Last weekend, I was in London for my workie friend, Poppy’s 30th birthday celebrations – you may have seen some of the photos on Instagram. We had a table at Hotbox booked well in advance, which was a total surprise – as it’s one of the restaurants on my list! Unfortunately we were unable to get a table for brunch, which means I have to return, and instead, we had a reservation for 6pm. It was just as good as I was expecting.
It wasn’t too busy as we arrived, but everything was so minimalist and chilled. The seating were stools, which were actually very comfortable, and the tables, large benches – perfect for large groups – but added to the casual vibe of the restaurant. The decor was very plain, with lots of dark woods. The service was good throughout – the menus arrived instantly and it wasn’t long before we were ordering the first round of cocktails.
Poppy and I had known in advance that we’d order the Basil Brush (Beefeater Gin, Mango Liqueur, Basil, Passionfruit) which was refreshingly fruity and surprisingly went well with barbecue.
Everyone was ordering starters and while I wouldn’t normally, I suggested Poppy and I share a couple. We chose the crispy smoked wings with sauce glaze, pickled chilli, sriracha buffalo sauce and truffle blue cheese. Yep, as you can imagine, they were incredibly spicy. As someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy hot or spicy food, they were a little unbearable. I wouldn’t usually opt for such ‘messy’ food, but at somewhere like Hotbox, it has to be done. Thankfully the blue cheese and celery sticks cooled the heat down. And the other starter helped too. We decided on the grilled jumbo prawn, which was beautiful. The meat was so juicy and it had this beautiful smoky taste. It certainly accommodated to my taste buds better.
For our main courses, again, Poppy and I knew as soon as the table was booked that we’d order the Hotbox Piggy Burger. It was massive and genuinely gave us the meat sweats. A large beef patty, topped with pulled pork, American cheese and caramelised onions. I couldn’t manage it all – but we still shared a couple of sides. The skin-on rosemary & garlic fries were wonderfully crisp and seasoned well. Burger and fries is such a winning combo. We also chose the jalapeno slaw, which was so fresh, vibrant and crunchy. It was dressed in lemon juice, as opposed to anything creamy like mayo, so was incredibly light. I could’ve eaten a portion of that alone!
Lucy had the short rib, which was on the bone and looked so impressive. There was plenty of meat to be devoured, although she said it was quite fatty. Jemma chose the pork short ribs, which looked equally as large. She definitely made the best decision and I got food envy as soon as the dish arrived to the table. I even managed to try some – the meat was so tender and had a lovely sticky barbecue glaze. Next time, I’d definitely order those!
We skipped desserts and had after-dinner cocktails instead. The photos suggest we all opted for espresso martinis, although I honestly don’t remember! After we got the bill, we went downstairs to the bar & lounge area, which was equally as relaxed. There were some really gorgeous chaise longue style chairs. Unfortunately, the atmosphere wasn’t the best – I think we stayed for a couple of hours and the whole time, we were the only ones drinking. It was a really nice end to such a lovely day, though. There’s no doubt that I’d return to Hotbox, although bottomless brunch is certainly a must before dinner again!
Love, Lucy xx