Unlike other areas of the East End, Bethnal Green seems to be clinging to is roots despite the regeneration it has undergone in recent times. As a result, the food scene is a particularly diverse one, where the rough and the trendy exist side by side in apparent harmony.
Bethnal Green is so close to Shoreditch one would have expected it to be taken over by gentrification long ago. Yet its streets and neighbourhood vibes still retain pockets of the East London cockney roots, which enhance the atmosphere of neighbourhood eateries and family-run restaurants. But the area also has a modern side to it, with hip cafes, award-winning kitchens and elegant options for fine dining.
Despite being renowned far beyond Bethnal Green, Pellicci retains the authentic feel of a local, family-run diner like few other places in London do. Members of the Pellicci family have worked here since 1900, later becoming owners of the place. Today, they still run this blissful encounter between an East London cafe and a trattoria, famous for its pies, breakfast, grill and pasta dishes. A confident mix of thick Cockney accent and Tuscan-inflected Italian adds to the warm, genuine atmosphere. Prices are old-school too, like everything else about this place. Expect queues at weekends.
332 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 0AG
The Gallery Cafe
A community project, The Gallery Cafe has been Time Out’s best Bethnal Green cafe for three consecutive years. Responsibly-sourced produce is at the core of its vegan menu, which includes creative dishes, fairtrade coffee, juices and hot drinks. A terrace and a glorious back garden, perhaps the best one in the area, are available in good weather, while the cosy ambience inside is perfect for the colder months. The cafe is part of St. Margaret’s House, a community charity based in Bethnal Green since 1889. A rich programme of live events, screenings and exhibitions from emerging artists is also available.
21 Old Ford Road , London E2 9PL
Sager + Wilde
Sager + Wilde is a restaurant, terrace and private dining room housed in a converted space below the railway arches. British dishes and wide European influences feature on the menu, offering fine yet unpretentious options for brunch and dinner. Expect both modern takes on classic recipes and dishes showing a more experimental flair. A large pasta dish with a glass of house wine is the special offer between 5pm and 7pm, while free corkage applies on Sunday and Monday nights. Sager + Wilde also has a wine bar branch on Hackney Road.
250 Paradise Row, Londra E2 9LE, Inghilterra
The Camel Pub
One of the locals’ favourite pubs, The Camel is a little piece of Bethnal Green surviving the area’s regeneration. After having been closed for five years and earmarked for demolition, it re-opened in 2006 thanks to a successful local opposition. Its signature dishes are the pies and mash, whose varieties include steak and kidney, lamb, chorizo, thai green curry, goat cheese and spinach, and wild mushroom and asparagus. Naturally, they are to be paired with a ‘pig’s ear’ (Cockney slang for beer). Who would prefer a new block of luxury apartments instead?
280 Globe Rd, Lodnon E2 0NS
Housed at the Town Hall Hotel, Typing Room provides some high-end dining experience in Bethnal Green. The restaurant is named after the former town hall’s actual typing room, which has been converted into an elegant and refined space. The kitchen has been run by award-winning chef Lee Westcott since 2014, who “uses the best of local and seasonal British ingredients to create innovative modern European dishes; his cooking has been described as pure, natural and honest, presented in a relaxed atmosphere.”
Patriot Square, London E2 9NF
Corner Room is the second, more affordable, restaurant housed at the Town Hall Hotel. Yet its kitchen aims to offer exceptional quality and to showcase top-notch British produce, under chef Craig Johnson’s direction. Both the bright dining room and the lounge area offer a smart and casual environment in which to enjoy a meal or drink. At lunch time from Monday to Friday, Corner Room turns into a pleasantly quiet and relaxing working space with a small selection of salads, pastries, coffee and drinks.
Patriot Square, London E2 9NF
This trendy bistro located in a converted warehouse is considered one of the best options in the area for fine dining. Chic and relaxed at the same time, Bistrotheque offers a French menu that doesn’t shy away from broader European influences. Favourites on the brunch and dinner menus include croque madame, steak tartare, beef rump and salmon. While the price range is medium to high, the prix fixe menu is good value. Cocktails, spirits and a rich selection of wines are served by the Manchichi bar.
23–27 Wadeson Street, London E2 9DR
Laxeiro Tapas Bar
Apparently there are so many Spanish people living in Bethnal Green that some have taken to calling it ‘Bethnal Verde’, but Laxeiro caters to a broader clientele than the Spanish community. Indeed this tiny restaurant is very well established in the area, having been the first of its kind to open in the East End in 1982. A deli shop first then a restaurant later, Laxeiro provides authentic Galician specialties, and makes the most of a deep knowledge of Spanish regional cuisine, buoyed by trusty relationships developed with local suppliers over 35 years of business.
93 Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG
Palmers is the place to go for British food served with a modern twist. As a family-run restaurant, it aims to offer good value, a warm atmosphere and the friendly service of a neighbourhood diner. Yet the environment is smart and informal, reflecting a creative approach that equals British-fusion cuisine. Starters on a sample menu include Bouillabaisse with parmesan and Pyrenees charcuterie with pickles, while typical mains are corn-fed chicken breast, pan-fried mackerel and hazelnut-crusted goat cheese.
238 Roman Rd, London E2 0RY
Opened over six years ago, Ombra is a canal-side osteria bringing the Venetian tradition to the East End. The daily-changing menu offers seasonal produce from Italy and from selected British farmers, while the bar focuses on Italian cocktails and low-intervention wines. Meaning ‘shade’ in Italian and ‘glass of wine’ in Venetian slang, Ombra is named after the Venetian merchants selling wine in Piazza San Marco in the old times, who would follow the shadow of the bell tower to keep their bottles cool.
1 Vyner St, London E2 9DG