Where to Eat | Great Places to Eat Breakfast and Lunch in Shoreditch and Hoxton, London

28 Aug

It’s been almost six months since I left the rough but comforting arms of Shoreditch and changed jobs travelling to the never-ending turnover of Soho. One of my colleagues recently changed jobs and his new 9-5 role is in Shoreditch. The SAME road my last job was, no less. I felt a slight sadness as I remembered how much I loved working in the area and couldn’t wait to tell him where to eat lunch in Shoreditch. His leaving gift from me being a blog post especially for him – Nick Christian – sorry for the delay but below is for you.

Franco’s Sandwich Bar & Restaurant

67 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3DU

Franco's Cafe on Rivington Street

As far as a good homely cooked meal is concerned, you can’t go wrong with Franco’s Cafe, whether it’s breakfast or lunch. Their full English breakfast is amazing and great value. Proper cumberland sausages which you MUST have on your plate if you go. Eggs cooked any way you like. You’ll frequently be eating breakfast with the local builders who have long ago discovered how fantastic Franco’s food is. The staff are extremely friendly at this family run cafe. Louis can often be seen whistling hello’s at the ladies walking by. Louis and Ricardo used to frequently adorn my bacon sarnies with tomato ketchup heart shapes.

Franco’s Cafe has many lunchtime specials, all displayed stretched across the wall. My favourites are the “Vegie Special” – a Portuguese Fritatta served in a roll with a salad garnish. This is in my opinion an excellent hangover cure. All pasta dishes are great but I’m a particular fan of the “Vongole” which is baby clams in a light creamy sauce. The pasta you choose to have is up to you – spaghetti or penne are the options.

Finally if you fancy something sweet after lunch, DO takeaway one of their traditional portuguese custard tarts. Don’t be put off by the appearance, they are fantastic.

B.L.T (Big Loaded & Tasty) Deli

55 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PT

BLT Deli, Curtain Road Shoreditch

You simply can’t be bored of the food served at B.L.T. First and foremost – get your name on their mailing list by giving them your business card or scribbling it down and popping it in their box on the counter. They email their daily specials which consists of different wraps every day, special salads, a selection of hearty filling soups and their daily carvery servings. If all of the above sounds overwhelming and gives the impression that it would add inches to your waist – fear not, they also offer low fat wraps and soups.

Everything they serve is fantastic (I’m not exaggerating). The Mediterranean fish stew is a winner but my absolute favourite is the Jamaican Jerk Wrap. Rice, Jerk Chicken, Collard Greens, Yam, Salad – all in a wrap. So good.

If they have something on their menu you like, I advise ringing them to reserve because once it’s gone – it’s gone – and you will be kicking yourself.

They also have a sister shop down the road called BLT Snacks but the menu here is significantly limited.

Mediterranean Fish Stew at BLT

Mediterranean Fish Stew at BLT is a MUST

Strongroom Bar

120-124 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3SQ

Strongroom Bar Entrance, Curtain Road

It’s with slight sadness that I write about the Strongroom as the Bar Manager (Dean Finch) has now left. He’s moved onto pastures new – so this is good news for him – but he was a fantastic asset to this bar – so I’m a bit disappointed that he has now gone.

The good news is that the chef Georgie is still here and she continues to produce an astounding food menu that could easily rival many pubs in London with higher statuses. The all time favourite food I loved eating at Strongroom Bar was the breakfast. So much so that I rapidly built up a plethora of images which I used to email Dean (and anyone else that I could get to look at what I loved eating).

Full English Breakfast at Strongroom Bar, Shoreditch

Full English Breakfast at Strongroom Bar, Shoreditch

Full English Breakfast at Strongroom Bar, Shoreditch

This is another Full English – believe it or not, not on the same day

Breakfast at the strongroom bar

Benefit of working for a cool company – your work can take you to the pub for a full english

Fish and Chips at Strongroom Bar, Shoreditch

I did try other courses on their menu, so I’m not completely biased.

