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The best places to have lunch in Bow

With new cafes and lunch spots popping up in Bow, we thought that a roundup of the best places for lunch on Roman Road might come in handy.

Luckily for us, we live in a multicultural area so there is no need to get tired of the same old thing. With Carribean, Turkish, British, Cockney, Moroccan, and Italian options, we can travel the world without leaving the Roman. Looking for something healthy? Check. Craving something filling? Check. Want a cosy hub to escape your makeshift office? Check. Need to grab-and-go? … you get the drift. We’ve got all bases covered. Enjoy!

Jerk and Jollof

BEST FOR: NIGERIAN-CARRIBEAN FOOD

Big Narstie Grime MC and the owner of Jerk and Jollof, Chuks, standing outside the restaurant on Roman Road at its opening evening.
Owner of Jerk and Jollof, Chuks, and Big Narstie, at the restaurant’s opening evening. Image courtesy of Jerk and Jollof.

New to Roman Road, Jerk and Jollof is a Nigerian-Caribbean restaurant serving the locals and normies like Big Narstie. Introducing some delicious options like their highly praised tender goat curry or authentic Egusi, a nutty and spicy soup, the owner wants the residents of Roman Road to know what they’ve been missing.

Visit Jerk and Jollof at 464 Roman Rd, Bow, E3 5LU.

Nur Falafel

BEST FOR: MIDDLE-EASTERN ON THE GO

Owner, Rayan Farhan, standing outside Nur Falafel shop off Roman Road.

Nur Falafel is another great addition to Roman Road serving affordable Middle-Eastern delicacies. The owner provides quality food, sourcing his ingredients from Spitalfields and making falafels fresh for you to try. Gaining popularity among the locals, the £5.50 price tag isn’t the only thing to convince you to go.

Pop into Nur Falafel at 2A Libra Rd, Bow, E3 2HD.

Jungle Electric

BEST FOR: VEGAN BRUNCH

Jungle Electric Cafe on Roman Road.
Jungle Electric on Roman Road © Social Streets CIC

If you fancy a truly delicious vegan meal for lunch, Jungle Electric is the place. They have a great selection of hot food and fresh juices, not to mention how welcoming the owners, Chris and Alex, are. Hosting live music events and selling second-hand clothes, you might find something whilst you dig into their mac and ‘cheese’.

Visit Jungle Electric at 467, Roman Road, Bow, E3 5LX.

Randolfi’s

BEST FOR: CLASSIC SANDWICH OPTIONS

Roman Road has always kept a soft spot for Randolfi’s. The cafe has watched the world change since 1912, serving an array of staple sandwiches and hot food. Unchanged by time, Randolfi’s only takes cash so be prepared to pay for your Bovril, hot Ribena, or liver sausage with coins.

Pop into Randolfi’s at 514 Roman Rd, Old Ford, E3 5ES.

Coffee and Fripes

BEST FOR: BROWSING THE RAILS

Delicious sandwich from Coffee and Fripes

Enjoy a slice of French lifestyle, all while on The Roman at Coffee & Fripes.  Aïssatou Diallo, the French owner is working with vegan chef Kerran Kaur to offer a delicious vegan lunch menu for as little as £6.50 with food options that rotate weekly, between a variety of sandwiches, wraps, and salad bowls. She also sells homemade lemonade, vegan cakes, brownies and cookies for those with a sweet tooth. Selling a curated collection of vintage clothes, it’s the ideal spot for a quick and healthy lunch, with the excitement of some retail therapy.

Visit Coffee + Fripes at 512 Roman Road, E3 5ES.

Mae + Harvey

BEST FOR: PICTURE PERFECT LUNCH

The famous chicken sandwich at Mae + Harvey on Roman Road

With daily specials rustically hand-written on brown paper covering the walls, and delightful floral sprigs dotted on every table, Mae + Harvey is the picture-perfect lunchtime location. This shiny navy shop-front home is a must for their chicken sarni and Mae + Harvey has a range of equally delicious vegan and veggie dishes. They offer a seasonal breakfast and lunch menu during the week and an inventive brunch menu at the weekend.

Visit Mae + Harvey at 414 Roman Road, Bow, E3 5LU.

Café East

BEST FOR: LOCAL FAVE

Chefs preparing brunch at Cafe East on Roman Road
Photograph by Claire Watts

Let’s just say that the curling lunchtime queue speaks for itself. The hardworking chefs at Cafe East blend the traditional with the contemporary, putting their own mouth-watering twist on favourite ‘caff’ options. From the popping green of a perfectly ripe avocado to the dazzling red of clustered cherry vine tomatoes, dishes are presented as vibrant masterpieces to eat in or take away.

Pop into Cafe East at 426 Roman Road, Bow, E3 5LU.

G Kelly

BEST FOR: COCKNEY STAPLES

Cockney lunch pie and mash at GKelly on Roman Road

The East London legend of G Kelly’s pie and mash lives on. Steeped in the history of generations, black and white photos of the past hang nostalgically from freshly tiled walls and the gorgeous scent of pastry oozes from their open kitchen. Pies are assembled by hand and cooked on demand, landing on your plate steamingly fresh beside a comforting cushion of homemade mash. With the typical options of jellied eels and a drizzle of liquor (parsley sauce), this is the place to come for the true East End experience. 

Visit G Kelly at 526 Roman Road, London E3 5ES.

Sultan Sulfrasi

BEST FOR: MIDDLE-EASTERN MEATS

Turkish chicken soup at Sultan Sofrasi on Parnel Road in Bow

The cavernous family-run restaurant, at the end of Roman Road’s market, provides a whole lotta Turkish delight. As you enter, you are greeted by the warmth of their open-fire braziers and swooped upon by their helpful table staff. Lunch specials range from the traditional Turkish lahmacuns (thin pieces of dough topped with minced meat, minced vegetables and herbs) to scrummy soups partnered with bread and pickles. Their chicken soup is legendary and worth the trip alone.

Visit Sultan’s at 72 Parnell Road, Bow, E3 2RU.

Cafe Creme

BEST FOR: BROAD SELECTION

a bowl of lentil soup and a plate of salad and an open burger, Cafe Creme, Bow, East London
©Cafe Creme

This market-side cafe is a stalwart of the Roman, serving a wide selection of sandwiches and soups, chips and treats. Its salt-beef bagels are a great go-to for a tasty lunch: chewy, chunky and utterly moreish, with a gorgeous gentle kick from the mustard sauce. For a hearty lunch, try their classic steak pie with mash and peas. The cafe also caters for vegetarians and vegans and serves homemade lentil soup and falafel dishes. Whatever you choose, you’re bound to leave Cafe Creme happy and satisfied.

You can find Cafe Creme at 566 Roman Road, London E3 5ES.

We hope you enjoy our pick of lunch options. If you’re looking for a pub lunch (and maybe a cheeky pint) or a cafe for a coffee and delicate pastry, you might like out articles on the best pubs or the best coffee places near Roman Road.

For a fix of art and culture, try the coffee shops at Nunnery Gallery and St Margaret’s House. The Nunnery (181 Bow Road) offers a roasted red pepper soup and a mean vegan sausage sandwich. The Gallery Cafe (21 Old Ford Rd) has a varied vegan menu, including an all day breakfast burrito and superfood bowl.

Our local members

Ragged School Museum

The Yurt Café

Republic

The Bath House

Oxford House

Awen Cafe Bistro

Flat Earth Pizzas

Tuck Shop

Jungle Electric


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