Headed To London For the Olympics? Add These PR-Friendly Diversions To Your Itinerary

Strategically located between the City financial district and trendy Shoreditch, and barely a javelin’s throw to the Olympic Village, our London office will be at the crossroads of the world during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Some of our more social colleagues share their recommendations for a nibble or a refreshing wee dram in the East End: 

Simon K:  “We just went with some visiting clients for lunch at the new Mark Hix restaurant called ‘Tramshed’ …Seriously cool:  they only serve chicken and steak and you sit under a commissioned piece of art by Damien Hirst featuring, of course, a cow and a cockerel.”

Michael B: “For authentic Hackney [the surrounding burrough] try Cooke and Sons for pie and mash.  Don’t think they have a website but they are on Broadway Market, E8”

Rebecca J:  “I have a tonne of ideas but I really like the Towpath Cafe – lots of local colour and a great stroll along the canal from the Olympic Village all the way to Islington.”

Katie S:  “Try the ‘ The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town’ – just around the corner from Ketchum.  This is a speakeasy situated underneath The Breakfast Club on Artillery lane. Upon entry you must tell the waiter “I am here to see the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town”.  From this point you are taken through a Smeg fridge door, down some stairs into a very kitsch London bar.  Happy hour weekdays from 5-6pm and the cocktails are second to none!”

David G: “It’s hard to beat Shoreditch House for atmosphere, but it’s a private club and almost wholly immune to appeals for entry.  Boundary is a good alternative – literally next door to Shoreditch House, with its own rooftop terrace and fantastic food. “

Jennifer R:  “I would suggest checking out the Barbican.  I think for tourists it really gets overlooked, but it has three restaurants, bars, a martini pop up, theatre, cinema – everything really!”

David G:  “Jennifer’s suggestion of the Barbican reminds me – Pham Sushi is just around the corner on Whitecross Street.  Tiny, authentic and excellent sushi.  You will need to book for a table.”

Susan S: “My absolute favourite is St John Bread and Wine, just across the way from Ketchum.  They do Old Spot bacon sandwiches for breakfast – only served between 9-10 every day, so you have to time your visit well.  Love them for lunch and dinner too, but it is an acquired taste, as they tend to serve more challenging cuts of meat.  Good wine menu.  They also run a pub on Drapers Street called the Drapers Arms – also great.”

Susan S:  “Can I add another?  Viajante in the Town Hall Hotel, no menu, you eat whatever they are cooking that day.  The menu is structured around 6-8 or 10 small tasting courses, I’d recommend 6 for lunch, 8 for dinner.  Food is very experimental, the chef trained at El Bulli, but it is much more affordable.   They also have a new, cheaper restaurant upstairs in the hotel ,the Corner Room.  Same chef, but with a menu and the more traditional starter/mains/dessert format.  I haven’t been but bound to be good.”

Peter M: “A classic easy East End Sunday is a stroll up Columbia road flower market, brunch at Hackney City Farm’s café, Frizzante (way better than it sounds – I like it so much I got married there!), then noodling around Broadway market, followed by drinks at the unbearably hip Cat & Mutton (also pretty decent for lunch). If it’s late enough by the time you finish swigging head slightly back down Broadway market to Buen Ayre – the best (Argentinian) steak restaurant in London that nobody’s heard of – fantastic for an informal and extremely carnivorous dinner (just get one of the colossal mixed grills and don’t bother ordering any side vegetables – you’ll be too full to touch them).