Sometime during the end of May, I began to see a makeover of sorts taking place at a store on Hoxton Street but did not pay more than a glance to it each time I walked by. That is until I saw the fresh beginnings of what looked like a restaurant shaping up. Now this was exciting news since Hoxton Street is not what you would call a hotbed for casual dining restaurants. As its name suggests, 100 Hoxton can be found at 100, Hoxton Street. Yes, that’s the address or location you key into your gps to find your way here. The soft launch saw this new restaurant and menu being promoted with 50% off on food and drinks in its initial couple of weeks. Oh goody!! You can well imagine that I would have found myself a way in then.
The sun was also kind enough to smile down on me the day I visited and since it was an early dinner, the place wasn’t packed. First impressions on the decor didn’t quite win me over and having a paper menu taped to the glass front didn’t quite help either. The interiors struck me as fairly dull with soft grey banquette seating along the walls, tables with a pop of colour that didn’t quite pop and a grey rough flooring that doesn’t quite match what’s offered in terms of food. There’s also a central semi circular bar area which plays out the central theme of the place. Before I go any further, let me take a minute to contradict myself entirely. Though an afternoon visit will more likely create the same impression on you as it did on me, pay the restaurant a visit at night and see the ambience change for yourself. They have to thank the lighting, crowds and music for that.
100 Hoxton describes its menu as an Asian inspired fusion cuisine designed for sharing but with good portions being served per plate, you don’t have to be a stickler to the description. They’ve also vamped up their menus which I suspect is seasonally changed and added pinchitos and tapas during the earlier hours of the evening along with their happy hours.
The sections are aptly labeled ‘bits and bobs’ for sides and the mains being labeled ‘from the land’ and ‘from the sea’, though you can’t help but wonder if they couldn’t come up with a unique headline for their dessert section as well. On my first visit, I went with the ‘7 spiced crispy quail with plum chutney and a chicory and baby onion salad’ (sadly, this doesn’t seem to be on the menu anymore). The quail was marvelously crispy, juicy and a perfect blend of spices and the chutney served as a excellent complement to it. A look at the picture alone should have you drooling. Dessert was a ‘mango shrikhand with cardamom yoghurt, ginger shortbread and cumquat’. Sounds good? It tasted good too with the cumquat adding a bit of a bitter zest to balance the sweetness of the shrikhand and shortbread. And at £10 (50% off), probably the cheapest two course restaurant meal I’ve had in London. You don’t see me complaining.
The second visit unfortunately did not involve any food photographs and I regret that now as the food looked spectacular. ‘Crushed potatoes with poppy seeds, coriander & yogurt’ and ‘fried rice with chilli pepper, Chinese sausage & fried egg’ were the choices for the sides and oddly enough, all three mains were picked from the seafood section. The one disappointment was the cuttlefish which didn’t quite hold it’s own with the ‘braised octopus’ and ‘char grilled prawns on shell’ and remained the only plate with food still in it towards the end of the meal. Which of these dishes can I not stop singing praises for? The fried rice and octopus without a doubt. It was only fitting that I end the meal with a smooth cappuccino.
Enthusiastic and friendly service, good music, great food that won’t leave your purse much thinner and a lovely dinner vibe. 100 Hoxton is the new go to address on Hoxton Street.
Visit http://www.zomato.com/london/100-hoxton-hoxton-square/info#tabtop for the address, contact details and more.