It’s not the most attractive area of London, but Shoreditch is a compelling district. Once famous for its turbulent history of crime and immigration, today this corner of London’s East End has been enlivened by an ever-expanding street art scene, a cluster of Sunday markets and an influx of hipsters toting handlebar moustaches and double denim. You could use all the travel writing clichés to describe it: a melting-pot of cultures; a vibrant area with a rich cultural heritage; full of hidden gems.
The area has been home to the French Huguenots, who escaped persecution before the French Civil War in the 1500s, the Jewish community who settled here in the late 1800s, and a wave of Maltese, Irish, Scottish, West Indian, Somali and Bangladeshi migrants who have all impressed their own traditions and cultures on this part of London since the early twentieth century.
Thanks to all this diversity in such a small neighbourhood, Shoreditch is the ideal place to taste the best of East London’s varied cuisines. After taking a tour with Eating London, Lottie Gross recommends five foods for an edible exploration of the East.
Bacon sandwiches at St. John Bread & Wine
It’s a bold statement, but we’ll stand by it: this may well be the best bacon sandwich of your life: thick-cut, freshly baked bread, charred to bring out its natural sugars then slathered in melted butter inside and out; perfectly smoked, salt- and sugar-soaked Gloucester Old Spot bacon; and tomato-and-apple ketchup as the perfect accompaniment. Start your day with one of these and your average British bacon sarnie will never seem the same again. There’s no question that this is the best place for bacon in the city either: Bread & Wine is part of the St. John Group and run by renowned “nose-to-tail” chef Fergus Henderson.