Lalaland: Old Dinerama site reborn as new street food market

·2-min read
City oasis: the entrance to Lalaland  (Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
City oasis: the entrance to Lalaland (Nic Crilly-Hargrave)

The enormous site once occupied by Dinerama is being reborn as a brand new street food market.

The Soho Restaurant Group — who, among others, operate Mediterranean restaurant Joan and Soho diner Ruby’s — will open the 25,000sq ft space in Shoreditch on May 13; it was originally slated to get going last August.

Lalaland, which mercifully is nothing to do with the Oscar-stealing film, will boast 11 food stands, four bars, regular live music and DJs, as well as a karaoke bar, a rooftop terrace and even a waterfall with palm trees. There will also be, dotted about, an array of lounges.

Among the food vendors will be slow-roasted poultry gang, The Duck Shed, new Trinidadian specialist Saga Boy, Fireyard BBQ — who cook with a Texas smoker — and RockIT, who do Indian-inspired fusion food. Other names include GuaBao, Wangz, the Little Pasta Co, Tucka Burgers and Hot Chixx.

Dinerama, which was among the most popular of London’s street markets, closed in October 2020 after five years trading; it had begun as a spin-off of Street Feast, and helped launch the likes of Breddos Tacos and Smokestak. It closed at a similar time to its sister, Milk & Honey, the stalwart drinking den in Soho that shut after 18 years with founder Jonathan Downey blaming “death by curfew.”

The Soho Restaurant Group look to be attempting to recreate something of Dinerama’s original vibe and mimic its success. A spokesperson for the group said in a release: “Our vision is to create an unforgettable, sublime experience, to be enjoyed anytime during the day and into the evening, over and over again; right in the heart of the capital.

They contintued: “It’s about providing an extraordinary space where people can come together — whether in small groups, or hiring the whole venue for a private party — to explore delicious food, drink and memorable music, set against a cool, interactive backdrop. It’s also great to bring to fruition a venture that benefits the hospitality industry —with its many new employment opportunities — as well as drawing visitors, seeking new, exciting experiences, to the area.”

The news comes as London seems to be embracing food halls and markets once more. Last week saw the relaunch of Arcade Food Hall, while Boxpark have announced their first opening in the city, and there is talk of a new food hall called Alkebulan opening this year, which will celebrate African cuisine.

Lalaland will open on May 13 at 19 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EJ. For more information visit lalalandlondon.com

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