Where To Eat And Drink In The Foodie Heaven That Is Brick Lane

Where To Eat And Drink In The Foodie Heaven That Is Brick Lane
A spread of food featuring eggs and meat
Brick Lane and its surrounds are home to some of the best food in London. Image: Hoko

Brick Lane is globally renowned for its diverse mishmash of city workers, artists and students, as well as a rich heritage rooted in the textile and brewery industries. Now, the historic street and surrounding area are packed with restaurants, set against a backdrop of colourful street art and vintage shops. It's this variety that gives Brick Lane such a buzz as a cultural hub.

From the Huguenots in the 1700s, and Jewish and Irish settlers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to Bangladeshis in the 1970s — many different communities have contributed to the tapestry of architecture and food. Lately, sustainable vegan cafes and street food stalls provide more international cuisine, while local artisanal products add their own stamp on yet another one of London's many eclectic faces.

Where to get breakfast in Brick Lane

Green tea and green cake
Who says cake's just for dessert? Image: Katsute 100

A good bet to start the day off is All Day Breakfast Brick Lane, a classic greasy spoon where the full English breakfast ticks all the boxes for the hungry carnivore. For a taste of Hong Kong, head to Hoko Cafe; the tomato soup, macaroni and egg, and the French toast have both built a solid fan base locally and online. Brick Lane Crepe Waffle & Churros is the spot for indulging in these sweet treats (you can find savoury crepes too), with the cheese, avocado and pesto crepe and sugar and lemon churros standing out as favourites.

A slice of deep fried, buttery toast
Bonjour, French toast. Image: Hoko

Café Lavista offers a neon-lit setting in which to enjoy a fresh bagel, a hearty panini, or a traditional English breakfast; the Kinder Bueno crepe is a must-try. Momlette brings a unique twist to brunch with its Bengali street food theme, offering everything from its namesake, a 'Momlette' (spiced omelette) to a fab eggs benedict. For a Japanese-inspired breakfast, Katsute 100 serves delicate cakes, refreshing drinks, and a variety of Japanese teas. Chaiwalla rounds out the breakfast options with a desi breakfast that includes a choice of lentil or chickpea curry, spiced eggs, bread, and, of course, hot chai.

Coffee shops around Brick Lane

A selection of coffee and pastries
Mada Mada is yummy yummy. Image: Mada Mada

Artisan Coffee, just moments from Brick Lane, uses Nude espresso beans for top-notch black, milk, or filter brews, while the Brick Lane Coffee Shop is a go-to for a quick caffeine fix in a quirky setting.

OAT Coffee stands out with its artistic interior, offering friendly service and Ayce! 3D-designed ice creams, which come in a range of cool shapes and sizes. Kahaila, with its mix of exposed wood and brick, has a cosier vibe for a relaxing coffee and cake break.

For coffee enthusiasts, High Grade Coffee in the Old Truman Brewery Courtyard is known for its quality beans and knowledgeable baristas, and people flock to Frankie goes East (open on Sundays) for owners Dan and Joel's velvety cappuccinos and amazing homemade matcha, chocolate and macadamia cookies.

Mada Mada, the family run van-turned-cafe at The Tea Rooms in The Truman Markets serves up some of the best homemade pastries in London. Owner and patissier Theodore incorporates their signature praline into many of their goods, which are made in-house. Come here for traditional French chouquettes, praliné madeleines, scones and brownies — and don't forget to pick up a jar of the famous praline on the way out.

Crosstown specialises in crafted doughnuts (the one with Tongan vanilla bean glaze is a highlight). For bubble tea lovers, Brick Lane Bubble Tea is known for its indulgent dark chocolate chai with tiramisu foam and brown sugar syrup.

Where to get lunch around Brick Lane

A kimchi pasta dish
Italian and Korean cuisine combine their powers at Vegan Yes. Image: Vegan Yes

For a midday meal, The Sushi Bar on Osborn Street (the southern continuation of Brick Lane) and Yuriko further up, serve concise menus of sushi and noodle dishes, perfect for a quick and satisfying lunch.

For Thai and Japanese fusion, try Rickshaw or Enso Lounge. Handmade buns, soup dumplings and noodle soups are what to get at So Buns.

Morley's brings a taste of south London to the east for fans of spicy wings and fried chicken (although let's be honest, it helps if you'd had a brew or two beforehand).

Vegan Yes stands out for its unique blend of Italian and Korean vegan cuisine, offering dishes like kimchi pasta and wakame salad. Indegno is the place for Italian street food lovers; their mammoth crescentinas, fried flatbreads — stuffed with everything from mortadella to meatballs — and crispy tortellini are social media darlings.

What the Pitta has a creative plant-based take on the classic British kebab, making it a hit among both vegans and non-vegans.

Pittas stuffed with meat and chips
It'd be a pitta not to try one of these. Image: What's the Pitta

For a true Brick Lane experience, Beigel Bake and neighbouring The Beigel Shop's [NB: this one is currently closed] 24-hour beigel service is unmatched, offering freshly baked beigels stuffed to the brim with a variety of fillings (though the salt beef and smoked salmon and cream cheese options reign supreme among non-veggie Londoners).

Off of Dray Walk, The Orange Buffalo serves up New York-style flaming orange buffalo wings from an equally nuclear-looking truck. Bayani's serves up Filipino Mexican fusion chicken and burritos and Mikos Gyros has Greek pita wraps or boxes of meat, sauces, tomatoes, red onions and oregano chips.

