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Feb 4, 2014 02:25 PM

Single Diner East London: Questions

Los Angeleno will be in town for a week at the end of February. Previously have been to London 2 years ago and really enjoyed Rochelle Canteen, Leila's, St. John, Brawn, Terroir, Moro and Ottolenghi.

First, are there well-regarded pubs or wine bars to go in the afternoon or evening, before or after dinner, by oneself, to read and have a glass or pint or 2 , where one isn't in a crowded loud bar scene? One place I'm looking forward to visiting is Sager & Wilde. Is this place mellow?

Second, I'm looking to eat some good meals and have my sights on The Beagle and/or Clove Club. It seems like these may offer bar seating. What do Londoners know of these places and if that's done? Contrarily, would single dining at a table at these places be considered unusual? Any other recommendations for bar dining (I've read through the posts regarding this for the past several months, so no need to go into much detail)?

Also thinking of Viajante and/or Corner Room. Any thoughts on single diners there?

Is Towpath Cafe on Regents Canal still open? It looks like such a sweet place, but I haven't seen much discussion of the place in a while. The last yelp review dates to 2011.

I'm going to Hamlet at the National Theater on a Monday night. Any recommendations on what to do for eating close by before the play begins? I was thinking of trying to get into Anchor & Hope before hand, but I'm not sure if it's logistically feasible.

Lastly, where would one recommend to shop for good wine in/near Shoreditch? When I return to Rochelle Canteen, I was thinking it would be good to BYO. Additionally, it may be nice to have a bottle or two to enjoy at home, particularly if there aren't any good options available with regards to my first question.

Greatly appreciate any feedback you may have.


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  1. Anchor & Hope is quite close to the National, and since there are no reservations, getting there about 6 should help with getting to the theatre on time. I've enjoyed eating at The Terrace restaurant right at the National.. small, tasty plates.

    Time-Out Magazine gives these hours for the Towpath Cafe. I really can't say if that's current, and I haven't been there in ages.Maybe someone else will know. I hope your trip extends into March?

    Open Mar-Nov 8am-dusk Tue-Fri; 9am-dusk Sat, Sun

    1 Reply
    1. re: zuriga1

      I'd check about Viajante, I head it might be closing soon. Towpath Cafe is usually closed in the winter, I'm pretty sure it's not open at the moment. There are some other places on the canal in that area though, including Proud Archivist, pretty much next door, where you can definitely sit and have a drink or a coffee at any point right by the canal. Not sure how the food compares to Towpath though.

    2. Beagle & S&W def worth visiting. Bouchon Fourchette has bar seating, good food and a nice vibe and is in that general area, too. The Cock on Mare St, and The Fox on Kingsland Rd are decent pubs with excellent craft beer selections - not always quiet though!

      1. Some good places in there

        Sager and Wilde is good - i'm not sure I'd say its mellow but its not packed and it would be a fine place to be solo. You could also easily combine with Brawn which I also love.

        Beagle is pretty good, Clove Club is very very good. If I were you I would make a reservation in the bar area of the Clove Club where you can sit at the bar stools and order of the a la carte. You get the full breadth of the food there rather than a typical limited bar menu and its definitely suitable for a solo diner.

        As mentioned, Viajante/Corner Room are closing at the end of Feb. Not sure if the standards will be on the wind down up until then or not...

        Other good options in the area:

        Mayfields - small neighbourhood place getting a lot of attention for ambitious cooking
        Ten Bells - linked to Clove Club - well worth a look
        Ritas Dining (now on Mare Street) - comfort junk food but with some ambition and asian slants. Well worth a look.
        Lardo - good straight forward Italian/pizza - good for solo dining

        Away from the East, I love the Anchor & Hope, try to get there if you can

        4 Replies
        1. re: mjgauer

          Thanks all! Your input definitely helps.

          I will be in London through the 5th of March. I will look into seeing if the Towpath Cafe opens on the 1st.

          I think I will try to book at Viajante/Corner Room before the end of February, though their websites give no mention of shutting down.

          If curtain time is 19:00, will less than 1 hour be enough time to spend at Anchor & Hope? I imagine that it's going to take about 10 minutes (at least) to walk from there to the Nat. Theater. Any other suggestions near the National Theater?

          I think I will commit to Clove Club, as well. I've been contemplating 10 Bells. Will look into Mayfields and Lardo as they didn't come up in my research yet.

          Wine shops in the area? Do the local (or closest) Sainsbury, Tesco or Waitrose have good wine selections?

          1. re: venicekeith

            Good call on clove club.

            Some good wine merchants in hackney are-

            Noble fine liquors- Broadway market
            Borough wines - Wilton way
            Bottle apostle - Lauriston road

            They may not be that close to you though . Larger supermarkets normally have an ok selection - waitrose probably your best bet.

            A&H could be tough in an hour though maybe ok if you get there early and let them know of your timing.

            Viajante definitely shutting down- check out the chefs twitter feed

            1. re: mjgauer

              Nuno Mendes will helm the kitchens of Chiltern Firehouse - due to open on 16 Feb:

            2. re: venicekeith

              Towpath cafe is not something I would go out of my way for, although it is perfectly nice.
              I would not bother with Viajante/Corner Room as they are definitely closing at the end of Feb,
              Anachor and Hope is really great but I am not sure if one hour would be enough time to eat. It might be fine, but to be honest the service is not the type that I would really be comfortable telling them I was in a rush (bit surly).
              Definitely Clove Club! I would pass on Ten Bells if you are doing Clove Club.
              Thumbs up for Mayfields and Rita's.
              You can do much better in LA with the type of food that Lardo serves...

          2. You could go somewhere simple like the E5 bakery downstairs to the London Fields train station. I think you'd do fine in Lardo also. In Hackney, any of the pubs are good for sitting alone, to be honest, The Cock being the most friendly and assuming. A good scotch egg or sausage roll and a pint with your laptop would be great. I think The Corner Room would be fine too since it's small and relaxed. I also liked breakfast in The Hoxton Hotel by myself. It was comfy and they treated me well. Hotel prices, though. :) For wine I just go a corner shop or supermarket, to be honest and it's never been a problem but then I'm not a conoisseur.