Big winners on the Strongroom menu aside from their breakfast is Fish and Chips on a Friday – they are responsible enough to experiment with other fish aside from the cod and plaice which is so sought after in the UK. Friday’s fish usually consists of Hake.

When ordering drinks you will inevitably be tempted to try one of the chef’s Peri Peri Scotch Eggs as they are propped up at the bar luring you. The BEST scotch eggs I’ve ever tasted.

If you happen to be around at Christmas – persuade your boss to make Strongroom Bar the subject of your Christmas lunch. When I worked at Sitelynx, we had our Christmas lunch here in 2010 and Georgie did not disappoint.

Strongroom on Urbanspoon

Bluu Bar – now CLOSED (currently Bill’s Cafe)

1 Hoxton Square, Hoxton, London N1 6NU

Bluu Bar, Hoxton Square

Bluu isn’t really somewhere you’d go to for lunch – it’s more of an evening drinking establishment. This is not to say the food isn’t good – it is, but there are much better options in surrounding areas. That said there is ONE thing you should go there for – Fish Finger Sandwiches, served with fries. Heavenly.

Fish Finger Sandwich with Tartare Sauce and Fries

Bluu on Urbanspoon

Ruby

35 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PB

shop front of ruby cafe in shoreditch

I can’t remember how I stumbled across the Ruby cafe

but I think it might have had something to do with the Italian man named Leno that runs the cafe who was in love with me. This is not me being vain – this is the truth.

I was glad when I finally did visit for lunch though as the food is simply amazing. I unfortunately never reached the level of their steak sandwiches or even the pasta which I would look at enviously – my favourite dish there was the soup. In particularly the lentil soup they served with toasted ciabatta. At £3 it’s a super cheap lunch. The sandwiches and pasta is priced at around £5-6. Not a bad price at all but could get expensive everyday. Also worth noting that Leno opened a sister cafe Ruby 2 in Hoxton Square, just next door to Yelo. This is much more of a sit-down venue with nice outdoor seating for the summer. They also have an alcohol licence.

Ruby on Urbanspoon

Yelo – now CLOSED

8-9 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch, London N1 6NU

Yelo Thai Restaurant in Hoxton Square

Yelo is great for two reasons.

1. If you are craving pad Thai – because no one else in the vicinity offers decent pad Thai. The Bricklayer Arms on Charlotte Road has a Thai restaurant upstairs but having eaten there a couple of times I was thoroughly disappointed. Apparently the chef used to work at Yum Yum in Stoke Newington. If that’s the case, I’d say they did well when he left.

Anyway – Yelo – fantastic pad Thai and Jungle Curry, which brings me onto my  reason; if you’ve been out drinking in the area and want something tasty and cheap to eat, you can’t go wrong with Yelo. That’s ONLY if you can’t be bothered to walk to a Vietnamese restaurant.

Yelo on Urbanspoon

Cay Tre

301 Old Street, London EC1V 9LA

Viet Grill

58 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP

Cay Tre Vietnamese Restaurant, Old Street, London

Viet Grill Restaurant

This brings me onto two of my absolute favourite eateries in Shoreditch/Hackney.

I feel very fortunate to have worked with my Vietnamese ex-colleague Kim Pham at Sitelynx. Had I not met Kim, I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to try Vietnamese food, no matter how willing I am to try new dishes. The dish that won me over was Cay Tre’s BBQ Pork dish. Wonderful BBQ pork loin with vermicelli noodles, herbs, cilantro, pickled cucumber. This dish isn’t only amazingly tasty. It’s super healthy too which is the pinnacle of Vietnamese food. It’s what sets it apart from Chinese food (that and the lack of fluorescent orange sauce).

