eat on the hoof. Here, you can do that (make a beeline for the corn fed chicken or the wild boar sausage), or take up a seat and linger over tasty extras like spinach samosas and prawns saganaki.
Got a taste for the excess? With lunch on the company account? Call off the search. Gloria’s an all guns blazing riff on Italian comfort food – from carbonara to ‘giant’ beef carpaccio – and a good place to have a bit of fun on your lunch break.
For something a little more understated, Burmese restaurant Laphet is a good bet. To gain a proper intro to what they do, kick off with the tea leaf salad, and segue into a curry or noodle bowl. Lunch is served weekdays on Thursdays and Fridays.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.