Despite the nightlife scene there being slightly…overdone, it would be fair to say Shoreditch’s dining options have never been better than right now. Whether you want the Instagammable elegance of Gloria, ceviche brilliance at Andina or just a casual pizza at Homeslice, the variety of cuisine in this popular part of East London is arguably unmatched in the capital.

Apothecary East: The Lowdown

Another restaurant making moves in the area is Apothecary East, a Japanese izakaya (a place to stay and drink) and small plates spot on Charlotte Road. From the moment you enter, the feeling of being in a secret alleyway spot in Tokyo is overwhelming; a truly transportive experience made possible by fierce attention to detail on the interior, welcoming staff and a perfectly balanced menu of cocktails and sharing plates.

Apothecary East: Eat and Drink

We started with a recommended cocktail called The TDHS – a strong mix of three blended rums with apple and fennel, served long, and sure to put hairs on your chest. This unexpected mix of flavours perhaps best encapsulates Apothecary East’s innovative cocktail list, with the selection being remarkably minimal but each drink having unrivalled creative elements brought into play. Other examples include a smoky take on a Margarita featuring sweet Yuzu Kushu and chilli liqueur, and the Apothecary Highball, combining sharp Japanese whiskey with peach, elderflower, citrus and soda. For those looking for something unique in their drinking choices, Apothecary East delivers uniqueness in spades.

Onto the food, the menu embraces a vast mix of Japanese cuisine from all sides of the country. Skewers of A4 Wagyu beef were chock full of flavour and melted in the mouth, while the spicy tuna sushi rolls were legitimately some of the best we’ve ever had – finding the perfect mix of fiery heat and smooth texture and umami. The lotus root crisps were remarkably simple and effective addition; light in style but immensely flavoursome, almost sitting as a palate cleanser between each small plate.

We always feel the true test of a Japanese restaurant is its miso aubergine, and thankfully this didn’t disappoint. Bringing just the right amount of sweetness into play, the sesame seeds added a much-needed crunch against the oozing softness of the slow-cooked aubergine – in short, we’d eat this for every meal if we could.

Other menu highlights included the Japanese fried chicken, which every table in the restaurant seemed to order a plate of (and for good reason, sitting in the ideal middle ground with a juicy inside and crispy coating… the Colonel eat your heart out). Classics including blackened salmon, chilli edamame, and BBQ Short Rib Hirata buns were cooked to perfection, emphasising the delightfully vast flavour choices across their extensive, but well-formed menu.

An ideal spot for a quick drink and some snacks or a long night of cocktails and conversation, Apothecary East has effortlessly staked its claim as the new go-to spot in Shoreditch. Book now, you won’t regret it.

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36 Charlotte Rd, London EC2A 3PG