Merchant's Tavern

35-42 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, London

All In London Says...

Top tip: the valve amplifier and vinyl set-up here blesses the bar with the sort of warmth of sound that stereo-fans go crazy for. And the bar looks like the ultimate 60s bachelor pad.

All In London

The Merchant Tavern has the sweetener of one of the most attractive stereo setups in London soundtracking the bar

Merchant\'s Tavern picture

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Address:35-42 Charlotte Road
Map:Map & nearby
Nearest Station:Old Street
Opening Hours:

Mon:11:00 - 00:00
Tue:11:00 - 00:00
Wed:11:00 - 00:00
Thu:11:00 - 00:00
Fri:11:00 - 00:00
Sat:11:00 - 00:00
Sun:11:00 - 22:00
About: Merchant's Tavern is backed by Canteen, with a menu devised by Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick (The Square).

Related Businesses

Nearby alternatives

  1. Bar Music Hall (0.0 miles)
    Curtain Road, EC2A 3AR
  2. Kitchen Counter at Merchants Tavern (0.0 miles)
    Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3PG
  3. Bull In A China Shop (0.1 miles)
    Shoreditch High Street, Shadwell, E1 6LG

Try This...

"The Merchant Tavern has the sweetener of one of the most attractive stereo setups in London soundtracking the bar"

Review Rating: 8 / 10
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When a bar is this great – in the heart of Shoreditch – then why visit the Angela Hartnett restaurant in the same establishment? Well, the truth is, we only went to the bar because we were on the lookout for what we’d heard was one of the most desirable looking sound systems in town. What we found at the Merchant Tavern was a bar that takes its mid-century style and its music as seriously as its restaurant takes its food.

For those who have been around a while, memories of the old Cantaloupe bar that was previously in this location might come flooding back. However, the future is much brighter than the past, the Merchant Tavern, with its chic little bar, parquet floor, rich wood and exposed brickwork is like stepping into the sixties – as styled by an interior designer who wanted to make the sixties look as seductive as possible.

Hosting the never-ending installation, Spiritland, the Merchant Tavern has the sweetener of one of the most attractive stereo setups in London. Featuring a modified Technics turntable (with vinyl display stand), free standing Tannoy floor speakers and a top of the range amp with Triode tubes to keep the analogue sounds at their warmest, the nightly DJs probably feel a little blessed to be playing through such equipment. And the bar seems to agree. While it has its share of city suits, there is a mixed clientele, clearly out to see a bar that’s doing something different.

If you decide to book for the restaurant and enjoy the dark green leather of its circular booths, we can assure you of only one thing; that the deep fried oysters are worth a go. They are the only nibbles we sample – in the bar - as we work our way through a few of the bar’s excellent cocktails (try the lip-smackingly dry Eastern Trace) followed by a Camden Town Brewery Pale Ale to finish the night.

Replacing the once hip Cantaloupe of the past, The Merchant Tavern has nailed the present perfectly, and the future too because we’ll be going back for sure.

T.A.O reviewed Merchant's Tavern on Sun 10 Apr 2016
Review disclosure: reviewed anonymously

"A relaxed and informal dining environment with excellent food"

Review Rating: 7 / 10
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Reviewed by

As with any new and trendy establishment, various people had mentioned this place to me and noted the rave reviews. So I was fortunate that a business colleague had booked it for lunch.

It’s in the centre of the highly popular eating and entertainment area around Great Eastern Street – so it has plenty of competition, but it may have found its niche for the business market. It has a strong legacy – Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthnick of Connaught, Murano and Canteen fame.

Whilst it is located in a former Victoria warehouse and apothecary, it looks and feels like a pub. A smart one mind. As you enter, you are greeted with the aroma of wood smoke from a stove located in the bar area where you can enjoy a range of snacks.

The dining area is on the other side of the bar and is open so the transition is seamless. The tables are fairly standard wood and the cutlery decidedly plain and workmanlike. We were seated at a table that was placed along a green leather banquette beneath a conservatory-like roof that enabled the wintry daylight to filter through. It wasn’t particularly busy for a Friday lunchtime and most other diners appeared to be business folk.

There was an extensive wine list but we choose a carafe of Muscadet (£22) and requested some tap water. The waiter (who were all in shirt sleeves rather than jackets) was young and enthusiastic – possibly from somewhere in the North. We liked that he provided the prices as he described the specials. There was a set menu (£18 for two courses and £21 for three) but the options were limited.

I was pleased with my starter of white onion and chestnut risotto (£7.50) – the rice had the right degree of bite, it was creamy and had a pleasant flavour with a sprinkling of chives. The fragments of chestnut gave a nice texture but there weren’t many. The upside was that it was a generous portion and I wondered whether I’d be able to eat the rest of my meal.

My companion had chosen a magnificent option - roast quail, hazelnut pesto, remoulade and Foie Gras (£9.50). As she tasted each element another contrasting flavour and texture was revealed. She was utterly delighted with her adventure which included red cabbage and celeriac. The quail leg and breast fillet were cooked beautifully – lightly pink and melty soft. She declared the sauce amazing.

We had both chosen the same main course - roast Halibut, ham hock, leek fondue, romanesco and chicken broth (£19). It was served in a mottled stone bowl which we thought detracted from the presentation. It seemed almost Japanese. It was an interesting mixture of delicate moist fish (with a parsley glaze), kernels of ham nestled in smooth leeks and the chicken broth. It was fresh and light. The side of creamed potato (£3.50) was served in a tiny pan and was a little disappointing – watery and unseasoned and not creamy at all. More a puree.

My companion selected the blood orange posset (£8.50) for dessert and found the sharpness of the syrupy fruit well contrasted with the sweetness of the cream. She didn’t eat the little chocolate biscuit accompaniment.

Two warm madeleines arrived with my espresso (served in a fabulous red cup and saucer) and my companion found these to be excellent.

The bill came to £104.63 inclusive of an optional service charge.

Whilst there were some wonderful surprises – like that quail starter – I couldn’t quite decide whether it was an upmarket gastropub or a great culinary team in an ordinary pub. Either way, it offers a relaxed and informal dining environment with excellent food on the upcoming destination outskirts of the City, I couldn’t help wondering how the ambience might change for the evening.

KimT reviewed Merchant's Tavern on Mon 13 Jan 2014

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