East London Hip
North of the river Thames, you can find seven London Boroughs that make up East London: Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Havering and Hackney. We especially love the artistic vibe summed up best by the eclectic street art which adorns many of the east end neighbourhoods, the melting pot of cultures and the strong sense of community that grasps you, whether you are a newcomer or have been around for the long haul.
Hackney has the historical Broadway Market that is home to market traders since the 1890's. The psychedelic tastes and sights guarantee a day of outings, with shopping for clothes and street food keeping you in custody for hours. Expect to find independent boutiques, restaurants, cafes and outdoor stalls offering amazing authentic street food. Stuffed in an East End petite street between the Regent's Canal and London Fields, you can pop by The Street & Schoolyard Markets open from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays.
Chatsworth neighbourhood is on the frontline of Hackney's gentrification, with new road sprout delis and cafes emerging on the streets every other day. If around the area, do hit the 2015 inaugurated restaurant, Hurwundeki, in Cambridge Heath, a Korean diner with an adjoined hairdresser. Get your hair cut for as little as £9, grab a bibimbap dish for £7 and tell everyone what a great haircut and food you experienced within a space of 30 minutes!
We highly recommend eating out at Rudie's in 50 Stoke Newington Road for your fix of Jamaican jerk chicken, goat curry and fiery rum punch! If you crave raw mullet, rhubarb or radicchio then Ellory by Chef Matthew Young at Netil House, 1 Westgate St., E8 3RL is the place to be at.
Everyone loves a good burger, and to be safe, Lucky Chip isn't exactly your average burger joint. Almost hidden behind the stalls of a street market, you can find this place that has an adorning wine list. Please shoot for the best and order a Royale Wit Cheese and pay an extra £3 to upgrade to the flavourful 40-day dry-aged Galician beef, with its deep, smoky flavour.
Bricklane is perhaps the most visited, cool spot in London right now. Urban Outfitters has spoilt the masses, and high street labels can now be easily found in the East London area with an addition to local brands. Both Bricklane and Old Spitalfields markets are jam packed with independent designers selling jewelry and accessories and especially in the Old Spitalfields market, you can find a dozen furniture and interior design shops such is the case of Anthropologie. Not to forget that both hot spots have many vintage shops to suit all pockets.
In Bricklane you can find people queuing at the popular Beigel Bake bakery (24hrs). Have breakfast at the vibrant food market around the old Truman Brewery, indulge in our fave Chez Elles restaurant for lunch, have an authentic Mexican dinner at DF/Mexico Diner, and drink coffee at Casa Blue Cafe and Coffee @ Brick Lane, 154 and 157 Brick Lane. Coffee @ Brick Lane uses a dark roast 100% Arabica coffee from Papua New Guinea, grown on a small plantation in the highlands (along with the majority of Arabica coffee in PNG). Below in pictures, you can spot the famous graffiti on Handbury Street. This political artwork promotes Papua New Guinea and for the people in West Papua that are fighting for independence.
Shoreditch is a bustling community that packs a dozen forms of entertainment. Take for instance the famous Hoxton Hotel, recognised for being one of the coolest stay-overs in London city. Not only is the demand to stay overwhelming, there are various reasons to want to hang out in the hotel. There are exhibitions in their art gallery space, interactive seminars from industry experts, a boutique with fresh products on display, and they have a sophisticated coffee shop called Bulldog Edition.
Everyone who loves Spitalfields knows about our favourite brekkie joint, The Breakfast Club. It is actually easy to miss if you don't follow the road map properly as it is tucked away on a side street opposite Liverpool Street Station. We had a fulfilling breakfast with eggs, toasts, sausages, pancakes, freshly squeezed juices and ended up not eating for the next 10 hours of the day! Super exciting is the secretive (not so much anymore) The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, which to get in you must tell the waiter at The Breakfast Club 'I am here to see the mayor'. This is a brilliant lounge/bar, that is beneath The Breakfast Club and they take you through a fridge and then a secret passage, before ending up in this cool place having a drink among friends. If you happen to Shoreditch High Street Station, do head to 64-66 Redchurch Street and have a bite at Barber & Parlour, or head closer to the market and try Rosa's Thai Cafe for that exclusive green curry and spring rolls.
Ace hotels have successfully exported their American-hipster formula to London in the form of Ace Hotel, Shoreditch. The details of this hotel will satisfy any guest with customised A.P.C quilts on the beds, Rudy’s Barbershop bath products in the en-suites, locally sourced modern art on the walls, and bikes from Tokyo Bike available to hire at the front desk. It is a fantastic food and drinks spot, with fresh, healthy juices and snacks in the day time and comfort-food and sweet nibbles in the evening.
On another day you must visit the area of Dalston, it is an urban oasis, with a bit of grittiness. Dalston Roof Park reopens in the summer season, this garden with hanging baskets and creepers has a rejoicing food scene, booze and entertainment. The food vendor is great, with Middle Eastern BBQ from Tom Tom's Feast and DJs will have you dancing from 3pm to 12am. You can find this place at 18 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL.
Housed within a recycled wood art installation, LN-CC is not a fashion shop but a “progressive, innovative and conscious retail concept”. Be sure to make an appointment and then find its unmarked entrance on an alleyway in Dalston. Close to Kingsland Basin on Regent's Canal, you can find The Proud Archivist. This is a gallery, bar, restaurant, event space, look out joint and cafe all in one. Be sure to book if you want to go in a group.
The Stoke Newington neighbourhood has a high density of coffee shops. It is a mellowed out area, with a laid-back crowd of grown creative people, affordable rent and a nice quality of life. The neighbourhood has cool new shops and restaurants that have opened in recent years. For vintage shoppers, The Mint and Beyond Retro are fantastic options for shopping. Beyond Retro doubles as a coffee shop and has a great line of second-hand clothing.
East London is packed with loads of places and things to do. As London is such a huge city, it is best to get to know the neighbourhoods at a slow pace.