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Hoxton Grille EC2
The Hoxton hotel or, as they call it 'urban lodge'. Sounds cool, huh? Edgy. Alternative. Young British Artists (YBAs) hanging. That sort of thing.
In fact, the hotel is the latest idea from Sinclair Beecham - half the duo who originally brought you Pret A Manger. And if you could imagine London's leading sandwich chain turned into a hotel, you'll have some inkling of the vibe here, complete with the famously positive staff attitude. Absolutely un-asked, a friendly bloke (the marketing manager, as it turned out) swept up your scribe (who was incognito, of course) for a full tour of the premises. That's marketing. (And jolly nice the rooms looked too. Compact, but extremely well thought out. The sort of place any traveller would be pleased to lay a weary head for under £150 per room per night. That includes Pret breakfast, free WiFi, reasonably-priced phone calls')
The restaurant - a comfortable bricky brasserie that takes up much of the ground floor, and with a nice internal courtyard - has been subcontracted to 'room'. An inspired choice: these solid provincial operators are never going to set the world on fire, but they have mastered the basic trick - which still eludes some of the capital's leading groups - of consistently delivering good food at reasonable prices. Which, after all, is what you want from a hotel brasserie. Our meal - from the large and extremely straightforward menu - was thoroughly enjoyable, and mercifully devoid of any pretensions to haute cuisine. (Mustard in yellow squeezy bottles, though? You can take culinary democracy too far.)
And the crowd? Well, no YBAs. Not even anyone with any particular pretensions to cool. Hoxton's urban lodge - sad to say - is already a safe haven for men in suits.
81 Great Eastern St, London, EC2A 3HU
|Number of Diners:|
all day till 10.30 pm, Fri & Sat 11.30 pm
Last orders: 11.45 pm