£30 - £49
250 Paradise Row, London, E2 9LE
This wine-centric spot is just as cool as its trend-setting wine bar sister, Sager + Wilde on Hackney Road. Positioned just round the corner from Bethnal Green station, it’s joined by several other restaurants (including Arepa & Co) which all share a long dining terrace, making for a secluded, foodie community.
From the kitchen, you can expect a seasonally changing menu of on-trend European dishes, which are beautifully presented, and largely lean towards comfort food territory. On our dinnertime visit, we enjoyed a plate of sweet kohlrabi studded with fleshy crab, creating a bundle of sweetness, while silky ribbons of pappardelle matched with stomach-warming chunks of venison, is a perfect example of the ways in which Sager’s menu adapts with the seasons.
Expertly matched fine wines by the glass and bottle abound, naturally, with a separate, single bottle list adding extra interest and a strong selection of botanical cocktails inviting experimentation. Pricing angles this towards the middle of the market, while a classic interior of dark wooden chairs and gentle lighting reinforce this as a mature option for clued-up Londoners.
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129A Prichard's Road, London, E2 9AP
This bright and airy new venture from the family-owned restaurant group that oversees El Ganso and Gallipoli fits right in with Broadway Market’s hip crowd, with its on-trend offering of Mediterranean and Levantine small plates. Tuyo excels at serving dishes with subtle but effective twists. Take the unassuming falafel balls, coated in sesame seeds and dipped in a gooey black olive and piquillo tapenade; the beautifully presented duck breast on a bed of bulgur wheat, with a smooth nutmeg carrot purée dotted around the plate; and the tender octopus atop a mound of hummus and fragrant cumin yoghurt. More conventional small plates include grilled prawn and Padrón pepper skewers, and a mini-burger with piquillo ketchup, onion, tzatziki and manchego, while for pudding the banana and pecan cake soaked in coffee syrup and topped with mascarpone is an indulgent triumph. From the list of fun cocktails, we enjoyed the Passion Fruit Martini; staff are happy to suggest sips based on your preferences. On-trend, relaxed and affordable, Tuyo is a welcome addition to this gentrified neighbourhood.
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£30 - £49
One michelin star
254 Hackney Road, London, E2 7SJ
This stylish born-again boozer is a co-creation from chefs Tom Harris (ex-St John) and Jon Rotheram (ex-Fifteen). They've gone with tradition on the ground floor, refurbishing the bar, but upstairs you'll find a highly original dining room with a woven ceiling and zany lino floor in primary colours. One menu is served throughout, with signatures such as kid goat curry, beef and barley bun or honey and brown butter tart alongside less attention-grabbing (but delicious) items including cod with leeks and brown crab or Tamworth pork with hispi cabbage and mustard. To drink, pick an Old World wine or join the locals for a pint of Meantime Yakima Red. Handy for Columbia Road flower market on Sundays, when the pub serves brunch and roast lunches.
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£30 - £49
Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, E2 9NF
Punters descend on the Town Hall Hotel's bijou and "very hip" Corner Room for two things: to have their picture taken against the now-famous 'light wall' (where a row of mismatched lamps hang artistically from the ceiling), and to try some of the most artfully assembled small plates in the East End. Head chef John Christie is experimental with his use of seasonal produce and the results are always surprising: in one instance, crispy rice and tapioca provide the textured counterpoint to smooth, iron-rich duck heart and salty shellfish mayo (a new twist on surf and turf perhaps). Similar themes are at work in the lamb's neck fillet with swede and mussel emulsion, while pork tenderloin with smoked apple and purple sprouting broccoli is reassuringly traditional and exceptionally well executed. Overall, it's "amazing value for money", especially the three-course lunch (£23).
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£30 - £49
49 Columbia Road, E2 7RG
A "good concept" and a convivial proposition, this light and airy eatery serves up a daily-changing menu of small plates in a modern industrial setting. Rustic, peasant-style food with a French accent is the deal, complete with smooth terrines, hunks of bread and a wonderful selection of cheese and charcuterie (as you'd expect from the team behind Terroirs and Soif).
On your visit, you might find the likes of a creamy crab tagliolini, or perhaps pork chop, with chickpeas and courgettes. On a Sunday, go continental chic by dropping in for the fairly priced three-course lunch – plus a small supplement for cheese that we'd certainly advise you take.
More about Brawn