We had been meaning to catch up with some French friends who now live in Wimbledon and meet up in town with some others. Time is precious so we decided to try do it over two nights which at our age is a challenge but you know we like a challenge. We stayed in the trendy Shoreditch area for a change and The Hoxton Hotel came highly recommended, it did not let us down. A cool place where the crowd is eclectic and not up itself.
The first night we booked a table at Eyre Bros a Mediterranean foodie restaurant that has been around for sometime with a sister place in another part of town, all good pointers. The atmosphere is relaxed but smart and the food is well….. Mediterranean so a great mix of the best Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French dishes. Our French friends are stereotypically snooty about food but were impressed if not quite gushing. The service was excellent even when we wanted some “bar dishes” which the menu is clear are only served at the bar but they gave in!
A selection of tapas to start included the obligatory padron peppers (needed a bit more salt), squid, clams and spicy sausage (chistorra from Burgos)all very good. For mains we had a seafood and pork cataplana which was served in a big lidded pot and amazing. Have to say the cheese was a poor show and you know how the French love their cheeses so fell at last hurdle or we would give this place top marks. Finally it is not cheap particularly when you drink wine with the French!
Saturday was a tad hard on the heads but we had a wander around Covent Garden and then over to Borough Market in the aft just for a mooch around. Tell you what, when you get off the tube at London Bridge the Shard is incredibly impressive. We had a snack at the street vendors, spicy BBQ pork soft wrap (bargain at 4 quid) for D and a piece of Cod for me, both were superb which is why this is probably the gourmet food central in the UK (discuss??).
In the evening we had to go for a curry, Brick Lane is nearby but we actually went to Whitechapel just around the corner. Tayyabs is one of the original curry houses and hugely popular queuing out the door bring your own booze kind of place. The grilled meat starter plates were fantastic and the mains are traditional Punjabi dishes all very very good. Coming from West Yorkshire where we know our curries I have to say this is as good a place as any.
Sunday as you would expect we skipped breakfast again! Don’t worry we had a late lunch before we jumped on the train back for a rest.
Lunch was at the Booking Office, restaurant of the fabulously opulent Renaissance St Pancras Grand, recently refurbished and Grand Indeed. This place brings back a bygone age of luxury.
I had a charcuterie plate to start with, bits of incredibly tasty meats including smoked duck, just amazing. D had the fois gras and ham hock terrine, melt in your mouth pure indulgence.
Mains, D had a cottage pie and I had a rib eye (might add 28 day aged YORKSHIRE beef)both were faultless. As we had time to kill (probably just greed…) we had desserts of, what else, Yorkshire lemon meringue pie and praline cheesecake nom nom nom! 2 bottles of delicious Sancerre Rose between us meant a long leisurely lunch waiting for our train. Can’t finish this without mentioning that the service from our waiter Gregorio who was going back to a Brazil for a holiday was impeccable. By the way Saturday night has a live band and jazz music but be warned book early they are very popular. This place has to be tried at least once!