Eating the East End of London - Part Two

Ottolenghi About a mile from our flat (on the delightful Artillery Lane) was the Spitalfields outpost of this wonderful restaurant.  I love Ottolenghi and Sammi Tamimi's cookbooks Jerusalem and  Plenty, and anyone who is a fan of their fresh, healthy recipes would be charmed by Sami Tamimi's Instagram page, you really should check it out. 

Anyway, I highly recommend Ottoleghi for a simple, fresh, and sustaining lunch. The food is just so healthy and fantastic and so beautifully displayed as you can see at the top of the post. Overall this is one of my favorite lunches in London.
Most people make reservations but as we were fairly close by we tended to walk in on the later side and we were always able to get a table, although they  looked surprised to be able to accommodate us. The presentation of the food, on a bar in the front of the restaurant, is masterful and I drool just thinking of it. Now we've left London this is one of the places I miss,  next time we'll try to explore  their other locations as well as their restaurant Nopi.

For something not quite so healthy you could head to Tramshed on Rivington in Shoreditch. Below is their "Cock and Bull" sandwich which combines chicken and beef which are the only  options you'll find  on the menu. It's also a play on the English phrase for a "cock and bull story" - for a fanciful or dubious tale. The place is famous for the cavernous dining room which  astonishingly features one of Damien Hirst's cows suspended above the diners in an enormous glass formaldehyde tank. I don't think I'd like this place when it's full, I'm sure it's too noisy and far too busy. But I recommend it for lunch, they're open all afternoon and have a very reasonable lunch menu (£9:95) which they serve till 4:30pm.

There are just so many options in  Shoreditch.  We had an excellent meal right across the street from Tramshed,  at a charming small Italian restaurant called Bottega PrelibatoIt's a far better restaurant than it's neighbor. They had a number of interesting regional pasta including several I didn't recognize. The atmosphere was charming and personal and we look forward to going back.
One evening we walked east along the Regents Canal and stopped  to eat at the newly opened Tonkotsu East in Dalston. This is a great place for interesting but reasonably priced noodles. 
D. liked his ramen (below) and I enjoyed a chilled seafood noodle salad which was tasty and different (above). Like so many places in London this is part of a small foodie chain. Sometimes it feels like everything is designed to be replicated and they're just waiting to become a national or global phenomena.
Korean fusion has made it's way from the food truck scene in LA to restaurants in East London stopping  lots of other places in between. Sometimes it feels that without  padron peppers or kimchee you don't have a hipster scene! We passed On the Bap several times but there was always a line of eager patrons waiting outside and we're just not enthusiastic enough to wait so we gave it a pass. Then, one Sunday afternoon we were looking to eat something at 4pm and in we walked. I liked  several of the dishes including the bibimbab, fried chicken and spicy pork. This is fusion street food so don't expect a purist's Korean food .We enjoyed it though  did find one dish a little too sweet for my liking.
In addition to the trendy Asian fusion places there are lots of Traditional Vietnamese restaurants on the Kingland Road including our favorite Mien Tay which has expanded since the first time we visited. We were much less keen on the nearby Song Que Cafe which gets a lot of good press. Here's the Time Out guide to the area.

For authentic Spanish food I'd recommend the newly opened Copita del Mercado, near Petticoat Lane in Whitechapel. This outpost is the sister restaurant of of Copita in Soho. We had a wonderful tapas style meal here. There's a lot of mediocre tapas around but this place really is excellent with interesting subtle dishes served in a casual modern environment.

If you're looking for something cheap and quick in Spitalfields  D. recommends the food stands in Devonshire Square at lunchtime. We also had several casual meals at Pilpel (a falafel chain) and  Pho which is a fun place for, you guessed it, Vietnamese soup!

I dropped into the wonderful Rochelle Canteen for breakfast but never made it back for lunch. This is a delightful place that feels rather like a secret for those in the know. The restaurant is hidden behind a high wall in an old schoolhouse right on Arnold Circus in Shoreditch. This is an interesting area built as some of the earliest social housing in Britain. Interestingly Arnold Circus was recently covered on the great BBC show Secrets of our Streets. You ring a bell and they let you in to the garden which is just lovely, a real oasis from the urban scene in Shoreditch. The breakfast was good, everything is fresh, homemade and modern and the situation in quite charming. You'll need a reservation for meals other than breakfast but it's worth seeking out and is high on my list for our next visit.
Another of our favorites was Cafe a Vin in Spitalfields, the informal bistro attached to La Chapelle. The food was excellent though it's often quite quiet on the weekends. I'll be blogging  about it  in another post on our favorite Sunday stroll.

Wherever you find yourself I hope this helps you find something good to eat! If you have any suggestions of places we should try do let me know .