Like a black-clad teenager at a family wedding, Redchurch Street has been lurking in the shadows, keen to hang on to indie credibility, but complicatedly eager for mainstream approval. Such has arrived recently in the form of a cute little APC shop, a suitably minimalist Aesop, and a rather oppressive branch of Aubin & Wills.
Not that these outposts of the big-brand world have dulled the little backstreet’s claim to being pretty much the coolest thoroughfare in all England, with its jazzed-up boozer (the Owl & Pussycat, once engagingly downbeat, now defiantly gastro), its outlier galleries and its growing number of brilliant shops and cafés.
Chief among these is the absurdly maximalist antique shop, Maison Trois Garçons, owned by the Loungelover chaps, whose delightfully over-the-top style is now available to buy, in all its furbelowed glory, for those with deep pockets and baroque tastes. If you’re more inclined to the austerity end of the market, the magnificent Labour and Wait has a flagship store on the street, selling nostalgic-authentic tea towels, hot-water bottles and feather dusters.
The corner bakery and deli with outdoor tables – our favourite bit of newish Conran boutique hotel the Boundary – Albion attracts fashion editors and other iPad-wielders with its comforting brunch classics such as (top-notch) kedgeree, devilled kidneys and the full English. Just up the road, locals are liking new Cafeand, which both sells great cakes and act as a showcase for emerging product designers and artists. With a new opening every few weeks (pop-ups are not exactly unheard of) Redchurch Street is growing fast – head there now, before it gets too sensible.
Our super six:
5a Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ (020 7729 7727; www.apc.fr)