The Princess of Shoreditch

British, Gastropub·
££££
·
Gold Award
·

The Princess of Shoreditch
The Princess of Shoreditch
The Princess of Shoreditch
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SquareMeal Review of The Princess of Shoreditch

Gold Award

It’s not easy to stand out as a pub in East London. The competition is rife, with busy boozers sat on practically every corner, and hipster food joints popping up anywhere and everywhere they can. Gastro pubs particularly need a sprinkling of magic to make themselves a go-to spot. Luckily, the newly revamped Princess of Shoreditch, has exactly that, and more than just a sprinkling.

Having pressed the reset button during lockdown, the pub’s upstairs dining room, accessed via a spiral staircase in the corner of the main bar area, now serves a food menu focused around British provenance, courtesy of exciting new head chef Ruth Hansom. At the age of just 25, Hansom, has already been on a lot of people’s radars for a while thanks to an impressive few years culminating in reaching the Great British Menu final. However, on the evidence of our visit, it could be her food here at the Princess of Shoreditch that cements her as one the finest young chefs in London.

An array of dainty snacks arrive first looking almost too good to pop in our mouths; a crispy tube of light chicken liver parfait came dotted with a sour cherry gel, while a cylinder of goats cheese was wrapped in a thin layer of heritage beetroot and balanced with a gentle honey sweetness. Triumphant starters included a gloriously tender black pudding and walnut crumb-topped veal sweetbread sat in a smudge of spiced carrot puree, offset by the gentle bitterness of pickled plum slices. Seeing offal done this well almost makes you wonder why ever bother with the expensive cuts?

A main of mallard was perhaps our highlight though; cooked to utter perfection, the depth of gamey flavour in the meat was complemented wonderfully by the sweetness of the caramelised Roscoff onion, and lifted further by a prize sauce. There was no let up on desserts either, despite the approaching 10pm curfew (which, it must be said, was calmly negotiated by the fantastic staff) - an impressively risen greengage and almond soufflé proving to be a real showstopper.

Drinks-wise the cocktail list makes for intriguing reading, with a number of unusual house combinations on offer; we particularly loved the delicately balanced Scotch Violet which had just the right amount of violet liqueur to stand up against the peatiness of the Laphroig. Meanwhile, a fantastic and not overly long wine list sensibly avoids the current obsession with going all natural and provided lovely options to complement every dish.

What adds to the sheer delight of this new chapter for The Princess of Shoreditch, on top of Hansom’s food mastery and the awesome array of drinks, is its complete unpretentiousness; all the elements of a traditional pub are still at play here but have been elevated to dizzying heights. You’ll be hard pushed to find pub food both as special and reasonably priced as this elsewhere in London.

About The Princess of Shoreditch

Just a short amble from Old Street station, The Princess of Shoreditch is an 18th-century boozer that’s all about serving great quality food and drink, while maintaining a traditional feel. Based over two floors, the downstairs area offers a more relaxed ambience where East London locals can pop in for a drink or two, and enjoy the odd bar snack; while the upstairs dining room is more of formal vibe offering high-level restaurant quality food.

Illuminated in the evening by the glow of various lanterns, the pub has an appealing facade which is bound to lure plenty of passers by inside. The open plan ground floor space has plenty of tables  and a well-stocked bar at one end, and is linked to the second floor via a discreet spiral staircase in the corner. Once upstairs, the décor is slightly grander yet the space still has a bright an airy feel thanks to the eggshell colour scheme and a number of oversized bulbs hanging from above.

When it comes to food, the menu has been designed by head chef Ruth Hansom, who previously worked in kitchens including The Ritz, and the now closed Pomona’s in Notting Hill. Downstairs’ bar snacks menu includes tempting treats such as truffle popcorn and chicken date and peanut terrine, and can accompanied by a cocktail from the appealing list.

