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Guidebook for London

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Guidebook for London

Sightseeing
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Ace Hotel London
100 Shoreditch High St
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Food Scene
This Whitechapel restaurant and bar focuses on pizza and cider. It's the first London branch from a chain with sites across the UK. The pizza selection is extensive, with options ranging from simple margheritas and Hawaiians to a 'roasted larry' (marinated lamb, mint, goat's cheese, thyme-roasted sweet potato, roasted red onions, tomato and mozzarella) and a 'hell's bells', with naga chillies - it should be pretty spicy. Pies, salads and ploughman's lunches also feature. And the cider? Expect more than 80 options - most of which come from the West Country.
The Whitechapel Stable
16-18 Whitechapel Rd
This Whitechapel restaurant and bar focuses on pizza and cider. It's the first London branch from a chain with sites across the UK. The pizza selection is extensive, with options ranging from simple margheritas and Hawaiians to a 'roasted larry' (marinated lamb, mint, goat's cheese, thyme-roasted sweet potato, roasted red onions, tomato and mozzarella) and a 'hell's bells', with naga chillies - it should be pretty spicy. Pies, salads and ploughman's lunches also feature. And the cider? Expect more than 80 options - most of which come from the West Country.
It might not look like much, but Lahore Kebab House is a place of pilgrimage for curry lovers. Queues snake out of the door at weekends, with diners travelling from afar to sample Punjabi-style tandoori grilled meat and generous portions of ghee-laden curry. Bargain prices, attentive service and a BYO policy add to the draw. Piles of sweet onion bhajia and heavily spiced lamb chops might start off a meal, before the choice velvety dals, boldly flavoured curries (many of them on the bone) and buttery nans. The house specials are worth ordering, especially the nihari and dry lamb curry, all served in utilitarian karahi bowls with minimal fuss. Decor is equally no-nonsense. Spartan and to the point, this place is all about the food. Sure, the big LCD screens blaring out IPL games or Bollywood movies are a little distracting, but the open kitchen provides most entertainment. There’s nothing better for whetting the appetite than watching an army of cooks kneading dough for the tandoor and flipping meats on the grill – unless it’s the mouth-watering aromas. Lahore is hard to beat for truly authentic, vivid flavours in a no-nonsense setting: more than worth having to queue.
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Lahore One London
218 Commercial Rd
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It might not look like much, but Lahore Kebab House is a place of pilgrimage for curry lovers. Queues snake out of the door at weekends, with diners travelling from afar to sample Punjabi-style tandoori grilled meat and generous portions of ghee-laden curry. Bargain prices, attentive service and a BYO policy add to the draw. Piles of sweet onion bhajia and heavily spiced lamb chops might start off a meal, before the choice velvety dals, boldly flavoured curries (many of them on the bone) and buttery nans. The house specials are worth ordering, especially the nihari and dry lamb curry, all served in utilitarian karahi bowls with minimal fuss. Decor is equally no-nonsense. Spartan and to the point, this place is all about the food. Sure, the big LCD screens blaring out IPL games or Bollywood movies are a little distracting, but the open kitchen provides most entertainment. There’s nothing better for whetting the appetite than watching an army of cooks kneading dough for the tandoor and flipping meats on the grill – unless it’s the mouth-watering aromas. Lahore is hard to beat for truly authentic, vivid flavours in a no-nonsense setting: more than worth having to queue.
In the great battle of the Whitechapel lamb chop – an unofficial war being waged between Needoo and its nearby neighbours Tayyabs and Lahore Kebab House – it’s hard to pick a winner. The sizzling plates of succulent lamb that you get here aren’t cooked to pink excellence like at Lahore, and aren’t as pungent as at Tayyabs, but they are spiced to absolute perfection. Opened in 2009 by a former Tayyabs manager, this squashed space doesn’t suffer from the same problem of endless queues (though you will usually have a wait), but it is just as gaudy. Bright red walls, leather benches and blaring flatscreen TVs are the order of the day, yet with curries this good, the decor just fades into the background. What you get are succulent karahi dishes and specials that include nihari (lamb on the bone) and a very passable biriani. Pakoras and other pre-prepared snacks can often be disappointingly stale, but service is swift and friendly, and it’s hard to argue with the appeal of BYOB and curries of such high standard.
