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Even though it’s a good six years since I lived there, Shoreditch is still my favourite area of London. It’s not edgy anymore, it’s not particularly trendy (don’t you have to go to Putney to be trendy these days?), but I love it. I know the streets, the bars, the coffee shops, the people… it’s a vibrant and fun place and I just love to be there. In the last six months I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot more time in that area and now I’m working there too I thought it would be a great opportunity to tell you all about my favourite places. So without further ado, here it is; the best of Shoreditch:
Literally no bigger than my living room, Casita describes itself as ‘loosely latino, firmly friendly’. Whatever, they mix one of the best margaritas I’ve ever tasted. Therefore I love this place. Casita, 5A Ravey Street, London, EC2A 4QW
A great place to stay if you’re on a budget, The Hoxton’s bar is one of my favourite places to get a drink after work. Their cocktails are always pretty good (I have a Dirty or Espresso Martini) and the vibe is relaxed – though sometimes their waiting staff make me feel like I’m totally inconveniencing them by asking for service. It’s a great place to romantically while away a couple of hours either in the courtyard with a bottle of white (summer) or in front of the open fire with a bottle of red (winter). With someone else, I mean, not on your own. If you’re staying during the summer months check in as early as possible or request a room on the upper floors – the noise from the courtyard can get a bit disturbing. Find other alternative places to stay at Hotel Direct. The Hoxton, 81 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3HU
A few doors down from my old office on Leonard Street, The Griffin is a real sticky-floored old timers boozer with the added bonus of hipsters. They used to supply me with pint glass after pint glass of ice when pregnant with Elfie and going through an ice crunching craving. Not to be confused with The Griffin in Farringdon, which is a booby bar. The Griffin, 93 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4RD
Done to death blah blah blah… I know. But still a brilliant place (I always seem to bump into Nicola from Girls Aloud here, dahling, and once disco danced with Kate Moss on the 6th floor rooftop bar) to eat or drink. You won’t be able to get access unless you’re a member, are with a member, or are staying at the hotel (which is actually pretty reasonable and very lovely). Shoreditch House, Ebor Street, Shoreditch, London E1 6AW
Owned by the Soho House group (who also own the Hoxton’s restaurant, I love their food…), this is hands-down the best pizza you’ll get in Shoreditch. It gets v busy and rowdy but that’s part of the fun… try the burrata with pea and mint and just try not to devour it in 30 seconds. It’s incredible. Ditto the veal and cream pizza. Booking best here if you don’t want to sit at the bar. Pizza East, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ
So the burgers here really are great, but my favourite thing about this place are the Monkey Fingers. Super tender chicken pieces in an amazingly light batter covered in a hot sauce with a blue cheese dip. I have spent hours thinking about those bad boys… Meatmission, 15 Hoxton Market, London N1 6HG