People blurred rushing past the restaurant
Indegno may be social media darlings, but their food tastes as good as it looks. Image: Indegno
Gooey ribs
Ribs tickle your fancy? Image: The Rib Man

The weekend markets along Brick Lane, including the Sunday Upmarket and Backyard Market at the Old Truman Brewery, feature an array of food stalls taking adventurous diners on a tour around the world. Highlights include The Rib Man's smoky BBQ fare and Tibet Kitchen's mouthwatering momo, while hearty pelmeni and hefty meatballs are lovingly served at Lithuanian Dishes and Cakes.

There are plenty of plant-based options at Ethiopiques, which has a huge selection of salads and hot dishes served alongside (and inside of) injera. Tasty Temptations is the ultimate go-to for vegan Senegalese food, while Planet Falafel serves Middle Eastern-inspired bowls and boxes.

Where to eat dinner around Brick Lane

A pretty French themed eatery
Ohh la la! Image: Chez Elles

As evening falls, Brick Lane transforms into an eclectic dinner destination. While its famous curry houses remain popular for their menus of Anglo-Indian comfort dishes with a Bangladeshi twist, there are also diverse offerings beyond this little stretch of the road.

On the corner of Whitechapel High Street and Osborn Street, Efes delivers Turkish kebabs and mezze platters that are perfect for sharing. Crave's Chicago and New York style pizzas satisfy cravings from across the pond. The signature Detroit Style pizza boasts a chewy, cheesy crust with innovative toppings and fun names; try the Chick' Mango, with mango habanero chicken, pineapple and mango sauce.

A very cheesy pizza
Cheese Louise... Image: Crave
Aubergine rolls
Georgian food is the name of the game at Aba-ra! Image: Aba-ra!

Chez Elles brings a slice of Parisian ambience to Brick Lane, with its soft lighting and meticulously prepared bistro-style menu featuring the likes of steak tartare and frog legs.

Aba-ra! specialises in Georgian adjaruli, a boat-like leavened bread stuffed with cheese and oozing with melted butter and runny eggs. The hot and bubbling khachapuri and various traditional stews, folded into the fluffy dough, comprises a menu rich with delicious alternative fillings.

La Cucina provides a homestyle Italian dining experience, serving up homestyle dishes in a warm and welcoming setting.

A plate of food with grains
Do it for the Graam. Image: Graam Bangla

Sylheti and other regional Bangladeshi specialities can be found in a trio of neighbouring restaurants; Amargoan, Graam Bangla, and Cafe Grill's offerings involve mounds of rice brought to life by rich, aromatic curries featuring river fish, keski, rohu mas, and dried fish chutney. Meanwhile, on Hanbury Street, DF Tacos serves up Mexican-inspired tacos, burritos and bowls and Sichuan Folk specialises in lip-tingling dishes, rich with chillies and Sichuan peppercorns.

At Dosa World, further down, South Indian specialties like dosas and idly can be enjoyed alongside regional specialities like karaikal lamb, a slow-cooked curry with coconut milk and spices.

Various thali dishes and rice
Tasty thali awaits at Armagaon. Image: Armagaon

Exploring further up the road, Red Brick House offers an extensive Pan-Chinese menu, while Lucky Dog is renowned for its Chinese BBQ, especially the lamb and chicken skewers. The spicy clams are also recommended.

At Yun Gui Chuan Rice Noodle 雲貴川米線, find Hong Kong-style rice noodles in a sour and spicy broth, alongside a variety of toppings including minced pork, fish balls flavoured with tangerine and shredded chicken.

On the other end of Brick Lane, YUN Cross Bridge Rice Noodles 云过桥米线 is a tender love letter to the flavours of China's Yunnan province. The restaurant's pastel-perfect tones reflect a menu which pays homage to Yunnan's rich tradition of using fresh herbs, raw preparations, ferments, and souring agents.

A plate of spicy clams
Wham bam, thank you clam. Image: Lucky Dog

Here is the place to try the region's most famous dish, Guòqiáo Mǐxiàn (Cross the Bridge Noodles) which comes as a translucent, flavourful broth, embellished with goji berries and chrysanthemum petals, alongside raw vegetables, shredded chicken, pork, quail eggs and fried prawns — allowing each ingredient to be heated separately. There's also Damascus Bite, whose mixed grills and Syrian-style shawarma, with grilled chicken, pickles, and garlic sauce have gained a loyal following.

Pubs, bars and gastropubs around Brick Lane

People standing outside the pub, drinking
The perfect old school pub hides just off Brick Lane. Image: Pride of Spitalfields

For post-dinner drinks or a night out, Brick Lane's bars and clubs offer something for everyone. Kill the Cat is a minimalist craft beer shop and bar, kind of like the Apple Store of beer, where the knowledgeable staff help you choose from an extensive selection of bottles and cans. The Culpeper Family Hospitality Group operates several establishments in the area, including The Buxton, on Osborne Street, just before Brick Lane, which features a rooftop garden and a focus on sustainable practices.

Brick Lane Tap Room is an industrial-chic setting with outdoor seating and live performances, making it a popular spot for both locals and visitors. Pride of Spitalfields is a gem of a backstreet boozer with a friendly atmosphere, warm staff and a selection of ales and classic pub snacks. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

For those looking for music and dancing, live jazz can usually be found at Ninety One Living Room. 93 Feet East and Juju's Bar and Stage provide a vibrant backdrop with diverse music nights (sometimes free) and innovative cocktails, while Cafe 1001 blends a café atmosphere with nightlife, featuring DJs and live acts in a bohemian industrial setting — perfect for ending the night on a high note.

Last Updated 27 March 2024

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