By now everyone and their mum hang out on Brick Lane and due to its popularity it can become quite crowded on weekends (funny enough, Brick Lane is pretty much dead Mo-Thu; so if you’re looking for a quiet day of vintage shopping, now you know when to go…). If you want to escape the crowds on the weekends, lucky for you, the area has more to offer than just that one street and in this post I’m revealing 6 hidden gems of the East.
Tayyabs opened its doors in 1972 and even after 30 years, it’s one of the most about restaurants in East London. You’d expect this much-loved Punjabi restaurant on a heavily frequented street like Brick Lane, but it’s hidden away in a back street of Whitechapel, behind the East London Mosque. (And it’s off the beat location justifies Tayyabs to be on this list.) Tayyabs is especially famous for its lamb chops and amazing value for money. To try them, a reservation is absolutely necessary.
If you want to enjoy a glass of wine with your lamb chops, you’ll have to bring your own. The restaurant operates a BYOB policy and doesn’t charge you extra for bringing your own drinks.
83-89 Fieldgate Street
London E1 1JU
Husk Coffee & Creative Space
Husk Coffee & Creative Space is a cafe offering artisan coffee, snacks and light lunches and a „creative space“ designed for students, professionals and creatives to get their work done in a casual, light-filled environment. In addition Husk hosts a variety of events and classes. The aim is to create a local community through the creative arts, which is reflected in the cafes décor – the walls are covered with bookshelves, quirky art pieces and displays.
Now to the most important part of a café: the actual coffee and food. Husk offers a variety of coffee specialties using Climpson & Sons beans. Teas are from Suki Teas and Pavillion fairtrade. From noon onwards a selection of fruit smoothies are available. Across the food counter, you’ll find all the usual cakes and sweet treats. Their light lunch menue includes soup, avocado toast (of course, in a café in east London….), Daal & naan and Pitta or vegetable sticks with hummus.
Husk Coffee & Creative Space is run through London City Mission and if therefor a charitable organisation.
649-651 Commercial Road
London E14 7LW
I have to confess, I’m not a big movie person. However Genesis Cinema managed to turn me into a regular visitor for the two years I have lived in the area. So what makes Genesis special? It’s an independent arthouse cinema that shows the newest blockbusters as well as independent films. Mondays and Wednesdays they have a reduced ticket price on all movies (now you know why and when I went there). But Genesis is more than just cheap. The cinema is housed in a renovated 19th century building which is beautifully decorated. Downstairs, there’s a café offering amazing coffee, snacks and Rinkoffs crodoughs. Upstairs, there’s a bar “Bar Paragon” serving a wide range of beers, wine and cocktails.
Besides movies, the cinema hosts a variety of events like Poetry Slams, Quizzes and Cacktail Mixology Classes.
93-95 Mile End Road
London E1 4UJ
Rinkoff bakery has been around since 1911, producing speciality bread, rolls and cakes. The bakery got more known with the rise of the cronut a few years ago, as they created their own version of the New York trend food – the crodough. For those of you, who can’t remember – the cronut/crodough is a fusion pastry combining the best bits of a croissant and a doughnut. Rinkoff bakery is hidden away in a courtyard of an (ex-?) council estate at the end of Jubilee Street, but they have another shop on Valance Road and Genesis Cinema on Mile End Road also sells their crodoughs.
222-226 Jubilee Street
London E1 3BS
East End Thrift Store
Hidden away in the not very promising looking Assembly Passage is the warehouse that houses the East End Thrift Store. EETS is your one-stop shop for cheap vintage and secondhand clothing, footwear and accessories for women and men. What makes EETS special in an area full of Londons best vintage? Easy – the price. Contrary to it’s Brick Lane counterparts EETS offers great vintage for cheap, and I don’t mean “London cheap”, actual cheap. In order to do so, they have deliberately abstained from elaborate decoration & shop design. The converted old warehouse still looks like an old warehouse, not a “cool” vintage place (like Blitz).
On the ground floor of the warehouse you’ll find party attire for £10, denim shirts for £15 and jackets for £25. They also operate a “fill-a-bag” concept for £10 or £20 depending on the size of the bag, which is, of course, hugely popular. Besides that, there’s regular events like Late Night Parties and £1 Days. They usually announce upcoming events on their social media, so EETS should be in every vintage lovers friends/follow list. Oh, being so excited about cheap clothes, I almost forgot to mention the 1st floor – there you’ll find more expensive designer pieces.
London, E1 4UT
The George Tavern
The George Tavern is a pub and music venue on the corner of Jubilee Street/Commercial Road. The building as it is now was probably built between 1820 and 1825 and is a Grade II listed public house. One of the reasons for the Grade II listing is the fine ornate tiling from 1891. In the 1970s Stepney nightclub, which was famous for its illuminated dance floor, was added to the backs onto the pub. Today, the George Tavern is legendary for it’s live music and thriving artistic community. What’s great about the George Tavern is, that their live music or DJ evenings are usually for free or for a fiver. In 2008 the pub was reached 2nd place in the Stella Artois “Love Your Local Campaign”.
Besides the use as a live music venue, the George Tavern is used as a photo shoot or film location. Individual shoots with Kate Moss, Justin Timberlake, Grace Jones and Nick Cave have taken place in the pub. The George Tavern also appears in the Netflix show Sense8.
373 Commercial Road
London E1 0LA
If you’re not looking for Jamboree, you probably won’t find it. The live music venue is hidden away in the courtyard of Cable Street Studios, where you have to sign in before you can enter. Cable Studios used to be a sweet factory but has housed artists and musicians since the 70s. The owners of Jamboree used to live and work out of Cable Street Studios before they opened the venue. They rented the room in the courtyard for open mic and jam nights attracting musicians and music enthusiasts from the area. The music played at Jamboree ranges from Americana and bluegrass to gypsy, jazz and folk.
566 Cable Street
London E1W 3HB