In a city that holds an abundance of themed restaurants, it might be hard to decide where to go for an interesting dining experience. These restaurants are the gems of Bethnal Green, London, where you can indulge in cuisines from all over the world.
Bar, Charcuterie, Market, Restaurant, Spanish, $$$
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Gambas al Ajillo | Courtesy of Laxeiro
Right where the well-known Columbia road flower market begins lays Laxeiro. Now a tapas restaurant, Laxeiro started off as a delicatessen charcuterie, the first of its kind at the time of its opening. This family-run restaurant focuses on fresh ingredients and local produce with recipes and flavours that originate from north-west Spain. The menu offers traditional Paella with saffron rice, fresh fish and seafood for two, as well as sharing plates for affordable prices. Be sure to take your time at Laxerio, enjoying the cosy restaurant and its picturesque surroundings.
Resident of Paradise Row — independent bar and restaurant — can be found in the lightly refurbished and repurposed railway arches across from Bethnal Green station. Here, everything is done in-house, from curing and smoking the salmon it serves, to preparing the chicken and pork fresh on-site. Having opened its doors in 2014, the spot is an exciting addition to the restaurant scene and nightlife of Bethnal Green. It is simply decorated but memorable. The menu contains a lot of classics in modern dining but they are made with care and a touch of inspiration. We highly recommend their salmon as a great addition to any brunch selection. For more adventurous dining, go for the bottomless bubble brunch or lunch. Be sure to try their Sunday roast as it is guaranteed to put a smile on any diner’s face.
The Gallery Café is a community project run by St. Margaret House. It offers a vegan and vegetarian menu with ingredients sourced from local suppliers with an eco-friendly footprint. Locals come here not only for its great take on vegetarian food, such as vegan pancakes with agave syrup or vegan pulled pork wraps and Ethiopian stew, but also for the events they host. There are film screenings, music nights, and much more free if not reasonably-priced events. Profits go back into the charity. Be sure to try this local favourite if you’re in the mood for flavourful vegetarian food. Check their Facebook account for updates on the great events they host.
Hurwundeki has the look of a cool East London location, and the taste of a Korean kitchen. It marries the two cultures so well it’s hard to pull them apart. In a restaurant of brick and what feels like handmade furnishings, traditional Korean dishes are cooked with a modern touch. Freshness and simplicity is central at Hurwundeki, and natural flavours are the best seasoning. With an affordable lunch and dinner menu, here guests can enjoy a wide range of Korean dishes such as bibimbap in hot pots or japchae glass noodles. And, for that East London flare, be sure to book a time in their salon for a quick and stylish haircut.
You will find Brawn on a corner of Columbia Road. The big windows let in lots of natural light, and the interior resembles a studio workspace with simple retro wooden furniture. In the evenings, this space fills with warm soft light which creates a relaxed vibe. At Brawn the menu changes daily to reflect what is in season and to showcase what the local producers have to offer. Come here to enjoy French and Spanish cuisine that respects its ingredients, paired with an extensive wine list. The food is in the moderately expensive price range. It’s close to the flower market, so be sure to book a table for Sunday lunch.
Don’t let the surroundings of a former clothing factory fool you. Once you enter this restaurant you’ll find yourself in an amazing open white space. It has a feel of structure and elegance with relaxed service, and a menu with French influences and ingredients. Bistrotheque lends itself to an interesting evening with an inviting cocktail menu. It also has a menu that offers steak tartare, whole bream, and other classical and vibrant dishes. Most popular, however, is the weekend brunches with their resident pianist. It offers a menu of dishes that range from affordable to pricy, and has one of the best brunch experiences in the area.
Café 338 is a known and popular brunch spot in Bethnal Green. Its reputation for an affordable and tasty brunch menu attracts tourists, locals and the curious alike. The menu is a list of British classics, from a farmer’s breakfast to pancakes with scrambled eggs and bacon. Here it is first come first served, so be sure to come early or waiting for a table is pretty much guaranteed. This cafe does not offer much in ambience, but it truly feels family-run. Children’s drawings adorn the walls, and the playlist has seemingly not changed since 2014, but for many this place feels like home.