Shoreditch has fast become the number one destination for a new wave of discerning diners in 2021. An eclectic mix of Michelin star restaurants with exciting contemporary menus is attracting foodies from far and wide.
The majestic Galvin La Chapelle (in Spitalfields, E1 6DY) never fails to impress locals, tourists and city workers alike. Located in the Grade II listed St Botolph’s Hall, the restaurant’s large arched windows, high stone ceilings and marble columns are a wonderful backdrop to the dining experience. The food can be described as traditional French with a modern twist. “The joy of walking around the market feels almost primordial,” muses owner Jeff Galvin. Ingredients are chosen carefully by his brother David, who visits Covent Garden Market every night to source the freshest, seasonal produce.
There are several sumptuous dishes on offer at Galvin. The lasagne of Dorset crab with beurre Nantais (a velvety buttery sauce cooked with cream and chives) is a firm favourite and costs £22.50. Well worth a try too is the glorious fillet and slow cooked rib of Cumbrian beef, with watercress, potato crumb and alliums (a posh word for onion and garlic!) priced at £44.50. Having received a Gold Award from SquareMeal, where critics praised the ‘undeniable warmth of the room’, Galvin is the first choice for many young professionals, couples, families and larger groups celebrating special occasions.
The Clove Club is East End culinary royalty. Nestled in the ornate former Shoreditch Town Hall (380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT), it offers a mouthwatering menu of ‘modern British’ cuisine. The buzz around the open blue-tiled kitchen is electric. The highlight is the tasting menu at £145, which must be prepaid for online. Involving seasonal British produce, the dishes are packed with flavour and originality. Presentation is elegant and clean. The seafood is out of this world. Top of the list is the raw Orkney scallop served with hazelnut, clementine and Périgord truffle (the luxurious and superior black kind) – Clove’s most instagrammed dish! The excellence of the cuisine, created by Scottish chef Isaac McHale, has landed Clove in the ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list.
Brat (4 Redchurch Street, E1 6JL) is most probably the leader of the pack. “Our fish is wild, native and sustainably caught,” proclaims the menu proudly. The taste is astounding. Irresistible are the oysters roasted with seaweed (£3.50 each). The menu’s crowning glory is the plaice ‘pil-pil’ with clams (£19.50). Pil-pil is a Basque-influenced sauce infused with garlic and bursting with flavour. Brat has managed to accomplish the antithesis of over-engineered ‘cheffy’ cuisine. Every dish is a cleverly composed symphony of ingredients and seasoning. However, it all comes across as beautifully effortless. No wonder Jay Rayner of the Guardian described chef Tomos Parry’s food as ‘the culinary equivalent of an Anthony Hopkins performance.’ Think The Remains of the Day rather than Silence of the Lambs! Understated and stylish nosh.
One thing is undeniable: Shoreditch remains at the very heart of the East London food scene.