The multi-cultural neighborhood of Shoreditch has become one of the most vibrant areas of London. The bustling streets are packed with boisterous bars, restaurants and food stalls serving mouth-watering international cuisines that will impress the most discerning palates.
During my recent trip to London we joined the Sunday Shoreditch Food tour organized by Secret Food Tours to explore this thriving neighborhood which has a rich history dating back to the 18th century and is one of the hidden gems of London often missed by tourists. Here’s the list of the can’t miss foods which you must try in Shoreditch right now.
Sunday Shoreditch Food Tour: The Brick Lane
On Sunday morning at around 11 am we met with our guide Sharlene at the Shoreditch Highstreet. We were in total 11 people and to our surprise they were all living in London or just recently moved to London and wanted to learn more about the vibrant culinary scene which Shoreditch has to offer.
To avoid the majority of crowds we started early and made our way through the Sunday fruit and vegetable market. The stalls were lined with neatly placed containers of fresh fruits and vegetables quite different to the way it is presented in other countries like Greece for example, where you will see piles of fresh produce displayed on the wooden pallets.
The heart and soul of Shoreditch, the Brick Lane Street is known as the Banglatown or the Bangladeshi-Sylheti community famous for its numerous curry houses. The Brick Lane Market was first developed here in the 17th-century for selling fruits and vegetables outside the City. During this time many of the French master weavers had settled in the area of Spitalfields turning it into a thriving centre for the clothing industry.
During the 20th-century the area saw a rise in the Anglo-Indian cuisine as families from countries like Bangladesh were moving to London in search of work. Today, Brick Lane is the famous curry capital of the UK.
Recently Shoreditch has turned into a vibrant art and fashion scene where visitors can admire regular displays of graffiti.
Our first food stop was at the Beigal Bake which is one of the most famous bakeries located on Brick Lane Street which opened in 1974. The bakery is open 24 hours, 7 days a week and serves about 7,000 bagels a day which are baked using a traditional Jewish recipe.
The bagels are served with ingredients of your choice. We had the tender salted beef beigal with hot English mustard and gherkins which was absolutely delicious. There is also a vegetarian option served with tuna and cream cheese.
Up next was Osu a small stall on Brick Lane Street serving vegan gluten free pancakes which are freshly made to order.
We tried their unique Cocoa Power flavor which is a stack of four coconut pancakes served with salted caramel, fresh banana, peanut butter strawberries and raw chocolate sauce. A rather interesting combination using locally sourced organic ingredients.
The third stop was at the Dark Sugars Cocoa Production a famous chocolate store serving a rich selection of luscious chocolates made from the Ghanian coco beans which Nyanga discover on her family farm back in Nigeria.
At this chocolate heaven you will taste the most sensational truffles and chocolates made to please every palate. You will be spoilt for choice. The one I liked the most was with the chilli pepper which added a sensational slightly burning flavour to the rich chocolate.
When at Brick Lane Street you must honour the mecca of curry thus we followed Sharlene to the closed market full of stalls selling everything from food to clothes.
At the Roti Roll which serves a Turkish/Indian fusion we tried the Main Curry. The Mild one is served with garlic and spinach, the one Chrysoula and I had, was the Medium one — Chicken Tikka Masala and the spicy one in the Mince Lamb Tandoori.
Vegetarians can order the Paneer Tikka Massala. The side dish was Saag Aloo with a homemade Roti of Coriander, sesame seeds and garlic and mint yogurt sauce. The portion was quite filling.
Once we finished with our curry the next stop was at the famous public house —the Pride of Spitalfields which is located just off Brick Lane.
The pub serves some of the best English beers and is considered a traditional little gem. You will also get to meet the mascot — a lovely residence cat. The beer stop was much welcomed after all the food we had previously consumed, thus as we got comfortable on the stools we enjoyed a half-pint of Truman’s Gunboat Smith a Black IPA beer.
Our Sunday food tour of Shoreditch continued with the next stop for traditional fish and chips at Poppies. A British Classic and in fact the best fish and chips I had. Served in a paper cone we tried the Classic British Fish (Haddock) and Chips with tartar sauce.
All the seafood served at Poppie’s is sustainable and caught on day boats and then delivered to the store. Pop started his career at the fine age of 11 years old in 1952, cutting up copies of The Daily Mail to wrap fish and chips in. He continues this tradition of newspaper wrapping at his own store — with a modern version of packaging of course.
Last but not least we finished off our food tour at the Canteen, a cozy coffee shop located inside the Spitalfields Market where we enjoyed traditional hot English Breakfast Tea with Sticky Toffee and Apple Crumble. This was a fantastic end to our food tour.
I’m personally a huge fan of joining food tours in a city as you get to experience the local culture, taste authentic dishes and discover some hidden gems. The Sunday Shoreditch Food Tour was very informative, we tried lots of delicious food, had a great time meeting other guests on the tour and Sharlene was very friendly and professional.
If you are looking for experience another side of London then this tour is definitely for you.
The duration of the tour is approximately 3 to 3,5 hours.
Cost per adult GBP 59.00, Teenager GBP 54.00, Children GBP 49.00
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