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Needoo Grill
87 New Rd
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In the great battle of the Whitechapel lamb chop – an unofficial war being waged between Needoo and its nearby neighbours Tayyabs and Lahore Kebab House – it’s hard to pick a winner. The sizzling plates of succulent lamb that you get here aren’t cooked to pink excellence like at Lahore, and aren’t as pungent as at Tayyabs, but they are spiced to absolute perfection. Opened in 2009 by a former Tayyabs manager, this squashed space doesn’t suffer from the same problem of endless queues (though you will usually have a wait), but it is just as gaudy. Bright red walls, leather benches and blaring flatscreen TVs are the order of the day, yet with curries this good, the decor just fades into the background. What you get are succulent karahi dishes and specials that include nihari (lamb on the bone) and a very passable biriani. Pakoras and other pre-prepared snacks can often be disappointingly stale, but service is swift and friendly, and it’s hard to argue with the appeal of BYOB and curries of such high standard.
A minute's walk from Aldgate East tube, Love in a Cup is a tiny little coffee shop serving excellent coffee and delicious snacks. Among the more unusual coffee options are the 'genera' - a latte with the addition of fresh orange rind, and the 'primo' - an insanely strong (4 shot) latte for those who want their caffeine hit all in one go.
Love In A Cup Espresso Bar
15 Osborn St
A minute's walk from Aldgate East tube, Love in a Cup is a tiny little coffee shop serving excellent coffee and delicious snacks. Among the more unusual coffee options are the 'genera' - a latte with the addition of fresh orange rind, and the 'primo' - an insanely strong (4 shot) latte for those who want their caffeine hit all in one go.
Ideally located for a cheeky pudding after curry at Tayyabs, Dessert Island wouldn’t be a bad place to find yourself stranded. Vanilla bourbon and chocolate chilli are neat takes on classic cones, and the ice cream list stretches to the exotic (mango and lychee sorbets) and the decadent: Rocher ice cream is studded with actual Ferreros – ambassador, you are spoiling us. There are also sundaes, shakes, cakes, waffles and macaroons. Prices are decent, it’s open till midnight, and you can even borrow board games from behind the counter. It’s no wonder Dessert Island is popular with local families and students alike.
Dessert Island
99 Fieldgate St
Ideally located for a cheeky pudding after curry at Tayyabs, Dessert Island wouldn’t be a bad place to find yourself stranded. Vanilla bourbon and chocolate chilli are neat takes on classic cones, and the ice cream list stretches to the exotic (mango and lychee sorbets) and the decadent: Rocher ice cream is studded with actual Ferreros – ambassador, you are spoiling us. There are also sundaes, shakes, cakes, waffles and macaroons. Prices are decent, it’s open till midnight, and you can even borrow board games from behind the counter. It’s no wonder Dessert Island is popular with local families and students alike.
This small pub is beloved of east London sorts for its thrown-together decor (edgy artwork, memorabilia-crammed bar area) and late opening (until 3am at weekends), but it also does a popular range of 12-inch pizzas. There's also a solid range of craft beer, as well as weiss beer on tap. Keep an eye out for live music, too - with jazz nights particularly prevalent.
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Indo
133 Whitechapel Rd
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This small pub is beloved of east London sorts for its thrown-together decor (edgy artwork, memorabilia-crammed bar area) and late opening (until 3am at weekends), but it also does a popular range of 12-inch pizzas. There's also a solid range of craft beer, as well as weiss beer on tap. Keep an eye out for live music, too - with jazz nights particularly prevalent.
On a fine day you’ll spot customers at Zengi’s pavement tables puffing on shisha pipes and sending plumes of perfumed smoke up in the air. It helps mask the far less appealing smog from Commercial Street’s heavy traffic, the roar of which you can still hear inside the restaurant. On the informal ground floor, chefs are busy grilling meat over charcoal and pulling freshly baked flatbread from the pizza oven. For a quieter time, head to the basement to sit at intimate booths tucked under dimly lit alcoves. The menu is predominantly Iraqi, but features Turkish, Persian and Lebanese influences, bringing together the best dishes from each region. For a top meze selection, choose the fresh salads (a towering portion of zingy tabouleh was stuffed with parsley) and dips including a chunky houmous and smoky aubergine moutabal. Mains are consistently excellent: the Zengi mixed grill provides a taste of gently marinated chicken, melt-in-the-mouth lamb pieces and thick, lean köfte. Our khema (a dense stew of lentils and minced lamb) was authentic, and the turkish pizzas light, packed with meat and full of flavour. Every bit as tasty – and excellent value too – are the falafel and the grilled meat sandwiches.
