Shoreditch is one of those places which is simply cool. It's a part of London with an incredible atmosphere, packed full of people far cooler than me eating, drinking and enjoying the huge range of independents which fill this part of London. It's brimming with bright colours, incredible street art, hundreds of different multicultural cuisines and a huge array of great hotels near Shoreditch which are perfect for a trendy weekend away. I spent the afternoon exploring this quirky part of London and discovered some brilliant places to eat and drink which you need to try on your next trip to East London.
Dinerama is a street food mecca in the heart of Shoreditch. It's been on my bucket list for years and I was so excited to finally tick it off my foodie to do list. The tables were packed full on a Saturday afternoon and we couldn't resist grabbing a number of dishes from the street stalls to try. The special from Thunderbird Fried Chicken was our first choice and possibly the best of the bunch, deliciously tender chicken wings slathered in a rich and sticky miso-treacle butter then drizzled with yuzu and curry leaf aioli. Next, we chose two steamed buns from the adorably branded Yum Bun, one pork belly with a sweet and sticky hoisin sauce and one crispy tofu, perfectly soft and tender and topped with fresh chillies.
Was that enough for us? Oh no, not when it comes to street food! White Men Can't Jerk tempted us with their seriously good spiced jerk chicken, packed full of flavour and served in easy to eat tender pieces, alongside a barbeque sauce and sweet pineapple chutney. Finally, I had to introduce my dining buddy to the wonder of halloumi fries from Babek Brothers (if you're visiting Cambridge, you must try Hallouman's halloumi sticks at the market, which are just as delicious). The only disappointment was the lack of a punny named dish, compared to their brilliantly named kebabs "Lambuel L Jackson," "Tikka Turner" and of course my favourite "Ron Cheesley." My suggestion was Halloumi Berry - what would you call them?
Shoreditch is brilliant to simply wander around, packed full of bright and colourful street art and plenty of character. The well-known "let's adore and endure each other" sits directly opposite Dinerama, but there is much more to explore if you allow yourself to wander along the smaller, quieter streets. Of course, the great thing about street art is that it's constantly changing and although I spotted some old favourites from the In Colourful Company colour walk I took part in last year, there was also lots of new pieces to admire.
Boxpark is another bustling collection of food and drink, just next to the tube station, if you're looking for more food to try. I finally got to try the infamous bubble waffles which took over Instagram earlier this year and wow, it was worth it! Nosteagia offer a huge choice of different flavours, as well as the option to customise your own, but the cookie flavour, packed with nutella, cream, cookies and triple chocolate ice-cream was the perfect indulgent sweet treat after our savoury street food. Boxpark is also worth a visit for the atmosphere alone, packed full of people enjoying a drink on a Saturday night and the perfect place to either start or end your night (depending on how much of a grandma you are like me!)
Finally, we headed to Barber and Parlour, thanks to a recommendation from Angelica Malin on Twitter, which quickly shot to the top of my list of favourite places in London. As the name suggests, it's a combination of a barber shop and beauty parlour but it's also so much more, serving food, juices, cocktails and cake. The cafe is designed perfectly for a relaxing cup of tea, slice of cake or delicious cocktail (the frozen mango margarita was my favourite) in a carefully curated space, filled with wonderfully Instagrammable bookcases, plants and Victorian medical drawers. Yes it's a cliche, but it creates a calming and friendly space and I loved it. Downstairs, you'll find the well known Electric Cinema hidden in the basement. You'll need to book in advance to bag the best seats but if you do, you'll be treated to a luxurious cinema experience, with your very own armchair and a cinema menu including sausage rolls, hummus or more delicious cocktails served to your seat.
There's so much to do in Shoreditch, I feel like I just scratched the surface and I can't wait to go back and explore more. It's the perfect base for a weekend away in London and a part of the city which is constantly changing and evolving, from its street art to its food and drink offerings. What are your Shoreditch recommendations?
This post is in collaboration with Hotels.com, who paid for my day out, but all views are my own