From effortlessly refined at Heron Tower, to unashamedly filthy in Shoreditch; our second brunch in London was a little more down to earth than our previous venture.
Having spent the evening previous drinking warm bottles of wine in Victoria Park whilst tunelessly singing along with Matt Berninger at All Points East; our original plans to take a stroll through Columbia Road Flower Market early doors was quickly vetoed in favour for an extra hour in bed. Brunch however was a non-negotiable and frankly, required reservation and so we forcefully rolled ourselves out of bed and into the shower, donned sunglasses and trundled in search of Hotbox.
Settling in to our spot on the communal bench within the muted, industrial setting (so Shoreditch), we quickly breezed past the bottomless brunch offerings and focussed on replenishing the vital nutrients lost through hours of day-drinking in the sun.
Hotbox’s menu is a cornucopia of smokey ‘cue offerings, breakfast classics and tantalising tidbits; my first recommendation would be to go in a large group and order the lot (donning a Harry Potter First Year voice as you do so for extra points), my second recommendation if unable to partake in the first, would be to at least order up a selection of tacos as an amuse bouche to your brunch.
Now, the best taco I’ve eaten was made by my friend Jay, a Head Chef at one of Manchester’s Cali-inspired restaurants; he combined a wide manner of things I’m unable to recall to create an indescribable moment of bliss. Hotbox’s taco swiftly took immediate second place by combining crispy pork belly with tequila poached pear, blue cheese and watercress.
A melody of sweet and savoury flavours rejoicing; the pork belly adding a eye-rollingly blissful crisp texture to the bite. You can try to take your time to enjoy this handful of happiness, but resistance is futile, you’ll hoover it up and be ordering a second round before you can say muchos buenos.
Having successfully whet our appetites, we excitedly anticipated the arrival of our mains.
Chicken and Waffles for J.
A classic combo, it arrives dressed as a deceptively small portion but it’ll easily fill a southern comfortin’ size hole in your belly.
Thigh would have been a juicier choice than breast for the crisply coated chicken, but drizzled with enough maple syrup and combined with fluffy bites of waffle made for a satisfying sampling of soul food.
For me, The Breakfast Burger.
An Iberico acorn fed pork patty, topped with fried egg, chimichurri, and a dairy farm’s worth of cheese.
A beast of a burger, stacked with flavour and good feelings. The pork patty was slightly dry; but the river of cheese harnessed its efforts to keeping the burger as a whole as rich and sumptuous as possible (as well as making it’s way down the entirety of my arm). An undeniably satisfying creation with the ability to revive your previous human-like tendencies of speech and normal thought processes, which may have gone awry after sinking too many overpriced Pinot G’s.
On reflection of our meal, we shared a notion that the tacos were undoubtedly the stars of the show, vowing to consume as many as possible should we ever return.
Should you ever find yourself in Shoreditch (and I really feel you ought to try to some time,) I’d highly recommend a visit to Hotbox. A laid-back location with passion behind it’s plates, it’s a menu well worth getting down and dirty with should you ever be feeling a little down and dirty yourself – a perfect post-festival pick-me-up!
Hit them up and walk it off down at Brick Lane Market just a couple of streets over to complete the definition of Sunday morning bliss.