Man cannot live on burritos and burgers alone. There is no shortage of high quality street food around East London, but it would be a mistake to think you have to get a cab into the West End if you want something a bit more grown up than chowing down a burger. Not only can you sit down at these five fine restaurants, the quality of the food won’t fail to impress whoever you’re eating with.
Hearty loveliness is the order of the day at Primeur. It’s a constantly changing menu (you’re directed to the restaurant’s Instagram page to see what’s cooking today), and the very modern way of doing things extends to a pared down menu leaving little room for choice. That said, with food this good, the elimination of choice is no bad thing given the certainty that what will be served will be as good a plate of food as you will have eaten in a long long time.
116 Petherton Road, N5 2RT More info.
White Rabbit really appears not to want to be noticed. It’s one thing to eschew the social media shenanigans of most modern restaurants, but there’s no sign and it’s located on a side street off Kingsland Road. (Just look out for the pineapples perched way above head height – don’t ask). The food is outstanding and weirdly disconcerting to have a plate as sophisticated as roasted watermelon, black olive candy, salted ricotta and nasturtium served in such modest surroundings.
15-16 Bradbury Street, N16 8JN More info.
If there is a superstar on the very unstarry but quietly celebrated Wilton Way, it’s Mayfields. High grade cooking, with a menu that includes compelling propositions like sea trout, almond granita, apple vinegar and red currant. It’s definitely chefy, but any pretension is undone by how welcoming and friendly the atmosphere is inside. The only pain is that dishes come out whenever, so in a group it’s often an unwelcome dilemma of either leaving food to go cold, or eating while the person in front of you looks on (as long as you’re not a food sharing kind of person).
52 Wilton Way, E8 1BG More info.
An experience is what’s often said of Bistrotheque. Yes, there’s an alternative theatre thing in full flow as you enter, invariably with a drag act, and all sorts of fashionable types loitering around, but it shouldn’t distract from what is one very good french-ish restaurant. The restaurant hits the high notes with its steak tartare and chips and lemon sole, but the cocktails and oysters are terrific too, giving it a celebratory atmosphere.
23 Wadeson Street, E2 9DR More info.
Scandi food, presented by a Lithuanian chef in the Bangladeshi area of Mile End is Ink. It’s very close to Qbic, and offers the chance of enjoying some experimental and artful cooking at a fraction of the price normally associated with this genre of restaurant eating. Expect some oohs and aahs as dishes presented with looks of mystery but pleasure when you get eating. Be warned though, it challenges Google Maps’ ability to get you there.
44 Palmers Road, E2 0TA More info.