Sometimes you just need to take a day off. Forget work, forget all the life admin you’ve been jotting down on your to-do list in the Notes app of your iPhone. Sometimes you just need to ask a friend if they’re free to spend the day with you, and go have some fun.
Last Friday I did exactly that, and spent the day in Shoreditch with my friend Jo. For those that don’t know, Shoreditch is one of my all time favourite areas in London. For years I used to tell everyone I was going to take a sabbatical from the leafy, quiet neighbourhood of Fulham, and go live it up in East London. It never happened, but it’s a part of London I’ve returned to time and time again.
We met at Old Street Station mid-morning and walked down the road to Ozone Coffee Roasters. I love this place and not just because it’s owned by kiwis. The building is magnificent for a start. I have regular monthly meetings here as part of the New Zealand Business Women’s Network I belong to in London, and it doesn’t matter how many times I walk through the doors, I’m always blown away by the amazing interior. A mix of industrial and modern, to me it has a very New York feel, and I just love it!
Ozone is a roaster, coffee bar and eatery. On Friday we had coffee only, however I need to recommend that you visit for a meal sometime and that you try the following: Braised wagyu mince on toast with Essex smoked cheddar & piccalilli (sorry Vegetarians!). This dish is available from 7am-4pm and it is SO DAMN GOOD! I know mince on toast might be a weird concept to some of you, but this is a completely normal meal to those of us from New Zealand, and I advise you not to knock it till you try it. This is the best version of mince on toast I’ve ever eaten. EVER.
Drinks drunk, we wandered in the direction of popular Shoreditch cafe The Attendant. Our stomach’s were rumbling, so it was time to eat something delicious.
Another beautiful spot, The Attendant is a calm space amongst the edgier vibe you find outside on the streets of Shoreditch. The cafe has plants hanging everywhere, there’s even a living plant wall running the length of the cafe.
We sat down and looked over the menu, both settling on avocado smash with turmeric hummus, cinnamon toasted pumpkin seeds, watercress and red amaranth piled high on toast (gluten free toast is available, and it tasted good!). The whole meal was delicious and felt like I was doing something good for my body.
Fuelled up with food, we paused for a little snap on their seats outside, which are also great for ordering a coffee and watching the world go by, and then we continued on our journey around Shoreditch.
The one thing Shoreditch is never short of is street art. Some of the biggest names in the street art world have left their mark on walls and buildings in the neighbourhood, and every time I’m in the area I see something new and interesting. For those of you that love street art, there are some great tours to sign up to online.
We wandered along Redchurch Street, which is full of amazing boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Some favourites being The Modern Society – a boutique full of fashion, art, and a cute little coffee bar, Labour and Wait – a store selling wonderfully timeless goods from kitchenware to household accessories and stationery, Barber and Parlour – a very edgy looking building that houses a cinema, a cafe & bar, a beauty parlour and a hair salon.
I’d seen these grey-black ice creams before on previous Shoreditch visits, but I was yet to try one. Jo and I decided to live life on the edge and order a charcoal coconut soft serve each. I mean, are these the most Instagrammable ice creams or what?! And who knew, it actually tasted really good! If charcoal coconut is pushing the boat out too far for you, there’s a bunch of other amazing flavours and you can surround your soft serve in a cloud of candy floss, top it with toasted marshmallows or have them sprinkle on popping candy. The world is your sugary oyster at Soft Serve Society.
On a sugar high, I knew just the place we needed to head to next. Dark Sugars on Brick Lane. If you love chocolate you’ll adore this store. Full to the brim with the most eye catching chocolates, truffles, chocolate dipped fruits and other cocoa based goodies, it’s really hard to resist buying something.
And we definitely didn’t resist. We picked out some favourites to enjoy over the weekend. My bag of treats was empty by midday Saturday ;o) Side note: get the passionfruit chocolate when you visit. It’s too good.
The late afternoon was upon us before we knew it, so we decided on one last stop for the day. A drink at The Gallery Bar in the Ace Hotel. I love the Ace. As long as you are someone that doesn’t mind a swarm of Macbook Freelancers sitting in the lobby using the free Wifi, and you love a good design hotel, then you’ll like the Ace. We sipped our drinks and discussed our weekend plans, before wandering slowly back to the tube station to head home.
There are soooo many fun, quirky and interesting things to do in Shoreditch. From the food, to the shopping to the excellent people watching, I never get tired of the neighbourhood. How could you? It’s forever evolving and opening something new and hip that has me returning to discover.
The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.