Zengi
44 Commercial St
On a fine day you’ll spot customers at Zengi’s pavement tables puffing on shisha pipes and sending plumes of perfumed smoke up in the air. It helps mask the far less appealing smog from Commercial Street’s heavy traffic, the roar of which you can still hear inside the restaurant. On the informal ground floor, chefs are busy grilling meat over charcoal and pulling freshly baked flatbread from the pizza oven. For a quieter time, head to the basement to sit at intimate booths tucked under dimly lit alcoves. The menu is predominantly Iraqi, but features Turkish, Persian and Lebanese influences, bringing together the best dishes from each region. For a top meze selection, choose the fresh salads (a towering portion of zingy tabouleh was stuffed with parsley) and dips including a chunky houmous and smoky aubergine moutabal. Mains are consistently excellent: the Zengi mixed grill provides a taste of gently marinated chicken, melt-in-the-mouth lamb pieces and thick, lean köfte. Our khema (a dense stew of lentils and minced lamb) was authentic, and the turkish pizzas light, packed with meat and full of flavour. Every bit as tasty – and excellent value too – are the falafel and the grilled meat sandwiches.
The outer edges of the City keep going up in the world – literally, if developers win planning permission for a new row of skyscrapers on the old Bishopsgate Goodsyard. But just a short walk away down Brick Lane there’s still grime under the fingernails of Whitechapel. Crossrail is coming though, and some reckon this’ll be the next bit of the East End to smarten up its act. The team behind Grounded must have their fingers tightly crossed. On the ground floor of an ugly office building, next to a betting shop and a strip club and overlooking the rough sleepers in Altab Ali Park, Grounded is hardly what you’d call well situated. And yet it’s managed to turn a former wholesale clothes shop into a New York-style brunch spot. There are communal tables, bar stools and banquettes, wire racks full of deli items. Best of all, when we went at least, there was no background music. It’s a very nice place to be. Sadly, the dishes didn’t quite live up to the aspiration of the interior. Poached eggs, sourdough toast and crushed chilli avocado came (in this order) overdone, over-tough and tasteless. Mushrooms on toast were only slightly better, though matters were redeemed a fair bit by the buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries and crème fraîche. Service could do with a rethink too: you have to order at the counter, but that isn’t made clear (the next table waited a good five minutes before being told by the waitress). Even then, things are slow. Our coffee had gone cold before the eggs arrived. Style over substance? For now, yes – but the coffee’s good, and you’d have to walk a long way to find another café interior like this. We’ll give Grounded the benefit of the doubt, but if Whitechapel does start losing its edge then this little independent will face stiff competition from the big boys of brunchtime.
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Grounded
9 Whitechapel Rd
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The outer edges of the City keep going up in the world – literally, if developers win planning permission for a new row of skyscrapers on the old Bishopsgate Goodsyard. But just a short walk away down Brick Lane there’s still grime under the fingernails of Whitechapel. Crossrail is coming though, and some reckon this’ll be the next bit of the East End to smarten up its act. The team behind Grounded must have their fingers tightly crossed. On the ground floor of an ugly office building, next to a betting shop and a strip club and overlooking the rough sleepers in Altab Ali Park, Grounded is hardly what you’d call well situated. And yet it’s managed to turn a former wholesale clothes shop into a New York-style brunch spot. There are communal tables, bar stools and banquettes, wire racks full of deli items. Best of all, when we went at least, there was no background music. It’s a very nice place to be. Sadly, the dishes didn’t quite live up to the aspiration of the interior. Poached eggs, sourdough toast and crushed chilli avocado came (in this order) overdone, over-tough and tasteless. Mushrooms on toast were only slightly better, though matters were redeemed a fair bit by the buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries and crème fraîche. Service could do with a rethink too: you have to order at the counter, but that isn’t made clear (the next table waited a good five minutes before being told by the waitress). Even then, things are slow. Our coffee had gone cold before the eggs arrived. Style over substance? For now, yes – but the coffee’s good, and you’d have to walk a long way to find another café interior like this. We’ll give Grounded the benefit of the doubt, but if Whitechapel does start losing its edge then this little independent will face stiff competition from the big boys of brunchtime.
