Shoreditch High Street is a brand new station right on the edge of the city, just over 20 minutes from Sydenham. It was built on a vast area of disused land and so when you exit, it does not feel like you are on the edge of anything; it feels industrial, even desolate. But within minutes you can be on Brick Lane, Spitalfields Market, Old Street and a longer stroll takes you to Columbia Road – the place to get your fresh flowers on a Sunday morning.
However, the area immediately outside the station has plenty to offer. Turning left out of the exit, you are on Bethnal Green Road. At the weekend there is a market along the road, which continues down Sclater Street. A cauliflower from one of the makeshift tables costs 50 pence. Crossing Bethnal Green Road, nip down Ebor Street (directly opposite the station) to Redchurch Street, the same cauliflower is £2 – well it is probably organic! Just opposite, on Redchurch Street, is the ALLPRESS ROASTERY CAFE. Fantastic coffee and fresh pastries and sandwiches all made here, with a sign on a chalkboard by the door. It is modern and airy inside with plenty of free papers.
It’s odd that in this tiny network of streets are some of the East End’s most expensive places. Shoreditch House is members only, with its entrance on Ebor Street, identifiable only because of the gorgeous Cowshed spa on the ground floor. If you fancy spoiling your nails, a manicure will set you back 50 quid.
LES TROIS GARCONS on Club Row, which runs parallel to Ebor Street, is extravagant, French and expensive but worth it. Not much to look at from the outside, but inside it’s as camp as it can get away with. One other notable spot is the basement cinema, The AUBIN, on the corner of Club Row and Redchurch Street. A Deluxe 2-seater sofa on a Sunday is £22 – it’s a small, chilled, luxurious cinema showing current titles.
Jonathan S. Clarke
THE ALBION is a modern restaurant on the ground floor of the BOUNDARY and sells a range of fresh vegetables, neatly displayed in wooden crates. The BOUNDARY brands itself as a Restaurant, Rooms & Rooftop. It’s an impressive building on the junction of Redchurch Street and Boundary Street. It has a great deli, shop and the restaurant serves simple French food. The weekend Prix Fixe is decent value at £19.50 for 2 courses. A pitcher of Bloody Mary for £27 would be extravagant unless there were four of you. Be warned, book ahead. THE ALBION has a long row of outside tables running along Boundary Street, which is cobbled, and makes for a very pleasant place to sit. It’s quiet, with little or no traffic and shaded by old-fashioned canopies.