There’s a lot happening on the Shoreditch restaurant front. We’ve already got a guide to the very best restaurants in the area. They’re the places to go to if you’re after something special. 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 navigate the Shoreditch lunch scene.
It’s hard to know a good hip coffee from a bad hip coffee shop because, well, in Shoreditch there are three every 20 steps. That’s what we’re here for though, and The Attendant is definitely a good coffee shop. This is a great place to grab a straightforward holy trinity lunch of sandwich, salad or soup. That’s not to play it down though, The Attendant is very good at simple things: whether that be a home-made quiche or their pumpkin and sweet potato smash. This is one that, before you even know it, has become a regular on your first visit.
You know those food spots where the owners/chefs are all in front of you, simultaneously taking your order, cooking it, asking for money, and making jokes about how your mother raised you? No? Well maybe you should, because Ruby’s is that kind of place. It’s an Italian deli come cafe of the best kind. The food here is hearty and homely, just like you’d expect. The crab and leek tagliatelle is a favourite and they also make their own soups daily. There is limited space to sit inside, so just make sure you get there before or after the 1-2pm rush.
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 - but you’re paying for amazing handmade pasta, aren’t you. Their signature agnolotti parcels filled with beef, pork, spinach, and smothered in a butter sauce are pretty spectacular. As is every other pasta on the menu to be honest. 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 affair for Shoreditch: slightly abnormal wooden front, signs pointing to its craft beer selection. But there’s a not-so-secret secret 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, and you should too. If you’re looking for tasty, homemade, and cost effective lunch, look no further.
When Monty’s Deli opened their permanent spot, a homely place just off the main Shoreditch drag, it was like being reunited with a childhood friend we’d grown apart from. And biting into their reuben special - a tower of salt beef, pastrami and mustard between homemade rye bread - is like getting a hug from that friend. Heading up to Monty’s is one of the ultimate Shoreditch lunch power moves.
Barbecue ‘shacks’ are everywhere in London these days, but we can count on one hand the ones that are actually worth visiting. Luckily, Smokestak eliminates the need to count at all, because it blows the competition out of the water. The BBQ here is damn good - we could sustain ourselves on just the smell of this place alone - and the brisket and pastrami are must orders. For a quick lunch go for the brisket bun. It comes in regular and large. You’ll want it large, obviously.
Going to Boxpark isn’t often the most appealing lunch pitch. You’re surrounded by local media types in beanies, tourists in beanies, oh god…you’ve caught your own reflection…you’re in a beanie. That said there are some seriously decent food spots in Boxpark, and Cook Daily is one of them. If you’re after an interesting and tasty lunch then this should be extremely high up your list. Their vegan Thai dishes are some of the best tasting around and even dedicated carnivores shouldn’t be put off by their lack of meat. Boxpark isn’t always the cosiest place for lunch when it’s busy, but Cook Daily do have seats inside and although you might struggle to grab more than one, once you’ve got your green curry - or anything else - you won’t be complaining.
No lunch list is complete without some fried chicken and Butchies is the perfect solution to your crispy chicken cravings, only without the 2am regret. The sandwiches here are big and full of bird of the buttermilk variety. That means they taste really good. It’s the perfect Monday late lunch spot for when the day is dragging and you want filling and fulfilling, just don’t blame us if you end up getting some wings as well. They say they’re award winning, but you can let your mouths be the judge of that.
If you want reliable and tasty Korean around Shoreditch, look no further than On The Bab. This is a place you can easily do in under an hour (queues dependent) if you’re after some KFC, or get comfortable with a stew and really take your time over. It’s a popular place and for good reason. If you don’t fancy a wait you can always order ahead and collect to avoid the crowds ’cos, you know, when you need KFC you need KFC.
Some things are famous for no good reason: the queen, the princes… you get what we’re saying. Beigel Bake is famous for good reason though: they make proper good bagels (and other things too). Don’t be confused by the yellow bagel shop next door - they’re like that step-sibling you never knew about - Beigel Bake is the real deal. It’s an absolute go-to for lunch on one of London’s rare and arbitrarily timed warm days. A smoked salmon cream cheese, a salt beef, and an eyewatering dollop of English mustard, plus a chocolate slice to share in the sun. Perfect.
Cream is a cool all-day coffee shop off Shoreditch High Street that has a rotating menu ranging from super healthy grain bowls to a plate of oyster mushrooms and comté on sourdough. It’s a fantastic place to sit when it’s sunny and they open the shop front onto the street, and for those times you want lunch to roll into an all-afternoon out-of-the-office, or hanging out with friends, session.
As we’ve mentioned, coffee shops are ten a penny around Shoreditch and coffee roasters aren’t too far behind either. Ozone underplay themselves though. Yes they specialise in coffee, but they also do some very nice food as well. 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 and 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.
Shockingly to those outside of Britain, and even more so to those in Britain, pub lunches don’t always have to be of the liquid variety. If you’re after some actual sustenance in a nice pub environment, then you can’t do much better than The George and Vulture. It’s out of the way enough to be an oasis of calm and, more importantly, Sodo have popped up with a residency there. Sodo is a sourdough pizza place that’s built up a bit of a neighbourhood following in Clapton and Walthamstow thanks to their tasty, saucy, I-need-a-whole-one-to-myself sourdough pizzas. At around a tenner a go the pizzas are great value, as crispy as you like, and make for a social and sensible pub lunch that doesn’t have to end in a regrettable “sorry, I’m not going to be coming back to the office” email.
The lunchtime sandwich is ingrained in the 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. Take Keu’s bahn mi. Their classic Vietnamese baguette should be a weekly staple but don’t leave it there. The full plates here are a good choice, and sitting down to a plate of roast duck or char siu pork on rice is as tasty and filling a lunch as you’ll get in Shoreditch for under a tenner.