If you’ve got a couple of days in central London and need a steer on where to eat, try one of these hotspots, writes Shandelle Battersby.

This is the third restaurant from chef owners Sam and Sam Clark, who already run two very successful venues in Exmouth, Moro and Morito. Their Hackney premises, which offers the same style of innovative tapas referencing Southern Spain, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, is larger. Wines, which you can order in stylish bauble carafes, mostly come from mainland Spain and Portugal, though there are a couple from the Canary Islands. The menu changes daily but if you can, order the fried eggplant with date molasses and feta for 7 ($12.70), and the chicharrones - crispy pork belly (7.50). 196 Hackney Rd.

Ropewalk, Maltby Lane

This is a very cool part of Bermondsey under its Victorian railway arches, which is home to Lassco, a salvage and antiques proprietor similar to Ponsonby's Flotsam & Jetsam. On weekends there is a pop-up bar at the store, and a vibrant food market running the length of Maltby St. Also definitely worth a visit is the restaurant and bar at No40, in the warehouse of Gergovie Wines, which serves up an ever-changing menu of innovative, incredible food.

Try the sweet pancakes at Greenwich Market, London. Photo / 123RF
Try the sweet pancakes at Greenwich Market, London. Photo / 123RF

Down a nondescript street in Bethnal Green you'll find Bistrotheque, an uber-chic French restaurant in a former warehouse. Think stark white decor and a big open oval bar (Manchichi) serving superb cocktails (we recommend the Cucumber and Strawberry Flip: Gin, cucumber, strawberry and lemon, 9).

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Broadway and Greenwich Markets

Hackney is also home to Broadway Market, a shopping and food street that has operated as a marketplace since the 1890s. Open every Saturday from 9am-5pm, you'll find a wide array of street food as well as fresh produce.

A fun day trip is to catch the Thames Clipper to Greenwich for its market, on every day from 10.30am-5.30pm. Set within a World Heritage site, this market has been running since 1737.

The Towpath Cafe

The days of bad coffee in London are long gone, with scores of cafes now offering flat whites on a par with any good New Zealand cafe. The Towpath Cafe, on Regent's Canal at Haggerston is one of the best in the area. Set in four narrow units that formerly housed boats, this is a prime spot for people-watching. And check out the range of chutneys, they'll blow your mind.