Shoreditch Area Guide
by Cecilia Yee.
Gentrification is slowly changing the East End of London where young creative and artists dominate the scene. What used to be gritty is now hip. Walk around Shoreditch, and you'll stumble upon cool street art, trendy cafes, art galleries and even 'hipster' shops.
If you're looking for a boutique hotel, check out Ace Hotel – the same brand that has properties in cities like Seattle and Portland. True to its ethos, Ace Hotel in London reinvents traditional hotel and "readdresses its convention to keep them fresh, energized and human".
One of the reasons why I love Shoreditch is its "inaccessibility". Not that it's impossible to get to, but the nearest underground station is a good 10-minute walk. That means if you really want to go there, you have to make a bit of an effort. Of course, buses go pass the area, or you can always take the overground and get off at Shoreditch High Street station.
Things to do:
Rent a bike, and just explore the neighbourhood. Check out the street art all over the area, from Redchurch Street to Brick Lane. Or why not chill out and read a book in one of the parks? Or even go all the way up to Hackney...
For seriously good coffee, go to the NZ-based coffee roaster, Allpress on Redchurch Street. There are also fantastic brunch places. Dishoom is modeled on Bombay-style café serving classic British dishes but with a twist. Must-try dishes include the Bacon & Egg Naan Roll and Bombay Omelette. Another popular brunch spot is Albion. This bright and airy café provides everyday necessity to the local community. It also has a bakery and food store.
Old Spitalfields Market has more restaurant options. Newly opened Taberna do Mercado is as hipster as you can get with their no reservations policy. But don't let that turn you away. Their Portuguese influenced tapas are amazing. Try the Cuttlefish and Pig Trotters Coentrada as well as the tinned fish. For dessert, check out the not-for-the-weak Olive Oil Pao de Lo or the Abade de Priscos.
Serving contemporary cuisine, The Clove Club on Old Street is a bit of an institution. It's known for its innovation, and patrons come back regularly as the menu changes regularly.
They focus on using fresh ingredients. And their wine collection is impressive. Standout dish is the lamb!
And if you're looking for something cheap and cheerful, there's always the infamous Beigel Shop on Brick Lane. For just a quid, you can get a delicious salmon bagel with cream cheese.
Tip: since you're all the way in the East side anyway, why not go up to Dalston and check out Street Feast for dinner one weekend in the summer?
Markets to check out:
One of the things I love about weekends in London is going to the markets. Wake up early on Sunday, and surround yourself with the colorful blooms in the Flower Market on Columbia Road. Don't forget to go to the side shops for cupcakes and coffee. Vintage lovers should check out Sunday Up Market on Brick Lane.
And of course, there's Old Spitalfields Market. This Victorian market hall showcases vintage collections, creations of young designers and quirky goods. There are also food stalls worth checking out like Bread Ahead (you must try the doughnuts!).