Establishment neighborhood
Som Saa
43a Commercial St., Whitechapel
With its fan base firmly established after years of popping up in small cafe's in Peckham and then Shoreditch, Som Saa has since settled down into a cozy space with wooden tables and exposed brick walls, remained jam packed with walk-ins, and been nearly impossible to book. The reason: uber-spicy Northern Thai curries, soups, and salads that simply surpass most all the other Thai spots in London. Their Burmese-style curry and fresh, green papaya salad alone will make the standard pad thai a thing of the past.
New Road Hotel
103-107 New Rd., Whitechapel
The store Hostem is among the most avant-garde in London, at least when it comes to fashion, so when owners James Brown and Christie Fels turned their impeccable eye to decorating, we pricked our ears. Located in a Georgian house in Whitechapel, they've created a deeply moody and beautiful, totally shoppable space that houses six for any number of days. The pantry is stocked with items from gourmet shop Leila's, the wine cupboard with a selection by the team behind Primeur, the kitchen is completely functional with wares by cult shop Labour & Wait, the rooms are decorated with pieces by Faye Toogood, Hans Wegner, and more: In short, only the best. It's a veritable dream of what East London living can be.
Taberna do Mercado (Closed)
3 Old Spitalfields Market, Whitechapel
Chef Nuno Mendes shot to fame with the opening of the ever-so-scene-y restaurant at the Chiltern Firehouse—namely for his crab-filled doughnuts. At Mendes' follow-up, Taberna do Mercado, the concept is almost the antithesis of his glitzy, star-filled restaurant at the Chiltern. Here, in a whitewashed space decorated (or rather, undecorated) in simple wooden, country-style furnishings, Mendes and head chef Antonio Galapito are re-creating the food of Mendes' childhood memories in his native Portugal. In a sense, it's homestyle cuisine, but served up anew in the chef's trademark molecular gastronomy style. It's a tiny, well-priced menu accompanied by an extensive selection of excellent Portuguese wines and fortified wines.
11 White's Row, Whitechapel
Fancified Indian seems to be the trend in London at the moment, with more and more modernized, gourmet offerings popping up right and left all over town. One of the standouts is this new spot that's serving up homestyle Indian in a cleverly restored ex-curry house. Here, small plates made for sharing like the Chettinad Pulled Duck and the Spicy Venison and Vermicelli Doughnut are the creation of their chef Nirmal Save of the Oberoi in Mumbai. Fun fact: The name Gunpowder is a fun twist as it happens to be located right near London's old artillery and is also a reference to the classic spice mix of the same name.