Vietnamese One Dish Meal

bbq pork loin with rice vermicelli of pork tender loin marinated in lemongrass, barbecued, served with fresh herbs and sweet and sour pickle

Other dishes to try at Cay Tre include the wonderfully fresh and satisfying summer rolls. You say the word “rolls” to someone with reference to Asian food, and the image of something deep fried is immediately conjured up. Quite the opposite these summer rolls are filled with prawns (or mackerel, pork or duck if you like), coriander, vermicelli noodles and lettuce then wrapped in rice paper rolls.

Vietnamese Fresh Summer Rolls

Fresh Summer Rolls, wrapped with Vietnamese herbs and served with nuoc cham or yellow bean peanut sauce

Viet Grill is the sister restaurant of Cay Tre. In my opinion you go to Cay Tre for lunch or after lots of drinks with friends. Viet Grill has a slightly more formal decor. You visit for a nice meal with friends or your other half. If I want the BBQ pork dish I tend to go to Viet Grill as the pork has more of a chargrilled taste here.

Most recently a third branch has opened – Cay Tre in Dean Street, Soho. I’ve visited twice and have been satisfied but not overwhelmed. The food in my opinion isn’t the same. The service is slow and the prices are extortionate compared to the other branches. Catering for the tourists. Doesn’t impress me.

Cay Tre on Urbanspoon

Viet Grill The Vietnamese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tay Do

60 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP

Tay Do Vietnamese Restaurant, Hackney

Tay Do is great for no frills Vietnamese food. The reason I started coming here in the first place is because they used to have a lunch special for £4.30. You could have one starter (soup of half portion of sesame prawn toast) plus a main dish (a noodle, pho soup or rice dish). Completely bargainous and wholesome healthy food.

Tay Do Kingsland Road

You can imagine how disappointed I was when they scrapped the lunch deal. When they did this, they also increased the prices of their dishes by an average of £2. I registered my disappointment here.

Nevertheless, the food is still very good value (they serve summer rolls!) and best of all – in the evening you can BYOB! Tay Do will tend to be extremely busy on a Thursday evening.

Tay Do on Urbanspoon

So there you have it. My guide on where to eat breakfast or lunch in Shoreditch/Hoxton area of London. There are some other places worth a mention but not worth too much air space;

Cantaloupe – Now CLOSED (currently Merchants Tavern)

35-42 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3PD

Good for burgers

The Diner

128-130 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3AQ

A classic – and the food will always be good here, but you really don’t have to try hard to get American food in London – do you?

Hanoi Cafe

98 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP

Great Pho

Hanoi Cafe Kingsland Road Pho

Where to Avoid

Hoxtons Cafe

311 Old Street, London EC1V 9LA

Fatty hot lunch dishes. Everything smells the same, can’t be good. Also over-priced for what it is

Japanese Canteen

37 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NN

As Sascha says: “Japanese” food cooked and served by Polish people? No thanks

The Hoxton Pony

104-108 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3AH

Poncy, Pretentious – don’t go for food OR drinks! (Built for City Bankers)

The Breakfast Club

2-4 Rufus St, London N1 6PE

Hype and nothing more. Awful breakfast

Little Hanoi - Now CLOSED (currently Haché Burgers)

147 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3QE

Purely because my ex-employer used to have offices above this restaurant and often had cockroaches as lodgers!

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13 Responses to “Where to Eat | Great Places to Eat Breakfast and Lunch in Shoreditch and Hoxton, London”

  1. georgie September 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Jeeze Foodie Claire. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog! It’s a shame you no longer work around here. The kitchen at strongroom has gone from strength to strength. Maybe you might pay a visit one sunday to try one of our super roast dinners. They should be starting up this October…. Thanks for spreading the word! Georgie.

