As I’m a ‘saaarf’ Londoner, I don’t spend much time in Shoreditch. But when I do, it’s so apparent that everything is just that little bit ‘cooler’ in the East End of London. Don’t you think?
Maybe it’s the eclectic mix of graffiti you see on every corner or the clusters of big name hang outs like Shoreditch House and Hoxton Grill. Then you have the cool cafes like Breakfast Club and Shoreditch Grind. Whatever it is, I enjoy pottering about here when I get the chance.
After a tough work-out at the Sweaty Betty & Sunday Style Hiitgirl class the other weekend, I hopped over to Banh Mi 11 on Great Eastern Street for a much-needed take-away lunch to refuel.
If you’ve read about Banh Mi 11, it’s the brainchild of two entrepreneurs called Van and Anh who are from Hanoi and wanted to bring fresh Vietnamese food to the people of London. At weekends, you’ll find them selling their tasty fare at Broadway Market in London Fields and they also have a shop called Market Kitchen on Elm Street in Clerkenwell.
Their shop in the East End known as Market Cafe is a small place where I imagine office folk grab and go in the week. You can get rice, salad and Vietnamese rolls but I was here for the traditional sarnie known as ‘Banh Mi’. They’re basically French-style baguettes filled with fresh Vietnamese ingredients. I went for the chicken curry Banh Mi which that’s filled with hot and spicy chicken pieces with fresh onions, carrots, chillies and fragrant coriander.
Watch out if you get this one because the chillies don’t come as a finely chopped sprinkling. They’re super huge chunks of fiery red pepperiness which I completely mistook as pieces of ordinary red pepper. As you can imagine, my mouth was slightly burning one bite later. Ouch.
But these Banh Mi deliver great flavour and nothing but the freshest salad and tasty seeded bread so it’s well worth popping in for a mid-week take-away lunch.
I took mine to Hoxton Square to refuel and enjoy the leafy view.
That afternoon I also popped in to Ozone Coffee Roasters – a fab coffee place hidden away on Leonard Street. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the word ‘coffee’ on the brick exterior. I was like a dog to a bone…
While the ground floor and basement are filled with tables for lunching, there’s a long bench at the front of this place with plenty of plug sockets for your laptop (you fellow bloggers / writers will appreciate this).
And I just love the style at Ozone. It’s all rustic wood, bare brick walls and repurposed Victorian fittings. I felt decidedly hip hanging out here.
With a latte and croissant (FYI croissant a tad dry, latte not bad at all) I whiled away the hours working and listening to a man beside me talking to his lap top a lot. Oh you’ve got to love these eccentric types.
Check out the Ozone website and you’ll see they do all sorts of granola, eggs and other brunch options (brunch served at weekends only), plus lovely traditional bites like Kedgeree and yummy lunch dishes (fried chicken with grated beets anyone? Yum).
So if you’re looking to while away a few hours or need to know where to grab coffee around here, I don’t think you can go wrong with these spots. And they’re pretty cool, no?
Until next time x