Merchant's Tavern

36 Charlotte Road Shoreditch London EC2A 3PG

A lot has been written about Merchant’s Tavern: it was a hotly anticipated new opening in 2013 from the folk who brought you London Canteen (and it had Angela Hartnett on board), but in fact its initial rave reviews have not dimmed, and what's more its menu still feels fresh and original, and perfectly suited to its homely yet sophisticated environment – sort of posh warehouse, with a big open feel and comfy banquettes. For lunch you can have the choice of a pre-set meal or just choose from the menu, which is the same at lunch and dinner and seems mostly  to draw inspiration from Italian and French cuisine, with dishes that combine flavors from both but have a shot of earthy Britishness as well – such as roast quail, hazelnut pesto remoulade and foie gras and roast brill with anchovies and bread sauce. The atmosphere is great too, making it more of a place for a special night out than a routine dinner – indeed head chef Neil Borthwick worked previously at Michelin-starred places like The Square, and now delivers what is arguably Michelin-starred dining but at somewhat lower prices. And hey, if you're not hungry or just can't commit, just sit yourself in the cosy bar and work your way through the bar snacks – they're delicious.

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