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100 Shoreditch High Street
020 8880 6100
‘An English modernist brasserie’ was the brief for this super-stylish all-dayer at the Ace Hotel, and the guys from Universal Design Studio really nailed it: nerds will find much to fawn over and fondle here, from timber walls to Ercol Butterfly chairs and Castiglioni ‘Snoopy’ lamps. You can enter via the ‘secret entrance’ in the florists, but we suggest using the adjacent hotel lobby for a better appraisal of the scene. It’s invariably buzzing here, with a seemingly endless supply of beautiful creatives lured in by Hoi Polloi’s fashion-conscious offer. Breakfast brings chia-seed Bircher muesli, lunch sees soft-shell crab rolls and teatime means cute googly-eyed fancies. Dinner heralds a more ambitious repertoire, from pretty plates of blackened sea trout with macerated fennel, or dry-aged pork chop with broad beans, peas and wild mushrooms, to pistachio and raspberry Eton mess. Cocktail hour is never dull, and we’re pleased that service seems to be on the up.
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SquareMeal 2 Stars
Best restaurants in Shoreditch
100 Shoreditch High Street
020 8880 6100
Shoreditch Tube Station 558m
Shorditch Station 643m
Brick Lane 807m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
As a resident of Maida Vale who works in Mayfair, my sphere of dining experiences is both narrow yet wide. Some of the best restaurants in the country are just a short distance away, but I do end up restricting myself to a relatively confined geographic sphere. Against this background, I found myself out of my comfort zone when invited to dinner in currently fashionable Shoreditch. Prior to even sitting down, my hackles were raised. To start, the restaurant was named, ever-so-pretentiously, ‘hoi polloi.’ My dictionary reminds me that the term refers to the masses or the common people and the suggestion implied by the lexicographer is generally one of avoiding said species. Shoreditch as insular, arrogant and elitist, surely not? Next, in order to enter the restaurant, one has either the choice of through the super-trendy Ace Hotel (think bearded Millennials clogging up the lobby with their iPads and related paraphernalia) or, more absurdly, via a florist’s on the main road. On arriving, it took me three attempts with different people to ascertain whether my comrade had booked a table. When, finally, I was lucky enough to be shown to my seat, I was presented with – of all things – a tabloid newspaper on which the menu was printed. Again, absurd, pretentious, anyone? Then, however, things got markedly better. There was a great atmosphere to the place, the DJ was playing some wonderful tunes (everything from 808 State to Tanya Gardner over the evening) and we both rated the food and drink. Diners get to choose from around half a dozen starters and mains, priced fairly reasonably at around £10 and £15-20 respectively. The food is pretty broad brush in terms of its geographic influences, but draws widely on a combination of the traditional and the comforting (think cheeseburger served with dripping chips, or pork belly) as well as the on-trend. My main fell into the latter category and was an excellent rendering of grilled octopus, harissa, succotash and polenta. The third ingredient, for those unaware, I learned is an American-originated dish of maize and lima beans boiled together. We paired our meal with an innovative choice of a Cretan red, whose spiciness matched well against both my dish and that of my comrade (a beef Wellington). Service was relaxed and we lingered after dinner on some further wine. In many ways it was a pity to leave; and when we did, at around 11, there was no sign of the place emptying out. I think I’ll be back in Shoreditch again soon
We love coming to Hoi Poloi. The staff are really friendly and hugely accommodating (esp. if you have a young child), the food is great and they play pretty good fun music too. After about 12pm on a Sunday, a string quartet starts to play interesting pop songs. All good. Will go again and again.
Food + drink: 2
Fancy some ‘hoi polloi’ in east London? Uber fashionable Ace hotel has landed slam in the middle of Shoreditch high st. This area was crying out for a swanky, contemporary all in one bar/ restaurant / hotel for both locals and tourists. The entrance to the restaurant is via a covert flower shop, or slip past the bouncer through the main hotel and mingle with East London's finest. The hotel lobby is more of an easygoing 70s sprawling lounge with midcentury/scandi furniture and groovy toons and bongos in the background.
Back to the restaurant, on a friday night this place was rammed with sharply cut fringed creatives and skinny jeans. The mood of the restaurant was similar to the lounge/ lobby. Tables were maybe slightly too close together and there was an intermittent aroma of stinky cheese as the cheese board circulated the restaurant.
The menu was in the form of a newspaper, adding to that ‘easy like sunday morning’ feel to the place. East London favourite Bistroteque are behind the grub and so expectations were high. The menu has an American/ eclectic slant with odd things like puffy scratchings (crusty fat, not to my taste), a dry bit of skirt (beef) with a dry bit of onion fritter, again not great. Chips in beef dripping however were glorious and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The dumplings/ gnocchi with creamy mushroom sauce were a success. Chickpea fritters also worked. I spied some good looking fish dishes (hake and cavelo nero) on the adjacent table, so maybe I need to give this place another go.
There was something about Hoi Polloi but unfortunately it wasn't the food, it was more the intriguing social scene.
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