Drinks & Nightlife
Every once in a while we all pine for a patch of greenery in London. That's probably why punters seem so taken with this little hideaway of a garden on the rooftop of Culpeper pub on Commercial Street. This roof space, just a stone's throw from the City's skyscrapers, is used to grow veggies and herbs that feature on the gastro pub's modern menu, so it's double the gherkin up here. There are a few rustic tables parked between climbing vines, or benches to perch on beside planters flourishing with herbaceous life, but in truth, seating is scant, making this a very desirable spot for some peas and quiet. As a result, drifters hover around the entrance to the fourth-floor terrace hoping to snap up a seat – you're best advised to book ahead for sunset snacks and supping. It’s worth the advance thought, as the dedicated cocktail bar sits under a glass atrium at the entrance and churns out unique beverages channeling the twee garden charm. Try a lemon-thyme ambrosia (£7.50), which isn’t as soft as it sounds thanks to brandy, calvados and prosecco all in the mix. A garden julep even samples a herb of the day added to lemon and bourbon. Also perched by the entrance is a wood-fired grill barbecuing delicious meats and sides for a well-rounded meal or the likes of Merguez sausages (£4) and Piedmontese peppers (£4) for a lighter bite. Food up here is just as good as on the gastropub’s restaurant floor, but a word of warning: you may be in for a smoky old time if the wind’s blowing in the wrong direction
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The Culpeper
40 Commercial St
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Every once in a while we all pine for a patch of greenery in London. That's probably why punters seem so taken with this little hideaway of a garden on the rooftop of Culpeper pub on Commercial Street. This roof space, just a stone's throw from the City's skyscrapers, is used to grow veggies and herbs that feature on the gastro pub's modern menu, so it's double the gherkin up here. There are a few rustic tables parked between climbing vines, or benches to perch on beside planters flourishing with herbaceous life, but in truth, seating is scant, making this a very desirable spot for some peas and quiet. As a result, drifters hover around the entrance to the fourth-floor terrace hoping to snap up a seat – you're best advised to book ahead for sunset snacks and supping. It’s worth the advance thought, as the dedicated cocktail bar sits under a glass atrium at the entrance and churns out unique beverages channeling the twee garden charm. Try a lemon-thyme ambrosia (£7.50), which isn’t as soft as it sounds thanks to brandy, calvados and prosecco all in the mix. A garden julep even samples a herb of the day added to lemon and bourbon. Also perched by the entrance is a wood-fired grill barbecuing delicious meats and sides for a well-rounded meal or the likes of Merguez sausages (£4) and Piedmontese peppers (£4) for a lighter bite. Food up here is just as good as on the gastropub’s restaurant floor, but a word of warning: you may be in for a smoky old time if the wind’s blowing in the wrong direction
This slick little bar at the Aldgate end of Brick Lane hosts club nights, live acoustic music, comedy, film screenings and variety events. There's a cute little garden area too, though it can get busy come summertime. It's mostly about the cocktails here. Options range from an eponymous house number (made from Russian Standard Platinum vodka, lemongrass, cloudy apple, garama masala caramel and Angostura bitters) to their take on a bloody mary - here called a 'bloody marley'. It's got a jerk kick, from Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae sauce. There's a short wine list too, as well as Blue Moon, Hoxton Stout, Bethnal Pale Ale, Brick Lane Lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale catering to the beer hounds.
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Apples & Pears Bar
26 Osborn St
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This slick little bar at the Aldgate end of Brick Lane hosts club nights, live acoustic music, comedy, film screenings and variety events. There's a cute little garden area too, though it can get busy come summertime. It's mostly about the cocktails here. Options range from an eponymous house number (made from Russian Standard Platinum vodka, lemongrass, cloudy apple, garama masala caramel and Angostura bitters) to their take on a bloody mary - here called a 'bloody marley'. It's got a jerk kick, from Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae sauce. There's a short wine list too, as well as Blue Moon, Hoxton Stout, Bethnal Pale Ale, Brick Lane Lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale catering to the beer hounds.
The George Tavern is thought to be one of the oldest pubs in London, with the current building dating back to the Georgian era. The historical feel has been meticulously preserved, making it a popular venue for photoshoots by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss and Nick Cave. Under the ownership of the current landlady, artist Pauline Forster, the George started to host live music in 2004 and played host to several of Factory Floor's early gigs. Current live music highlights include the regular Jupiter Club, hosted by Jem Finer of The Pogues.
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George Tavern
373 Commercial Rd
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The George Tavern is thought to be one of the oldest pubs in London, with the current building dating back to the Georgian era. The historical feel has been meticulously preserved, making it a popular venue for photoshoots by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss and Nick Cave. Under the ownership of the current landlady, artist Pauline Forster, the George started to host live music in 2004 and played host to several of Factory Floor's early gigs. Current live music highlights include the regular Jupiter Club, hosted by Jem Finer of The Pogues.
LHT Urban Bar..Whitechapel, London
176 Whitechapel Rd
The Castle
44 Commercial Rd
Arts & Culture
Cass Business School
106 Bunhill Row
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Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High St
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Shopping
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Idea Store
321 Whitechapel Rd
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