Where To Eat Lunch In Shoreditch guide image

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Where To Eat Lunch In Shoreditch

Legendary beigels, Taiwanese noodle soup, handmade pasta, and more.

We’ve got a guide to the very best restaurants in Shoreditch. But an area like Shoreditch needs a more everyday kind of a guide. So whether you’re after the perfect place to meet a friend for a lunch-break bite, looking to grab something to go, or you just need to get out of the office for a little you-plus-food time, we’ve got you covered. This is the kind of guide you can whip out any day of the week, and it’s everything you need to help you hangrily navigate Shoreditch at lunchtime.


THE SPOTS

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

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9.1

Rochelle Canteen

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Rochelle School, London
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Rochelle Canteen is Shoreditch’s panic room. This is the only place to go when the area’s statement looks and lunchtime pints are getting a bit too much. It’s a walled-off haven with pies and potatoes, a cosy feeling, and a regular supply of custard. Lovely, lovely custard. Oasis of calm atmosphere aside, a lunch at Rochelle Canteen isn’t one that’s made to be rushed. The opposite, in fact. You should be leaning back and having a glass of something from the Languedoc.


Frills are not in Franco’s remit and nor is portion control. The old-school Italian caff on Rivington Street has long been a favourite of locals and the Shoreditch lunchtime crowd, thanks to its hefty servings of carbs at very reasonable prices. Piping hot escalope between two slices of ciabatta and oozing mayo is a favourite among the hungover midweek crew, as are mounds of creamy carbonara and a cheese and bean-stacked jacket potato.


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Maybe, probably, definitely, the best thing in Shoreditch these days is Troy Bar. This little Caribbean bar does London’s best lunchtime deal: £7 for jerk chicken or curry goat with rice and peas, plantain, and coleslaw. Bear in mind that this is primarily a bar, so the lunchtime feel is very much functional: chairs, tables, and just enough natural light. But if you’re more likely to take it to go, then it’s worth knowing that you can pick up a box for a couple of quid more in the evening.


Firmly established as one of the city’s most consistently reliable restaurant mini-chains, Bao’s expansion into Shoreditch felt like it had been a long time coming. Their Tainan-style rare beef rump noodle soup—pink rump beef slices bobbing in broth ready to be dunked in a bright orange soy yolk on the side—is a warming bowl, perfect for dreary midweek lunches. It’s a lovely minimalist space on the corner of Redchurch Street, ideal for solo slurping at the bar or something more sit-down.


Brick Lane’s institution needs no introduction and nor do its golden beigels. The salt beef is the obvious choice—an enormous hunk smeared with watered-down English mustard (this was never the case back in the day, it was a reliable sinus-clearer), and sliced gherkin stuck in for good measure. We’ll admit we’re more partial to a smoked salmon cream cheese, doused in bottled lemon juice and dusty pepper. Delicious and, vitally, less filling. You need room for a chocolate slice.


Although a lunch at Gloria should, by rights, be what we professionals like to call a ‘write-off’, getting hammered on Aperol with plates on plates of San Daniele ham isn’t the only way to do Shoreditch’s OTT trattoria. In fact, you can just as easily use this place to talk shop over a bowl of London’s richest carbonara, as you can for a blow-out three-hour extravaganza that ends with a profiterole the size of your head.


The lunchtime sandwich is ingrained into British psyche. Three quid, a BLT wolfed here, a packet of crisps there, a spot of indigestion later. Lovely. Not all sandwiches need to be like this though and Keu’s bánh mì are a prime example of this. Their classic Vietnamese baguette should be a weekly staple but don’t just leave them at that. The full plates here are a very decent choice and sitting down to roast duck or char siu pork on rice is a tasty and filling lunch for under a tenner.


Shoreditch’s premier pasta place is an easy go-to for a classy lunch. It’s a bit more expensive than other places—you’ll be paying over a tenner per plate—but you’re paying for amazing handmade pasta, aren’t you. Their signature agnolotti parcels filled with beef, pork, and spinach, smothered in a butter sauce is pretty spectacular. As is every other pasta on the menu. This is the kind of place you can go for an informal work lunch or just with a pal. It’s probably worth calling ahead though as it tends to be one of the more popular choices down Redchurch Street.


This newsagent looks pretty standard for Shoreditch: slightly abnormal wooden front and signs pointing to its craft beer selection, but there’s a not-so-secret secret lying within. They make some pretty good curries daily. You’ll notice queues running outside here most lunchtimes and for £4 you can get a takeaway box of three curries, rice, and poppadoms. We like to add an enormous onion bhaji or samosa for good measure. If you’re looking for a tasty, homemade, and cost-effective lunch, look no further.


You know Thursday and Friday lunches? The ones when you think: ‘sod it, it’s the end of the week and I want to feel like I need a nap after this’. Those ones. Smokestak is the place for that. We’re not saying Smokestak will just stuff you, no no no. What we’re saying is that Smokestak will lay on a series of delicious barbecue meat and vegetable dishes that you won’t be able to say no to, so that by the end, all you’ll want is a nap.


No lunch list is complete without some fried chicken and Butchies is the perfect crispy chicken you crave, only without the 2am regret. The sandwiches here are big and full of buttermilk bird. This is the perfect Monday late lunch spot when the day is dragging and you want filling and fulfilling. Don’t blame us if you end up getting some wings as well—they say they’re award winning. Let your mouths be the judge though.


If you want reliable and tasty Korean around Shoreditch, look no further than On The Bab. This is a place you can do in an hour with some KFC (dependent on queues), or get comfortable with a stew and really take your time. It’s a popular place and for good reason. If you don’t fancy a wait you can always order ahead and collect to pick up. Because, you know, when you need KFC you need KFC.


Coffee shops are 10 a penny around Shoreditch and roasters aren’t too far behind either. Ozone underplay themselves though. Yes they specialise in coffee, but they also do some very nice food. Their space on Leonard Street is a great casual lunch spot. Think lots of tasty and interesting salads as well as some heartier dishes—ragu, freshly caught fish, and the like. Come to Ozone once or twice and, before you know it, you’ll end up here once a week.


A pub lunch you say? Oh I couldn’t! Oh yes you can. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a three-pints-of-Stella lunch though (but don’t let us stop you if that’s what you’re after). Head to the George & Vulture and combine pints with pizza for the most holy of matrimonies since wings following whisky. Sodo does some extremely tasty sourdough pizzas and their residency in a Shoreditch pub is convenient to say the least. There are loads of big tables here, so this suits a group looking to share the menu with one or maybe two (or maybe three?) pints.


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