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We are, to be honest, a pair of numpties*. When booking a recent trip to London we totally overlooked the fact it was marathon weekend so had a bit of a grumble when we had to stay in Shoreditch because everywhere else was oddly expensive.
I admit I was ready not to like it; it’s reputation as a hipster haven made me twitch. But we left two nights later already planning to stay there on our next trip to the smoke. Why? The food of course!
Night one was a Friday and we headed to Box Park– a retail/ food ‘mall’ constructed from shipping containers. Upstairs were loads of little food outlets to chose from with communal outdoor seating. We picked one selling Thai and Lao food. Two generous curries- one Thai red and one cashew nut- cost just £7 each with noodles and rice, and were washed down with a Lao beer and lots of laughing at the chaps sat next to us as they tried to fathom their burger order.
Later that night we enjoyed beer (him) and cocktails (me) in The Shoreditch bar amongst others- but this one stood out because it had the best sign on the street (made from large sequins), banging 90s soundtrack and excellent cocktails! Really excellent cocktails!
Saturday morning, and I realised that even two cocktails and a couple of G&Ts could be the ruin of me. We headed over to Dishoom for their famous bacon naan. This is up there in my top five bacon butties- fresh naan smothered with chilli jam and cream cheese with some nice (but not quite crispy enough) bacon nestled in the middle. It was also less than four quid if memory serves me correctly which seems unreal given that we were in London. Served in the eccentric surrounds of the veranda and washed down with a milky sweet chai, I was soon back in the room and ready for the day!
This was just what I needed to set me up for a morning at the British Museum. Now the great thing about hubby and I is that we always do each other’s ‘thing’. So I went to see a million bits of Viking jewellery and coins and in return he came to Bea’s of Bloomsbury for afternoon tea. I know I am outside of the Shoreditch boundaries here but it had to be included.
Now feast your eyes on this. We each got a full size cupcake (the chocolate one deserves special mention for converting this cupcake sceptic), scone with jam and cream, three brownies, an Easter marshmallow and a meringue. Oh and savoury rolls! It defeated us- we had to take some home for later.
After a welcome walk back to Shoreditch and a mammoth disco nap we were back on course for yet more eating. The previous night we’d spied two street food areas next to each other so we already knew what we wanted! Yala Yala is the popup sister of a London restaurant and sells Lebanese food and it a very well organised joint. I had a spicy Lebanese sausage wrap with some mint lemonade. Hubs had a chicken wrap. Both delicious- I only wish is more room to try their hummus and baba ganoush. Other traders were selling burritos. dogs and BBQ, and literally two doors down was Urban Food Fest with about a dozen other traders plus live music and beer, so there was an embarrassment of riches and it was all heaving with people even early doors.
Defeated by a day of indulgence I was in bed early that night, but we were up nice and early on the Sunday to try and get outbid London before the marathon madness kicked in.
Just down the road from our Travelodge was a cafe we’d looked through the window of ten times during our visit so decided to finally go in for breakfast. Salvation Jane’s had an unmistakable air of people chilling out after a heavy weekend. Much to Andrew’s surprise, when he ordered his usual Americano coffee, our server strongly suggested he go for a filter coffee instead. It turned out to be the best coffee of the holiday (we were tagging this on to four days in Hay-on-Wye so he had been away from his own coffee machine for a week) and even I had a sip and conceded it was nice (nb – I hate coffee).
Breakfasts were really top notch. These weren’t any old beans on toast, oh no, I had slow cooked beans with ham hock, sprinkled with feta on rye toast with a poached egg. I am sorry Heinz but pack your bags cos these are my new bean crush! Why am I not sprinkling everything with feta? Andrew’s bacon sarnie came on nice chewy sourdough with a pot of brilliant tomato chutney. A perfect end to the trip.
There’s so much more I wanted to eat and drink in Shoreditch but couldn’t find the time- cocktails in the dark, sexy bar at Dishoom, Peruvian food, pork cooked in a wood burner in a teeny tear-drop caravan, more cocktails, tea at the cat cafe. There’s nothing for it- I will have to return again soon.
* NB – I get extra numpty points for losing the pics I took on my phone. I think I may have been tipsy and deleted them!