The Institute of Light

4.4
34 reviews
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£25 and under
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Japanese
Top tags:
  • Good for a Date
  • Neighbourhood Gem
  • Cosy
The Institute of Light is a one-stop cultural hub set in an enigmatic railway arch close to London Fields. A multi-sensory space containing a private screening cinema, vinyl record store, and an evening audio lounge serving cocktails & delicious Hiroshima style okonomiyaki. All under one majestic roof.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Japanese, Okonomiyaki, Izakaya
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Hours of Operation
Wed–Sat 18:00–22:00
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Phone number
020 7249 6919
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Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress Code
Casual Dress
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Public Transit
London Fields station
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Beer Garden, Cafe, Cocktails, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Outdoor dining , Outdoor Smoking Area, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 34 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.2
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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CK
London
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and surroundings were great, would highly recommend

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OT
London
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Okonomiyaki was pretty great, also good value with the special offer.

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AT
London
3 reviews
Dined on 21 November 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Super tasty and interesting Japanese food. Glad that Shu Foh Doo has found a new kitchen!

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KC
London
6 reviews
Dined on 17 November 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Top setting and food to match, pork and chicken wings starters were the two highlights, and the deep fried oysters. (Not forgetting the okonomiyaki of course) Music was ace too, all in all think this spot has got it bang on. Highly recommended.

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LS
London
1 review
Dined on 16 November 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Really cool venue with great tunes but let down by poor food and inattentive service. Music was also quite loud... Am I getting old, or was it really just a bit too loud... Thankfully they were really good beats so didn't mind too much

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c
London
1 review
Dined on 7 November 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

obscure back street location only adds to the surprise inside. excellent music, sound, food, service & ambience.

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F
London
1 review
Dined on 1 November 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the vegan japanese food, an amazing bar! Highly reccomend to anyone

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LO
London
27 reviews
Dined on 19 October 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

Early days but so far, so good. The vegan platter and the chicken wings were delicious. The onomiyaki wasn't quite as good as I've had in Japan - it's a regional style so there's more cabbage and a thin crepe at the bottom rather than the rice flour version. It's OK but maybe an acquired taste. Three of us couldn't finish any of them, so unless you're ravenous skip the wings and platter and just order an onomiyaki if you're curious. Wine list was very limited (one offering of red, white, orange and a rose) and the beer we wanted was off (which is odd as the Five Points distribution centre is walking distance). The cocktail I ordered was delicious though, and nice to have a BBE DJ playing tunes.

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SR
London
89 reviews
Dined on 21 April 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

When we arrived it was not clear who or where we had to check in. We were ignored by staff so we walked out. Huge queue for the bar so we could not ask there.

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JW
London
9 reviews
Dined on 30 March 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

We were greatly looking forward to out visit as the the kitchen is currently being taken over by Zoe Adjonyoh. However, whilst the food that we had was ok, we felt it was massively over priced. Some of the dishes were great value like the whole baked Tilapia but then the dish if meat balls was tiny. 5 little balls of meat each no bigger than an olive and luke warm. again three skewers of tiny meat strips for nearly a tenner was not sufficient to impress.
All in all the food was ok but the execution wasn't great and was not enough to get me to rush back anytime soon.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 16 September 2017
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 2

I've been for dinner few times at this restaurant and I've been really happy. Service was very good and the food was amazing, however my experience at Saturday lunch has been very bad. The restaurant was extremely cold and even though in the whole restaurant there were just my friend and I, service took long to come just to us some menus. After that we felt like we've been pushed to make a decision very quickly. The food arrived half cold and the other half took not long to become cold thanks to the very low temperature there was in there. I ate as quick as I could and left without enjoying what could have been a nice lunch.
I will definitely try to go there again for dinner hoping it will still be same service/quality they used to have, but I wouldn't recommend anyone to go there for lunch or at least not on a Saturday lunch.

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LO
London
27 reviews
Dined on 16 August 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Current food residence is BBQ - the pork bun was delicious, really good salad and smoked chicken wings. Sadly the fries were off the night we went and the corn wasn't anything special. Pals ordered the lamb "gyros" which was like a slab of lamb meatloaf in a bun, they said is was OK but wasn't as good as the pork. Great service and really good atmosphere. Short wine list and 5 Points beer on tap.

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NH
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 29 July 2017
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

We weren't able to enjoy our reservation because the venue had a private event but hadn't blocked off the time slots. We had to find another space

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PB
New York Area
25 reviews
Dined on 8 July 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Really pleased with this cool, fun spot. Beautiful outdoor seating and really innovative small plates. It was a perfect Saturday night out.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 5 July 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Splendid in every sense. Booking, welcome and seating professionally handled. No rush to eat or drink, but orders nevertheless arrive promptly when bidden. Helpful, friendly and knowledgeable waiting staff. Adventurous seasonal menu prepared by a changing rota of specialist chefs, on this occasion showcasing the almost-unknown (in the UK) food of Muslim China, Hunan and Sezchuan -but throughout July, modern British/American barbecue. Good cocktail list, excellent Five Point beers on draught. The wine list is slowly showing improvement from when the venue first opened, but needs to be more varied and diverse, please! Plenty of dogs and children, too, all made welcome, exactly as they should be. And..unrestricted & plentiful parking immediately outside. And if you time your meal right, you can just fall into the luxury cinema sofas a few yards away to see a mix of new and classic quality movies without all the faff of travelling again, queuing etc etc.What more can you ask for?

