British, Modern European·
Bronze Award

SquareMeal Review of Maene

Bronze Award

Modern European bistro Maene is the latest venture from Nick Gilkinson, the talented restaurateur behind Whitechapel favourite Townsend. It’s moved into the top floor of a four-storey Victorian clothing factory which, once you’ve located its discreet whereabouts, is a light, airy and deeply attractive space.

High ceilings, soaring windows and sharp cobalt blue tones pivot seamlessly around soft cream walls and pale wooden floors. Above, a profusion of exposed light bulbs hangs from the ceiling, like a modern day interpretation of twinkling stars. Nick is also there on the night, donning an electric blue cardigan in keeping with those piercing cobalt sofas.

The menu is spearheaded by head chef Amber Francis and offers an inventive pool of modern European dishes made with the finest British ingredients. It also overtly advertises its commitment to provenance and seasonality. If this were a game of good cop, bad cop, the menu would definitely be the former.

There’s spongy sourdough sourced from a bakery just down the road, with caramel-like whipped brown butter, and hot, fried batons of gnocco fritto designed to be plunged into an oozing stracciatella and sun-dried tomato dip. A very nice, vinegary tomato tart is encased in the sort of paper-thin shell most pastry chefs dream about. While the skin on a fillet of pollock is crisped to such a degree that it mimics crackling. Certain things feel a little too virtuous at times, like allotment vegetables served with an earthy sunflower seed ‘tahini’.

It's cool that the cocktail list offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of each drink, with ingredients like sea buckthorn, potato skin and spirulina giving new lease to surplus kitchen waste. A twist on a Margarita, with sea buckthorn, tequila and agave, is smoky and zingy in all the right places, yet confusingly the colour of clementines. We love it.

Maene is everything a restaurant should be in 2023: conscientious, gorgeous and not afraid to try new things.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
British, Modern European
Cool, Lively, Romantic
Food Occasions
Brunch, Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Great views, Rooftop, Terrace
Special Features
Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Celebrations, Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions


Sitting proudly atop a four storey Victorian clothing factory in Spitalfields, Maene is a modern European restaurant founded by Nick Gilkinson - the former Anglo and Neo Bistro general manager and current manager of the excellent Townsend in Whitechapel. Like Townsend, Maene offers a menu full of relaxed, modern European bistro style food, made using quality local British ingredients.

The restaurant boasts a 54-cover dining room, as well as a glorious 50-cover terrace that will no doubt be extremely popular in the summer. The restaurant itself is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, providing Spitalfields with an all-day eatery. There is also a large, 18-seater sharing table, a 25-seater semi-private lounge, and a cocktail bar. The restaurant has been designed by Fare Inc, who have also done excellent work at the likes of Akub and Kolamba.

Those who have visited Townsend will have an idea of what to expect on the food front - Maene’s menus are hyper-seasonal, featuring British produce when it’s at its very best. Dishes include Mersea oysters with pickled jalapeno and sorrel, fritto misto with smoked chilli aioli, cheeses from La Latteria, Springfield farm chicken with rosemary, garlic and burnt lemon and green goddess sauce, and puddings such as a Sgroppino pear sorbet with English sparkling wine and elderflower.

In the cocktail bar, you’ll find Maene mixologists whipping up some unique house mixes including a sea buckthorn margarita and a fig leaf gimlet, as well as a solid selection of other drinks and non-alcoholic options.

In case you’re wondering, Maene is an old English word that roughly translates as ‘a sense of community’ - hopefully Maene will be part of the East London community for some time to come.


Where is the restaurant?

The restaurant is located on Fashion Street on the top floor of a four-storey warehouse.

Helpful? 0

Maene is featured in


7-9 Fashion Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6PX

020 3011 1081 020 3011 1081


Opening Times

Mon 18:00-21:30
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri Closed
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
All day
Mon Closed
Tue 08:30-21:30
Wed 08:30-21:30
Thu 08:30-21:30
Fri 08:30-21:30
Sat 10:00-21:30
Sun 10:00-16:15


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020 3011 1081 020 3011 1081

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