Upstairs from the busy, crowded pub below, East London welcomed us to a chilled out, warm restaurant with wooden booths and and some amazing cocktails. The vibe was cool, and I could tell we were in for some great food as the smells floating around were mouthwatering.

First, drinks. Being obsessed with espresso martinis, I had to give their salted caramel espresso martini a go, and it did not disappoint. I find a lot of the time the balance between alcohol, sweetness and coffee isn’t quite right, but this version was perfectly smooth.

We also ordered a coconut and lemongrass sour from the Asian-inspired cocktail menu, and the addition of coconut cream on top made all the difference. A must try!

Now for the food. I’d describe the menu as Asian-style tapas, with a Chinese influence; lots of different small dishes that are designed to share.

We went for the pork san choi bow, wontons, shu mai, duck buns and duck pancakes (because you can never have too much duck).

San choi bow is always a winner, and the crunchy, salty, spicy and fresh combination of pork mince and almonds made it a great start to our meal. We’d also heard a lot of good things about their wontons and they proved their worth – these were my favourite dish of the night.

Then there were the duck pancakes. I always look out for these on the menu, as they’re one of my favourite things to eat, but I’d never had them like this before. The addition of pickled cucumber to the regular accoutrements made these duck pancakes a step above all the others I’ve tried in my time. Another must try.

If you’re after the perfect date night, girls night or relaxed weekend dinner venue, a place where you can order yum cha style classics with the addition of great cocktails, East London in Paddington is it. We can’t wait to go back.

-Arielle O’Neill / Instagram. The writer was hosted at East London for the purposes of review. Images provided by East London.

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