Brick Lane has become a famous destination for foodies. Thanks to its rich multicultural heritage and the fact that super-hip Shoreditch is next door, you’ll find food here that is not only global, but also fresh and modern. Sunday is the best day to go, when the market is in full swing, but whatever day you turn up there’s always plenty of tempting treats to try.
The legendary Taj Stores, for example, at the southern end of Brick Lane, is the place to stock up your spice cupboards. You’re guaranteed to find inspiring ingredients you’ve never heard of before, and the friendly staff will happily help you choose.
Sunday Upmarket is based in the Old Truman Brewery and open on Sundays. Here you’ll find stalls offering amazing street food together with a bar and seating so you can rest up and enjoy. Or if you're visiting in the week, try Ely's Yard - where stalls tend to top lists of some of the best street food in London.
No trip to Brick Lane would be complete without at least a look in the window of the famous Cereal Killer Cafe, serving – yes – bowls of cereal. But what cereals these are – gathered from around the globe, there are 120 to choose from, whether you want yours just in a bowl, made into a milkshake or even served as a cocktail. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a Gold Fashion: made from Golden Grahams, Jack Daniels, Angostura Bitters and dark brown sugar.
The Kahaila Cafe, on the other side of the road, serves some of the best coffee in Shoreditch, and given the area’s reputation for coffee houses, that’s saying something. The cafe is also a charitable foundation, so you can relax and know that your sipping is helping homeless people to learn Barista skills, and supporting women in prison among other good causes. The delicious red velvet cake is famous, and justifiably so.
You have to be cautious using words such as ‘institution’ in Brick Lane – there are so many of them – but Beigel Bake right at the northern end of the lane deserves that distinction. It’s been open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since 1974. There’s always a huge queue, and a big part of the thrill is seeing the bagels being made in front of you. Take home a bag of the soft yet chewy marvels, and if you’re a meat lover then you’ve got to try their signature bagel – salt beef, pickle and mustard. It’s utterly delicious.