Our Favourite Restaurants in Stratford London
East London is quickly gaining a reputation as a great place for discerning food-lovers to visit. In the past few years a number of new eateries, bars, bakeries and independent producers have opened their doors bringing new experiences to the area – from bars on a barge to rooftop delis. Here’s a roundup of our favourite restaurants in Stratford London who are shaking up the city’s food scene.
We couldn’t write about restaurants in Stratford, London without mentioning this colossal, wooden fun-house. Haugen is the new name for IQL’s Pavilion, an alpine inspired restaurant, café, brasserie and bar featuring rooftop views over East London. It’s sophisticated, seats over 500 guests and we’ve written all about it here.
It’s the kind of place you have to visit at some point and fortunately enough it’s open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night drinks. So there’s ample opportunity to try it for yourself!
Our recommendation would be to bag yourself a table amongst the outdoor seating at the rooftop bar. And don’t worry too much about the great British weather – warm blankets are luxuriously draped over seating, reinforced by stylish heaters to make you truly believe you’re fresh off the slopes at Tignes.
TamilaKicking off with a spicy starter for six, we’ve got one of the latest additions to Hackney Bridge’s canalside social scene - Tamila. From the brains behind Roti King, they now bring you a South Indian street food extravaganza, operating from the area’s new dining and market hall. Sharing plates are on offer to be enjoyed in a casual atmosphere with views of the historic waterways.
What is South Indian street food, we hear you ask? Well it’s a little different from your traditional Indian restaurant menu. Dosa, dahl, and roti in abundance; tearing and sharing plates with breads, currys and snack-sized appetisers to encourage a “tuck in” kind of atmosphere. Go of an evening at the weekend and you’ll also be treated to DJs and a lively atmosphere – if you’re looking for a more relaxed dinner, pay them a visit midweek!
One of our own – Figo’s Stratford outpost is based right here at IQL, moments from Westfield. And it often frequents the top spot on TripAdvisor for Stratford’s most highly rated restaurants.
This Italian restaurant features plush interiors, where the presentation of food is sophisticated as opposed to homely, and the flavours exceptional. Expect a few of your firm Italian favourites, with an added dose of authenticity: you’ll find no cream in your carbonara here, nor will you find chicken in the pasta dishes. Two combinations which are quite frankly unheard of in Italy!
Calzones, risottos, pastas all feature heavily on the menu. But where we think there’s something extra special to be enjoyed is in the appetisers and desserts. Dig in to breaded anchovies with chilli jam, fresh burrata, tiramisu and Sicilian cannoli and you’re bound to be transported to distant, sunnier shores.
Ramen: a hearty bowl of goodness that fills you with joy on a crisp autumn day. Tonkotsu: a regional type of ramen specific to the Fukuoka area, usually made using simmered Pork marrow that gives it a milky consistency.
Taking inspiration from its namesake, Tonkotsu is the house special here, but a range of deliciously flavoured ramens are on offer. Accompany it with some gyoza, wash it down with sake or a Japanese Whisky and that’s what we call a soul-soothing meal.
Read our interview with Managing Director Stephen Evans about what his favourite items on the menu.
Darkhorse Restaurant & Bar
Located on the edge of Victory Park, Darkhorse Stratford is an Italian restaurant with a twist, but one that will never disappoint. The clue is in the name, they tell you themselves that they’re “little known, unexpectedly excellent” and have spent the last four years gaining fame as a tremendous restaurant and bar.
A small, seasonal menu, but one that caters to all tastes, serves up a fusion of Italian and Mediterranean dishes using fresh, local produce wherever possible. 80% of the menu is cooked in a charcoal oven using apple wood for a distinct flavour, a fact that makes the thought of their Sunday Roast even more drool-worthy.
A carefully crafted wine list and beer selection feature some of Europe’s best, while the cocktail list contains both classics and creative house concoctions. The park-side location of the al fresco area also makes this one of the best restaurants in which to indulge outdoors – whether you’re eating or socialising. Careful though – with more people stumbling across this Stratford gem, booking a table is recommended.
One for the lovers of fine-dining, Cornerstone gained its first Michelin star this year for its seafood small plates – and if you’re looking for reasonably priced Michelin dining, this place is a fabulous option.
The Chef’s Selection is £60 per person with an added £60pp if you want paired wines. For this, you’ll enjoy 8 sharing dishes accompanied by 4 wines (8 glasses between two). It’s available for lunch or dinner, Tuesday to Saturday and is an experience to behold!
Example dishes include sea bream tartare with egg yolk and soy, or seafood cocktail crumpet with brown crab and oyster marie rose.
The Breakfast Club
Sharing a name with the cult favourite, The Breakfast Club is deceivingly more than just croissants and poached eggs. Serving food from early till 7pm, the restaurant serves brunch classics, burgers, wings and a collection of smashing sides.
With venues across London and expanding even further afield, this venture was founded by two pals. Given both were Cheers fanatics, they promised each other in the 80s they’d open a place “where everybody knows your name” if their careers didn’t pan out as they hoped.
Two “decidedly average” careers later and the pair created a hugely successful chain of “caffs”, as they lovingly call them, and restaurants. The MO here is tasty, hearty food so don’t be precious – just get stuck in. It up there amongst the best hot breakfasts in London.
For a concise list of bars and restaurants in Stratford London, visit our Eat, Drink, Shop page.