Fancy exploring Chinatown instead? Make a beeline for Bun House.

More in the mood for swanky gastropub fare? The Libertine in Bank will see you right.


What's the deal?

What's the deal?
Starter as you mean to go on / Image: @charliemckay

Set on the edge of Spitalfields Market, this cavernous space is no stranger to delicious dining. It was previously home to rotisserie chicken haven Coqbull and elegant European brasserie Blixen before that, but the former bank might have now found its true calling. With natural light streaming in through wrought-iron windows, and glossy-wood tables and comfy blue-leather banquettes setting the scene inside, this place seems made for fine French food. 

It's not just the menu of French onion soup, hand-dived scallops and whole grilled lobster that cements 65a as a classic brasserie. It’s the approach to dining itself. Here, you can linger over the kind of two-hour lunch that you’d expect on the other side of the Channel, with sommelier-chosen wines accompanying hearty, grilled meats dowsed in peppercorn sauce (courtesy of executive chef Maura Baxter) and no danger of being rushed along. Come evening, it’s a low-key, sexy, date spot where aphrodisiacal starters (think Carlingford oysters dribbled in mignonette sauce) can be shared under dim, golden lighting. A feast for the senses? That it is.

What should I eat?

What should I eat?
Go full-on Parisian with 65a’s French onion soup / Image: @charliemckay

Start with a cocktail, picking from a drinks menu that’s more adventurous than its foodie counterpart. A quirky take on an Old Fashioned, with Scotch and cucumber bitters, or Rosé Royal perked up with Aperol and limoncello will do just fine.

When it’s time to eat, resist the king prawn starter at your peril. Someone near you will have ordered it, and the food envy will be unbearable when you see the fist-sized crustaceans drizzled with lemon beurre blanc and sourdough toast smothered in garlic. Next you might want to freshen your palate with a pear and endive salad, scattered with salted almonds, but following that there’s only one real choice: a generous hunk of rare rib-eye or fillet steak, with a choice of peppercorn, Béarnaise or Café de Paris sauce. Sides are ordered separately, so split a dish of dauphinois potato with your dining partner, or nibble on crunchy frites (equally divine dipped in creamy, white wine moules mariniére sauce).

On a budget? Go for the £29, two-course supper for a quick hit of fancy French food.

Why should I go?

Why should I go?
The gloriously swanky bar and dining room / Image: @charliemckay

Because this is the closest you’ll get to Paris without zipping up the Circle line to St Pancras International and escaping on the Eurostar – and you can head out into Shoreditch for an unmistakably London night out straight after dinner.

65a Brushfield street, Old Spitalfields Market, London, E1 6AA

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