Pop-ups to permanent

Some pop-ups are so good, they stay up.

God bless the pop-up. And, in a way, God bless the financial crisis that created them (aside from all the joblessness n' all...)

The financial slump saw cash-strapped foodie businesses struggling to stump up rents for restaurants and so a crafty generation of business folk took to the streets, their vans, buses, disused industrial buildings and other locations to host restaurant pop-ups. And we're darned glad that they did.

Some of the pop-ups were in such demand that they spilled over into permanent full-time establishments. Here are some of our favourites...




The Clove Club
380 Old Street EC1V 9LT
Region: Shoreditch
Nearest Station: Bethnal Green (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: After their highly acclaimed stint at Upstairs at the Ten Bells it was clear their first permanent restaurant would be a hit. When they took over the restaurant at Shoreditch Town Hall hipsters, critics and foodies flocked there; two years on they’re still drawing in the punters with their five course set menu. Here British ingredients are used to create modern dishes like braised leek with smoked mussels and lemon balm.

  • BRITISH
  • 13/100
Boopshi's
31 Windmill Street W1T 2JN
Region: Fitzrovia
Nearest Station: Goodge Street (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Austrian food is comfort food – those schnitzels, creamy potato salads and strudels are perfect for cold nights and hungover mornings. The guys at Boopshi’s have made cool a cuisine usually associated with yodelling and lederhosen by includingfashionable options like smoked eel with bitter leaves, whole globe artichoke, Prosecco and cocktails.

  • AUSTRIAN
Meat Liquor
76 Welbeck Street W1G 0BA
Region: Marylebone
Nearest Station: Bond Street (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The pop-up that started it all, elevated burgers to gourmet status and became London’s most talked about restaurant. The enterprise begun life with the Meatwagon,trawlingthrough pub gardens, before launching the #MEATEASY pop up at The Goldsmiths Tavern in New Cross. MeatLiquor was their first permanent eatery, and after opening four other London branches they’re now in the process of rolling it out nationwide. Make no mistake, this is naughty, sinful junk food – oversized, messy burgers, fries topped with cheese and deep fried pickles are their signatures.

  • AMERICAN
  • USERS 9/10
Pitt Cue Co
1 The Avenue EC2M 4YP
Region: The City
Nearest Station: Aldgate (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Although London was already familiar with American BBQ delights such as smoky ribs, pulled pork and gigantic portions thanks to places like Bodeans, there’s no doubt that Pitt Cue Co began a trend that would spawn dozens of knock-offs. Their tiny Soho eatery regularly attracts long queues of people prepared to wait for their super tender ox cheek, pulled pork buns and smoked feather blade.

  • AMERICAN
  • 4/100
  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 8/10
Pizza Pilgrims
11 Dean Street W1D 3RP
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: One day two brothers jacked in their day jobs and decided to go on a pizza-tasting tour of Italy. When they returned they bought a van and installed a wood-fired oven inside it; Pizza Pilgrims was born. After taking their Neapolitan pizzas to festivals and street food markets for a year they opened their first restaurant on Dean Street. There’s no messing about with fusion cooking here; Pilgrims’ pizzas stick to authentic recipes with ingredients shipped in from Naples.

  • ITALIAN
  • USERS 10/10
Patty & Bun
54 James Street W1U 1HE
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Bond Street (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The capital’s burger craze has resulted in fanatics trawling through London’s fast food joints,competing with each other to find the softest bun and the juiciest patty. Countless blogs and newspaper articles have been devoted to the cause, and one place that always rates highly is Patty & Bun, in no small part for producing some of the messiest 10-napkin burgers in town. They also do a good line in inspired toppings, such as buttermilk courgettes and chipotle mayo.

  • AMERICAN
  • USERS 9/10
Homeslice
13 Neal's Yard WC2H 9DP
Region: Covent Garden
Nearest Station: Covent Garden (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Where other pizzerias ensure they produce true Neapolitan pizzas (see Pizza Pilgrims), Homeslice mix it up with British ingredients, so you’ll find combinations like Calabrian peppers with chervil and Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, and goat shoulder with kale. Having built their own oven and taken it to places like the King’s Cross Filling Station and the London Fields Brewery, they’ve now settled in their permanent home in Neal’s Yard.

  • AMERICAN
Rita's Bar and Dining
175 Mare Street E8 3RH
Region: London Fields
Nearest Station: London Fields (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: This typically hip East London venture co-owned by Jackson Boxer of Brunswick House previously had a residency at Dalston bar Birthdays, and is now permanentlylocated in London Fields. The menu has comfort food from around the world, so you’re just as likely to find buttermilk fried chicken as meatballs Marinara and corn tortillas with braised lamb.Other indicators of hipdom: loud music and the odd celeb like Bianca Jagger casually munching on bavette with chimichurri.

    Senor Ceviche
    1st Floor Kingly Court W1B 5PW
    Region: Soho
    Nearest Station: Oxford Circus (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: Up until four years ago Peruvian food was practically unheard of over here, but with a strong street food tradition and stronger drinks such as the pisco sour it was only a matter of time before it arrived with a bang. Señor Ceviche began popping up at nightclubs, bars and cultural events until taking the plunge last year with a colourful venue on Kingly Court. Naturally the main draw are the ceviches, but don’t miss barbecue specialities like beef anticuchos (skewers) and the 12-hour slow cooked Pachamanca pork rib.

    • SOUTH AMERICAN
    • OUR REVIEW 8/10
    Bunnychow
    74 Wardour Street W1F 0TE
    Region: Soho
    Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: More than just a cute name, the bunny chow is a food invented by Indian immigrants in 1940s South Africa. It’s essentially a sturdy loaf of bread, hollowed out and filled with curry ingredients; to eat you simply tear off bits of bread and dip in the curry. After a successful stint at ‘permanent pop-up mall’ Boxpark they’ve opened an eatery in Soho, where the menu has piri pulled pork and Full English bunniesas well as the more traditional mutton curry and spicy chicken with mango chutney options.

    • AFRICAN
    • OUR REVIEW 6/10


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