    • FoodieClaire September 17, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

      Georgie! The queen of the kitchen! Thank you so much for reading my blog and glad you enjoyed – it means a lot. I wish I was back in Shoreditch too! I thankfully still live in East London and so travelling to the ditch isn’t such a mission. Your kind marketing manager has invited me to eat at the Strongroom now that your kitchen has finished being refurbished so I will be visiting soon – I will also make sure I come back for roast Sunday dinner. Love roasts – mmmm. Take care, Claire x

  2. M July 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Hey Claire,
    Just to say thanks for this really helpful blog – I was in the area and wanted lunch, so I just googled good places for lunch in Shoreditch, found this, went to BLT and had the BBQ Texan wrap. It was amazing! thank you, I’ll remember that and check this blog more often!

    M

    • FoodieClaire July 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

      Madeleine you’ve made my day! I’m so happy you found my article interesting. I am working in Covent Garden now and SO miss Shoreditch and the places I used to eat. BLT is definitely one of my favourites. You just can’t get places that good round here. I suppose I have China Town nearby though… Make sure you try Strongroom bar – below Georgie has made a comment – she is the chef of the kitchen there and cooks AMAZING food :)

  3. CharlSutton July 25, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Shoreditch is my favourite place and now I want to try all of the above! x

    • FoodieClaire July 25, 2012 at 11:55 am #

      I miss working there SO MUCH. Definitely the place to be x

  4. mikeyc March 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    nice write up! (even if it is a bit old now!)

    I’ve been working in shoreditch for a year now and been to nearly everywhere on your list! Its really helped me out!! Thanks for getting me started!

    Its worth mentioning that ‘The Diner’ at 128-130 Curtain Rd is similar to the breakfast club but the food is a better! Its still quite pricey mind you… !

    Also if anyone really likes a good burger they should check out Meat Mission 14-15 Hoxton Market N1 6HG (meatmission.com)… again its a bit pricey at £8 for a burger but if you’re feeling flush its well worth it!

    Lastly if people are looking for something quick and cheap, head on over to Toto’s which is 39 Scrutton St… go in there and ask for a ‘Hot Sweet’… Basically a ciabatta with chicken, bacon, cheese and sweet chili sauce! its really really nice and costs about £3! coffee there is also £1!

    AVOID – first step cafe! terrible breakfasts!

  5. Janna May 28, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    A really good read! Always have meetings in Shoreditch and walk past loads of great smelling places during lunch time and am soo ready for food when we sit down! Another great place is http://www.thecornershopbar.com – on Old Street. They do yummy steaks!

    • FoodieClaire July 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Are you endorsing your own venue? I’m not sure I agree with that – a better option would be to invite me down to see for myself ;)

  6. Foodie Ilyas November 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Your suggestions suck big time. These are all terrible and you call yourself a foodie? My ass!

    • FoodieClaire November 25, 2013 at 10:18 am #

      ​Wow. I’m sorry that you disagree with the suggestions written in my blog post TWO years ago. More detail would have been useful. Many others disagree with you but I’ll take your “constructive” criticism on board. Thanks!

  7. Nadine (@IamNads) March 31, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    How funny! I’ve been working on Shoreditch for about 6 weeks now and fancied something different for lunch (was actually craving a Soho-based Kati Roll if I’m honest).

    I Googled ‘wraps for lunch Shoreditch’ and lo and behold, I was presented with an old FoodieClaire post. Well, if I’m gonna take lunch recommendations from anyone, it’ll definitely be you Claire Bear ;-p

    Apart from Franco’s, The Diner and Huong Cafe I’ve pretty much been having food from Itsu, Pret and Vital Ingredient (boring, I know) but now I’ve found this post, I’ll be experimenting a lot more for sure. Good work, girlie!

    Nads x

    • FoodieClaire March 31, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

      This warms my heart! I love that you found my post through good old Google, and three years after I wrote it too!! I can’t rate BLT enough, their food is fantastic and so varied. I don’t doubt many more establishments have opened since but don’t think you can go wrong with the ones I’ve suggested, with my faves being Francos, (which good ole foursquare tells me you’ve been to) BLT and Strongroom is perfect for Friday Fish and Chips but don’t get there late! Enjoy and keep me updated of what you find xxx

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