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Apr 26, 2007 12:52 PM

Any recs near Old Street, London

I have recently started doing some volunteer work near Old Street tube (Rivington street) one day a week (usually Wednesday) . Rather than travel back home during the rush hour ( I live 50 miles away) I was thinking of staying down for an hour or two and trying some of the many restaurants / bars etc that seem to be in the area. Just looking for some places where I can get an earlyish (6pm) meal, will probably be solo dining some of the time. Any cuisine considered but places where I can just walk in on a whim (no need to make reservations). For example, yesterday I tried a place called Hanoi (Vietnamese) which seemed pretty good and reasonable to me. Are there any real "gems" in the area I should know about?. Anywhere within walking distance is fine (as far as Moorgate for example). Any recommended lunch spots too?

Grateful for your help.



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  1. How's your budget?
    You should try Bacchus. The team there is very nice and you'll be fine on your own.
    I like The Fox upstairs...Paul Street, I believe.
    The Princess is always nice, but can be a bit crazy in the evenings downstairs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kristainlondon

      budget can be flexible, but I guess I'm looking up to around £25 for either starter and main, or main and desert, plus maybe one drink

    2. There are lots of good places round there. There are other Vietnamese (many other threads on this board have mentioned them. I always liked Cay Tre on Old St, but I think it has gone down hill. I had a take away from their other one round the corner on Kingsland Road, called Viet something (I can't remember what) and it was really good.

      The Rivington Bar and Grill serves amazing food. It might be a bit pricey for you, but I had the best lamb chop I've ever tasted there, and the bread is lovely.

      Apparently the pizzas in the place on the junction of Old St and Great Eastern St is very good, and it serves more than just pizzas.

      Even the food in the Hoxton Hotel restaurant (I think it's called the Hoxton Grill) isn't bad if you fancy a steak or a burger. It's not special, but it's tasty and ok for eating alone.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Theresa

        thanks Theresa - the cost isn't really a problem so I will definitely try that bar and grill at some point, I was really just looking for something fairly casual after work, rather than an "occasion". I've noticed the stone baked pizza place and it seems pretty popular (too bad I don't like cheese!!! but I'll check out the rest of the menu)

        1. re: Theresa

          The Hoxton Grille? You've got to be kidding . . . haven't heard a good word about it from anyone.

          1. re: Howard V

            As I said - I don't think it's particularly good - and it certainly isn't in a chowhound sense - but having spent many a night in hotels in London when down for work reasons, the food they serve is a lot tastier than most of the other hotel restaurants in that price range. I normally go out and grab a decent takeaway, but once or twice I have quite enjoyed having one of their burgers instead ...

            1. re: Theresa

              The burgers are far far better at the Hoxton Diner and if you want a steak it's worth splashing out at Hawksmoor. I didn't like the Grille at all.

        2. There are tons of places! Cay Tre is good, but it can be hit or miss. There are a number of other Vietnamese options up Kingsland Road (Song Que is supposed to be great, but haven't tried it yet. Viet Grill is just a bigger Cay Tre - same kitchen).

          We order takeaway from Yelo Thai in Hoxton Square at least once a week and have found it to be excellent for the price.

          Around Hoxton Square: Hoxton Apprentice (fine, not outstanding) and Cru (we've had GREAT food here and OK food here) are both worth a shot. We've never tried Furnace and have heard good things, but it's always empty when we walk by which is a personal no-no for me.

          I'm not impressed with the food on Curtain Road. Avoid Diner at all costs, and Bar Music Hall is OK, but with much better beer (Belgian, mostly) than food.

          The Princess's dining room is excellent but you must book. They would certainly be able to fit a solo diner in early. I have had outstanding food here. I haven't eaten at the Fox yet, but keep meaning to do so, though my understanding is that it's much like the Princess.

          If you're alone and early, you also might stand a decent chance of getting a walk in to the Tratorria at Fifteen....

