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Not long ago the Bangladeshi community centred around this long street were just another east London curio; now Brick Lane is a novel, a Hollywood movie, a culinary landmark and a by-word for London’s multi-cultural integration.
Turn left out of Aldgate East tube station and you’re immediately transported to another world: sitars and calls to prayer drift through the air, mingling with heady aromas from the wall-to-wall curry houses – even the street signs, in English and Bangladeshi, have an exotic air.
Brick Lane is a pilgrimage for food lovers and rightly so – everything from sickly-sweet deserts and quick bite samosas to fully authentic five course south Indian banquets are available, and each restaurant comes equipped with a street waiter who’ll try and persuade you, in a friendly way, that their wares are the best on the strip.
Often the finest food – where the locals eat – is in the least well-presented places; there’s unflashy but fantastic kitchens along Brick Lane, down side streets and near the mosques in the area, but basically the standard is very high all round.
It’s also a centre of art, creativity and fashion: as well as the fantastic Sunday morning market, there’s a plentitude of young designers and some of the capital’s most iconic Banksy graffiti – round off a shopping trip with a bite from the legendary 24 hour Brick Lane Bagel Bake.
And then there’s the nightlife: Dray Walk is home to Rough Trade Records, a number of star fashion houses and the outstanding Big Chill Bar (91 Brick Lane, 020 7392 9180, www.bigchill.net), outside of which hundreds of London’s trendiest gather during the summer months.
93 Feet East (150 Brick Lane, 020 7247 3293) is a club-cum-music-venue and a hipster hangout with few parallels in the city – drink, dance, enjoy some of the capital’s freshest sounds and lap up the company of east London’s coolest folk.
The nearest tube stations to Brick Lane are Aldgate East, Shoreditch and Liverpool Street. Opening in 2010, the nearest London Overground station will be Shoreditch High Street station.
|Aldgate East Station||1||Hammersmith & City - District||0.71 miles|
|Whitechapel Station||2||District - East London - Hammersmith & City||0.80 miles|
|Liverpool Street Station||1||Metropolitan - Central - Circle line - Hammersmith & City||0.89 miles|
|Aldgate Station||1||Metropolitan - Circle line||0.89 miles|
|Old Street Station||1||Northern||1.17 miles|
|London Liverpool Street Station||0.79 miles|
|Cambridge Heath Station||0.80 miles|
|Bethnal Green Station||0.85 miles|
|Old Street Station||1.16 miles|
|Fenchurch Street Station||1.24 miles|