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OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on 30 June 2017
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Ate outside in the pop-up restaurant Dhaba - best food Ive eaten in a long shot - staff were lovely and really helpful .

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OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on 24 June 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a brilliant place. The whole experience was great. From wonderful northern indian food (a pop up visiting chef) to sitting on a sofa watching a movie under the arches. All topped off with fantastic staff. This place is a gem.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 23 June 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was amazing! Definitely recommend getting down to Dhaba pop up in the next week before it finishes!

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e
London
16 reviews
Dined on 19 May 2017
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 1

I chose the place because I had known the chef from his HarleyDogs pop-up at Mother Kelly's and he had served a big group of guys burgers, which we all agreed where the best we ever had in London.

What a disappointment! I should start by saying that we were 5 extremely drunk guys that went off menu and asked him for burgers there as well. I can only suggest that the paddies were from the freezer (again: off menu, so why keep them there fresh) because they were really tough. But the mutton tomahawks from the menu were also a disappointment. no meat on the bone, really.

Ambience was weird. Not many people (and this was a Friday night), and the place looks like a canteen (it is the foyer for a cinema room, so that explains the slightly industrial look to it.

Service was great, though, our waitress was patient and accepted us for what we were, (again) 5 extremely drunk (but not aggressive) city guys looking for a good burger.

I hope our chef finds his way again and we can go back to that burger heaven from before.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 11 May 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing! Literally nothing bad to say at all. Will definitely be returning again and again.

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M
London
4 reviews
Dined on 21 April 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We visited the Institute of Light to see a movie (Mulholland Drive). Good food, great wine and all in all a lovely date night!

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c
London
5 reviews
Dined on 20 April 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic music! Great funny service! And fantastic food

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 10 March 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely amazing venue. lovely concept, staff, food, wine and layout. Cannot wait to go back. My new favourite cinema in London.

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KB
London
33 reviews
Dined on 18 November 2016
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 2

During a cold evening I strongly advise you do not request the table directly by the entrance.
It is a very wide double glass door timber surround with a huge opening which is frequently left open by unassuming guests. Stunnng during the Summer but an absolute no-no during colder weather. We had to seriously request turning up the heating twice before a rather reluctant waiter pointed a blow heating at our space..... not impressed.
Veg fritters as a starter were fine, nothing to write home about.... moorish chicken as a main was okay.... 'am over it, the quality was nowhere near to the reviews I read.... 5.5/10 max.....

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K
London
81 reviews
Dined on 5 November 2016
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

I didn't know that The Institute of Light had opened in the area but wanted to try somewhere different and was attracted by the number of gluten free options on the menu. I wasn't disappointed. We were greeted by a very friendly host on arrival and the great service continued throughout.
The food was delicious and it was great to see malfatti on the menu - something I haven't had since I was in Italy!
The only thing that wasn't ideal was the price of the bottle of Prosecco which was more than expected (it wasn't priced by the bottle on the menu) however it was very nice Prosecco.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 4 November 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great find. Lovely food and drink and friendly service. We had small plates which were just right for a pre-gig dinner. Will definitely go again and leave a bigger tip this time :) They also have a cinema!

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OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on 23 October 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Helio's Cantina is a must visit. Such incredible food at excellent value. Really relaxed atmosphere allows the food to shine.

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M
London
1 review
Dined on 22 October 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

friendly, welcoming and attentive service with a personal touch. delicious food and very well-priced wine list. great for dinner before catching a movie there.

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OT
London
26 reviews
Dined on 15 October 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, fairly priced, excellent portions, good succinct wine selection, and fantastic service from the Brazilian waitress

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 9 October 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great space and great concept! relaxed and very enjoyable!

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H
London
1 review
Dined on 9 October 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What can I say!

We were a party of 4 looking for somewhere a little different to eat and I have to say what a great surprise it was!!! The food was wonderful offering a very varied menu but the taste was out of this world. The service was just as wonderful smiling staff and very attentive. I had the basil snatch cocktail which was to die for . I could have drunk them all evening. Little did we know that this beautiful little place tucked away under the railway arches in Hackney also boasted a cinema, bookshop and record store. We thoroughly recommend this place and I'm already considering holding my 40th there as they apparently hire out for private parties. Thanks again for making us feel very welcomed!!!!

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OT
London
4 reviews
Dined on 7 October 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

There was a bit of confusion on our visit. We made the reservation just the day before, and Opentable was advertising a Brazilian pop-up restaurant "Rio Boteco". When we arrived at the venue we were told that the pop-up had finished the previous month!
Nevertheless we decided to stay and order from the regular "Helio's Cantina" menu. We were not disappointed as the food, service and atmosphere were all excellent.

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G
London
2 reviews
Dined on 23 September 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ultra-cool venue in an area fast-becoming the most fashionable in London.

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S
London
1 review
Dined on 16 September 2016
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was delicious and the staff were extremely friendly and accommodating.

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