The dining room’s menu makes for more serious reading; dishes on offer include a venison haunch tartare, with mustard seed, fennel, and nasturtium for starters, and main courses such as hake served alongside pickled grapes and confit artichoke. Meanwhile desserts range from a fig leaf and Earl Grey trifle, to a set garden ginger custard with gooseberry, rhubarb and sorrel. This all comes accompanied by a varied wine list covering a number of different regions, as well as a selection of other alcoholic and soft drinks.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
British, Gastropub
Ambience
Cosy, Luxury, Romantic, Traditional
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

The Princess of Shoreditch is featured in

Location for The Princess of Shoreditch

76-78 Paul Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 4NE

020 7729 9270

Website

Opening Times

Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -10.30pm)

Reviews of The Princess of Shoreditch

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7 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Kim W

17 October 2012  
Great food, great service and good value for money. Will definitely visit again
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Jamie F

15 May 2011  
What a lovely place! Visited with friends from USA and they commented that the service was the best they've experienced in London! Food was also very good! The quality of the produce really came through with little mucking about from the chef! My starter of asparagus with breaded poached egg and fennel puree was sublime and main of sea bass on gazpacho really delicious. One of my American friends really wanted the fish and chips from the downstairs pub menu and that wasn't a problem for them at all – it looked amazing and apparently tasted so as well. Desserts were classics – creme brulee, sticky toffee pudding (wow!), chocolate fondant and all superb. Wine list touched pretty much all bases and we were very happy with the quality we got. The pub downstairs was extremely busy and the dining room full all night. The atmosphere was buzzy but fairly relaxed, helped by the great selection of music – jazz from the early 1900's I think. Pub and dining room both look lovely and the ladies were nice too although you have to negotiate the spiral staircase to the pub to get there…
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Laura I

30 August 2010  
Visited with a companion recently with completely the wrong idea of what this place is! For some reason I had it in my head it was going to be very plush when in fact it's a thoroughly decent (almost down-to-earth) gastropub with very good food and possibly the best service I've experienced in a pub! In fact, the service we received puts many fine dining restaurants to shame! Good all round wine list, well priced but possibly a bit heavy on the French country wine? I know it goes very well with rustic cooking so maybe it's me being fussy! Don't let this detract from a very good experience though! A very slick operation and one that I am sure will be there for some time!
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PAUL D

21 August 2010  
I ate with two friends in the dining room after reading the reviews below and those from Time Out. We all had a lovely evening and The Princess is now very much on our ‘places to visit again list’. The dining room is a well decorated and cosy room with very interesting 'Princess's of old' artwork. The tables and chairs are comfortable with plenty of space for glassware and side plates. The feel of the place was very much ‘polished rustic’. We went on a Tuesday evening and it was full. The pub downstairs was jam packed when we arrived and it had a very bustly atmosphere. Not sure if I'd enjoy eating in that environment but plenty of people were… Up in the dining room the service was warm, friendly and very efficient. The style was quite relaxed but we never wanted for anything the whole evening. The food was every bit as good as the reviews say. We were all very pleased with our choices and there wasn't a duff dish among our choices although I suspect this is the reason why the menu is the length it is – 6 starters, 7 mains and 5 desserts. Good, reasonably priced, wine list and very impressed with their selection of whiskies and brandies. Would definitely recommend.
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Stacy H

05 July 2010  
Had a lovely evening here recently with a group of four old school friends. We had a nice bottle of Picpoul de Pinet (about £23 if my memory serves me correctly) in the downstairs bar before heading up the dreaded spiral staircase for dinner! The food and service were both second to none and all of us left feeling very satisfied indeed. The decor is very nice and the atmosphere bustling downstairs and a bit more relaxed upstairs. They seem to have removed the table clothes (as viewed in some pictures) and now have old rustic tables instead but the room was charming nonetheless and felt very cosy. Our waitress was charming and helpful and gave good recommendations for both food and wine. Highlights were the ham hock and pea shoot salad, rabbit terrine and carpaccio with horseradish mousse for starters. All very good indeed! For mains the scallops were sensational! Plump and perfectly cooked with just the right amount of caramelisation and served with a pea purree, pea shoots and broad beens. I was very impressed indeed! To finish off the desserts were OMG good! All in all, a very enjoyable evening and five new fans!
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Emyr T

06 May 2010  
The Princess has established itself as a top dining experience in Shoreditch, combining a gastropub, serving classic pub dishes, in the downstairs bar area, with more of a fine dining experience in the upstairs dining room. Book ahead for the fine dining, or turn up early for the walk in downstairs. The Princess has a lengthy wine list, with many by the glass and carafe options.
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Daniel E

25 February 2010  
This is a nice place on the edge of Shoreditch. Serve was very good and the steak I had was done to perfection. Go for dinner, upstairs for fancy and downstairs for more chilled. Then go onto the Hoxton hotel for drinks, they serve till very late!
Food & Drink
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