          Bacchus is a must try - it's supposed to be "fine dining in jeans and trainers" - experimental food in a gastropub setting. We ate there about 3 weeks ago and I found the tasting menu ambitious but not always successful, though intriguing. The lamb with coffee was incredible, and enough to convince us to go back and order a la carte.

          The other must try is Green and Red Cantina just up Bethnal Green road before Brick Lane. We're Californian expats and it's the only decent Mexican food we've found in London (not Tex-Mex, but proper Mexican). Outstanding tequila selection. You can eat at the bar from an abbreviated menu which - personally - I like better than the full dinner menu.

          There's also St. John Bread and Wine behind Spitalfields (would be great for a solo diner) and the Hawksmoor (steak. GREAT steak, but just steak) on Commercial road heading from Shoreditch High St. towards Spitalfields.

          Basically, you're spoiled for choice!

          1 Reply
          1. re: KaCHing

            Thanks KaChing - I've noticed some of these places as I've walked around the area. Bacchus defintely sounds like a "must". I look forward to trying some of these over the next weeks and months - I'll report back!. Thanks for your help

          2. Hi! I haven't had a chance to go to Canteen yet, but it has been recommended to me by two foodie friends of mine, and is close to Old Street -- 2 Crispin Place E1. Here's the link to their website because I gather it can be hard to find ( They don't have a liquor license, so bring your own. The prices are very reasonable, no bookings taken, so sounds ideal for you.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Goulue

              I am pretty certain, from any number of glasses of wine and beer at Canteen, that they do have a licence.

              I like The Fox. It changed hands recently and is still good if different from its previous incarnation


              THe Princess is quite different but still worth a try.

              Hawksmoor's steaks are very good and their cocktails currently the best in London

              Depending on how long you are working near Old St, you may be able to try out PintXo People which is goling to open on Featherstone St at the end of May. Their Brighton place serves exceptional cocktails.


              For Sushi, you have both Blossom in Hoxton and under City Point ( more of a lunch joint


              The North Star ( about ten mins north on The New North Rd), just got great reviews from Faye Mascheler and Fish Central in King's Square is still popular for Fish & Chips although it can be a bit hit and miss.

              You are also within a few minutes walk of Smithfield with all its options including Vinoteca, St John, Comptoir Gascon, Smiths of Smithfield, Pho, Porto and inummerable others

              hope this helps


              1. re: Simon Majumdar

                Thanks Simon and Goulue. I'll be working there indefinitely so I've got plenty of time to try out many places (anything is better than Old Street Tube / Euston at 5.30 - 6 on a week day. Thanks for the recommendations....

                1. re: Pete S

                  Oops...there is a restaurant in Spitalfieds Market called Canteen, but that's not the place I was meaning (although the food is quite good there too). You want to try Rochelle Canteen in Arnold Circus (to to the Eastern end of Old Street and keep's to the right). It's definitely BYOB.

                  1. re: Goulue

                    You can book at the Rochelle Canteen, but it is only open Monday to Friday lunch.

            2. I am with the other on Bachus, it's very good.
              As far as Vietnamese is concerned, I see Song Que has been mentioned and I think its wonderful - and very affordable. I love their starters and would recommend the soft shell crab, the fresh spring rolls (not fried) with prawns and also the raw beef salad is delicious.

              I like Green and Red too - but think it's expensive for what it is (I mean how much do beans cost really?).
              Canteen on Spitalfields I think is losing it a little bit. The last 2 times I was there I had fish, and it was greasy (guess next time I will go for another one of their pies - which are, to be fair, beautiful).

              If you're in that area you must not miss the 24 Beigel bake on Brick Lane and have a salt beef Beigel - it's perfect quick fix comfort food.

              I am surpirsed no-one's mentioend Jamie Oliver's 15. I know it gets a lot of bad press, but I love going to the Tratoria for breakfast. I love the muesli and smoothies and my husband raves about the full english.