This week I want to share my review of Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel London, a “modernist brasserie that resembles a large 1970s, Art Deco-influenced school canteen” (as described by Grace Dent on ES Magazine). Created by the team behind Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s, Hoi Polloi is stylish and youthful just like the Ace Hotel guests. They will undoubtedly feel at home in Shoreditch, London’s most creative and coolest neighbourhood. An all-day restaurant drafted with the hotel guests in mind, Hoi Polloi is able to fulfill all your eating and drinking desires: from breakfast to nightcaps and everything in between.
It’s all about the details: from the designer pendant lights and the wood paneled walls to the menu printed like a newspaper, each page listing the offerings for a different time of the day.
Last month on my birthday I treated myself to lunch at Hoi Polloi and enjoyed one fine cheese burger with chips. I glanced at the brunch menu and decided to book a table for four for a random Saturday a few weeks later.
I invited my brother and his girlfriend, who recently moved to London and still have a lot to explore. My friends Sam and Hannah happened to be in London that day, so I invited them along. With a little difficulty I managed to change my reservation from four to five people, though I shouldn’t have worried: the restaurant was still considerably calm when we arrived at 11:30 and, since the tables in the bar area cannot be reserved, there were plenty available for walk-ins.
By the time we left around 13:15, Hoi Polloi was full and buzzing of people visiting for brunch and lunch. Yet it didn’t feel over-crowded and busy (like Balthazar for example where I had brunch last weekend), as the tables are spaced out, the ceilings are high and the music is softly played in the background. Overall a relaxed and calm atmosphere, which we all really enjoyed.
My brother Paolo ordered the Eggs Benedict, which he had never tried before (as a matter of fact, he didn’t know what it was) and loved it. I tasted a piece of the English muffin, topped with ham, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce; it was really good and prepared with the best ingredients. Mia, his girlfriend, ordered the Grilled sandwich with pork belly, pickled carrot, spiced apple and said it was amazing.
Sam and Hannah, who follow a paleo diet, were pleased to find different gluten-free options on the menu. They both ordered Eggs Royale on gluten-free toast.
As a fan of sweet stuff, I ordered Eggy bread with apple compote, walnuts and apple butter. It was delicious, but one piece of toast (albeit one that has been soaked in beaten eggs and then fried) is not a full meal and after two hours I was starving. Bottom line: I should have ordered more!
Dishes are British, very seasonal and juxtapose flavours in modern but not outlandish ways that will leave you craving more. [Time Out]
Sam and Hannah shared a Poached rhubarb with vanilla yoghurt and rhubarb sorbet, while Paolo and Mia tried the Chocolate stout cake with salted caramel and hokey pokey. Both dishes looked stunning, right?
We spent nearly two hours at Hoi Polloi enjoying the coffee, the food and the atmosphere. It’s such a comfortable place, I would have spent the whole day there!
A tip for you: tables in the restaurant are booked for 90-minute slots, while if you sit at a table in the bar, there is no time limit. You can also move into Bulldog Edition, the Ace Hotel coffee shop, or sit in the hotel lobby and order coffee and food there!