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What's the deal?
If you were going to invent a place that was peak Shoreditch, Apothecary might be it. Low-throbbing house music? Check. Moody, tonal interiors? Check. A group-friendly, cocktails-and-sharing-plates concept? Check. Bottomless brunch on weekends? It’s an E1 bingo!
Apothecary brings a new twist to the Shoreditch restaurant scene, however, by billing itself as a full-fledged izakaya. What this means is that the menu is composed of snackable, chopstick-friendly dishes that make ideal booze mates, like salty lotus-root crisps or lightly-battered fried chicken. Equal emphasis is placed on the drinks menu: nine pages strong and composed of house cocktails, sake and umeshu (plum liqueur), beer (both Japanese and domestic), and whiskey (Scottish, American, Irish, and Japanese), plus your requisite wine and classic spirits.
The drinks can’t really be faulted – hats off to the mixology team for pulling together a perfectly crowd-pleasing, lightly challenging cocktail list that makes creative use of Japanese spirits and flavour combinations (try the light and citrusy Zen Garden as a pre-dinner aperitif, which comes with a quite adorable origami bird perched on the glass rim). Food is more hit and miss, but there are quite a few redeeming dishes that make Apothecary a worthy stopover, mostly from the “snacks” and “tempura and fried” sections of the menu. There’s also sushi, if you’re that way inclined.
What it all amounts to is a very decent spot to stumble into with colleagues, or for a dangerously boozy weekday catch-up with friends. DJs on Fridays and Saturdays ensure things stay lively on the weekends – but you’re already feeling lively after two sake cocktails, aren’t you?
What should I order?
The chilli edamame should be your first stop. An ideal boozy meal opener, the green pods come in a gloopy, vinegary sauce with just enough heat and umami to make it an addictive snack.
A meatless alternative to chicken wings, the grilled cauliflower comes browned on the grill over an inky black pool of citrusy sesame sauce. It’s a standout from the “vegetables” menu section.
The black sesame ice cream makes even more excellent use of that dark, nutty seed. Jet black as the restaurant’s central bar, it comes in as many scoops as you fancy, and makes for a tasty little closer.
Why should I go?
For elevated Shoreditch vibes and a very agreeable booze menu.
With so much going on at Apothecary East, the sensible option is surely to sample a little of (almost) everything with a Sakura Highball Brunch. Available at weekends for £35 per person, this enticing selection features sushi rolls for the table to share (or just for whoever gets there first), followed by choice picks from the menu, including gyoza dumplings, miso aubergine, yakisoba noodles and mochi to top it all off.
Fancy accompanying that lot with bottomless cocktails? Of course you do, so pay the extra £27.50 and enjoy 90 minutes of premium tipples, including the Yuzu Gin-Gin (featuring – yep – yuzu and gin) and the Sakura Hai, featuring bourbon, cherry liqueur and blossom bitters. Or keep it trad with prosecco and Bloody Marys. Head straight to apothecaryeast.co.uk/bottomless-brunch-shoreditch to book-in a brunch slot and you’ll feel like you’ve already won the weekend.
36 Charlotte Road, EC2A 3PG