Love Hoxton – the best of my London neighbourhood
London has a well-deserved reputation as being an expensive city to visit – unsurprisingly, some of the world’s most expensive cities can be found in this exciting, diverse, and often overwhelming metropolis. But if you’re wanting to experience a bit of London cool without blowing the budget, then here are our suggestions for some cheap eats in the edgy but cool neighborhood of Hoxton in London’s inner-east:
1. The Breakfast Club
Just off one of the side streets that leads to Hoxton Square, The Breakfast Club does serve a mean breakfast (The Full Monty will set you up for the day nicely: GBP£9.70) and there are queues here for brunch on the weekend. But this cool, relaxed cafe delivers the full range of food throughout the day and into the night. Their burgers are super popular but I often opt for the bowl of beef chilli served with rice (GBP9.00). The coffee is good here too. The ideal place to hang out with friends if you can avoid the weekend rush.
2. Curious Yellow Kafe
Tucked away on Pitfield Street on the residential side of Hoxton this Swedish restaurant is a little gem. You can get fresh salmon bagels to go, really good coffee, a great range of cakes (the chocolate and beetroot cake is the best), but I always like to grab a table at lunchtime and feast on a big bowl of Swedish Meatballs (GBP£7.50). You’ll see a lot of laptop action here as the locals seem to use this place as an extension of their home office.
Keu! is a small Vietnamese cafe on Old Street that is serving up a constant stream of Banh Mi – the tasty sandwiches that are the perfect lunch option. There’s a huge range of options to choose from (I always go for BBQ Pork) and the meat is dished up with daikon, coriander, cucumber, spring onions and fresh chilli – great value at GBP£5.95. I’m also often here for dinner as well because they do a dinner box of meat served with jasmine rice for just GBP7.95 – the braised beef brisket with lemongrass and curry leaves is my favorite. Perfect if you need something quick and easy on your way home from work.
4. Song Que
Sticking with the Vietnamese theme – a few blocks away is Kingsland Road. This is a street that is lined with Vietnamese restaurants – all pretty good, but you’ll find that the locals all have their own favorite and develop a fierce loyalty. For me, the stand-out is Song Que. This place is always busy and during peak times you have to queue for a table. It’s worth it though to get a taste of their soft shell crab (GBP£8.70), and the spicy squid (£7.80), before moving on to a big bowl of pho (noodle soup) or their noodle salads – I always opt for number 60 which is rice vermicelli noodles served with grilled pork shredded pork and a pork spring roll, delicious and only GBP£8.80. This is a great place to come with a group of friends on your way out to one of the many great bars in the area.
5. Meat Mission
This loud, vibrant, and energetic restaurant is location on Hoxton Market which, confusingly, is different to Hoxton Street where the weekly local market is held. Meat Mission is definitely worth tracking down – especially if you feel like embracing a dirty burger and some sexy cocktails. Wrap your lips around a Bacon Cheeseburger for GBP£8.00 – you won’t regret it.