Eating the Delicious East End

Over my three weeks in London, I finally settled upon my dream neighborhood- the East End. The East End is everything you’d want as a twenty-something; it’s packed with street art, cute cafés, lively bars and some of London’s trendiest restaurants.

The East End also has hundreds of years of history. For centuries it was synonymous with poverty and over-crowding, and Huguenot refugees, Irish weavers, Ashkenazi Jews and Bangladeshi immigrants have all called it home.

So when Eating London invited me on a food tour of the East End I was totally on board- as both a foodie and history buff how could I pass up the chance?

And if I haven’t already convinced you that London’s a foodie town, prepare yourself, dear reader.

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St. John Bread & Wine // Bacon Sandwich

Our first stop? St. John Bread and Wine. Featured on my favorite travel show ever, No Reservations, St. John is known for its nose-to-tail dining approach, which as an offal lover, I’m all for.

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This bacon sandwich was near perfect: thick, cut-with-a-spoon-tender slices of bacon slathered with a secret ketchup sauce and held together by grilled white bread. And what’s neat is that both the bread and bacon are baked and cured in house.

And while normally I prefer American-style bacon over English, this was the bacon sandwich to rule them all.

The English Restaurant // Bread and Butter Pudding

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What’s that you say? Who eats bread and butter pudding at 10 a.m.?

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Well at the English Restaurant, you can! Between the creme brûlée crust and the luscious crème anglaise sauce, I was literally sighing with happiness over my bread and butter pudding. And plus, the English Restaurant had the most cozily English atmosphere- I could’ve nursed a pint there all afternoon.

Androuet // Cheese Platter

To my delight our third stop was Androuet, a little French cheese shop! We tasted two of my favorite English cheeses, cheddar and stilton. And from the first mouthful of perfectly ripe cheese I was in fromage-ophile heaven.

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The young French owner explained that Androuet was started in Paris in 1909. I also learned that the owner and I are cheese twins; both of our favorite cheeses is Sainte-Maure de Touraine, an unpasteurized, full-fat aged goat’s cheese with a piece of straw through the middle.

 

Poppies // Fish and Chips

British readers, please skip this paragraph. But to my palate fish and chips is overkill- why pair fried with fried?

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But the fish at Poppies was light as fried cod can be, and was especially delicious when doused in vinegar. I also loved the throwback American diner interior and kind of wanted to play Elvis on the jukebox.

Pride of Spitalfields // Ale

Next it was time for drinks, so we headed to Pride of Spitalfields for an ale tasting.

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While I love beer, my inner hipster hates that I can’t get myself to love ale- it’s just too lukewarm and still! And although I sadly hadn’t been converted into an ale-drinker by the end of the visit, I’d definitely return to Pride of Spitalfields for its cozy, red-plush interior and dozens of beers on tap.

Aladin // Indian Curry

Would a tour of the East End be complete without stopping by Brick Lane? Probably not.

Brick Lane, also known as Curry Mile, is home to a large Bangladeshi community that immigrated to London in the 1970’s and 80’s.

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The chef served up three curries for our visit, and all were scrumptious- I especially loved the lamb curry. But by this point I was so stuffed even the tastiest curry could hardly entice me.

(But don’t worry, I made room. You think I’d let a lamb curry go to waste?)

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Street art by Stik on Brick Lane

Beigel Bake // Salt Beef Sandwich

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There was quite a line outside Beigel Bake, and from my first bite of this salt beef sandwich I could see why. The fatty, melt-in-your mouth meat paired with the yeasty bagel and dab of sharp yellow mustard made for a perfect fatty-acidic taste combination.

Pizza East // Salted Caramel Tart and Tea

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And the grand finale? Dessert at Pizza East! I fell in love with Pizza East for two reasons- first, the uber-chic, warehouse interior which oddly enough we weren’t allowed to photograph. And secondly, this salted caramel tart was possibly the best thing I had all day- decadent, chocolaty and topped with coarse sea salt.

My only regret- I wish I would’ve had room for pizza as the pies coming from the kitchen looked to die for!

Final remarks on the tour

As you may have guessed, I absolutely loved the Eating London food tour. I loved that the tour guide, Nicole, provided so many interesting facts about the East End’s history and culture- I was jotting down facts on my iPhone during the tour. And as I’ve mentioned, the food was bar-none.

And my favorite eat of the day? It’s a two-way tie between the bread and butter pudding and the salted caramel tart.

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After lunch I burned off a fraction of the calories I had just consumed by combing the East End for street art. Sigh… I love London.

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Have you ever eaten in the East End?

A big thanks to Eating London for providing a food tour in exchange for a review. They in no way insisted that I write a favorable review, and all opinions are (as always) my own. If you’d like to join the Eating London food tour, here are a few tips: don’t eat breakfast, bring a camera, show up on time and DEFINITELY wear loose-fitting pants and comfortable shoes.

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

17 thoughts on “Eating the Delicious East End”

  1. Gorgeous street art shots! But I’m sorry, I had to skip over some of the food bits because I’m in Asia and totally missing Western food right now. At least I can drown my sorrows in a mango smoothie…

  2. I went to London on a high school trip 6 years ago but we did mainly touristy things and I wasn’t aware of the city’s neighborhoods at all. East End looks super cool, and I’d love to go on a food tour like the one you describe here as I wouldn’t have a clue what to look for or order, even in an English-speaking country! Love those pictures…the food looks to die for. And the street art is glorious! Thanks for sharing this unique part of London.

  3. yum yum! I told Ben what you said about the bacon because I’ve been saying it since I moved to Goa (and all we get here is imported english bacon which Ben loves)… he thinks we’re crazy! But, streaky bacon is where it’s at for a BLT!

  4. The tour itself is sadly out of my price range, but I might have to pop along to try a couple of the featured items! That bacon sandwich looks amazing, I’m definitely trying that one!

    And I’m so happy to see that London is embracing street art, or at least that people are covering it more.

  5. I love London. The east end has so much to offer! I wish I’d done that food tour, my mouth is watering! I did however see a lot of that same street art!

  6. I’ve done food tours in a bunch of European cities, but not yet in London (though I have been to Aladin). This sounds like a really good one – and that salted caramel tart looks incredible!

  7. With all of the London food posts you’ve been doing I was already convinced that I need to eat my way through this city. But with your pictures of all that amazing street art now I’m REALLY convinced that I am missing out. I need to go to London and spend some serious quality time there!

  8. I’ve always wanted to go on a food tour of some kind and this one looks incredible! I mean, that tart! It looks so delicious. I love the street art photographs too. It reminds me a lot of what I love about Melbourne, Australia!

  9. Wow, this looks like a tour to die for! The bread and butter pudding looks amazing! I will have to remember this post on my next trip to London.

  10. I’m so glad I found this just now – I am planning a trip to London literally at the moment, specifically to visit the East End, as I have yet to go there. Thanks for all the gorgeous food photography, I definitely know where I’ll be eating now! And your street art shots are fantastic :)

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