Sunday, and this time somewhere quite different; a stark contrast to the quiet intimacy of the previous nights meal at Oren, was the bustling, vibrant Hoxton Grill. My second birthday dinner of the weekend, this time shared with the parents and sister. The lovely surroundings were perfect for a big family dinner and although the parents baulked at the prices I assured them that they wouldn’t regret it. This lovely East End restaurant was busy, trendy, good value and our waiter was about as attentive as we could have hoped for; perhaps inspired by my camera and surreptitious note taking and he must of over-heard our conversations about my being a chef because at the end of the meal he asked “how was every thing and did it receive the chef’s approval?”
Whether that was the case or not, the service didn’t disappoint and neither did the food. By the time we got there we were starving. I had travelled from Wales that morning (having forgotten to put the clocks forward, it was a mad dash not to miss my train) and by 4pm was happily browsing the Nancy Spero exhibition at the Serpentine with my sister and step dad. We then hot footed it over to Hoxton to meet my Dad and step mum for dinner, before I headed down to my hotel on Hackney Road.
We skipped starters and went straight for the main course of which there was a good choice. The typical American grill style food appealed to the parents, while still offering a good range of dishes that made my mouth water and managing to tip a nod to seasonal produce (kale, beets, rhubarb for example). We ordered a couple of bottles of house white (which was very good for a house white; a crisp, fresh tasting Griffin Ridge) to keep us going and relaxed in our comfy banquette seats while I opened birthday pressies and we tucked in to fresh bread still warm from the oven (in fact our waiter refilled our basket for us as well).
Dad the traditionalist ordered a 10oz rump steak with fries and a Roquefort sauce, step mum was more adventurous and ordered salt beef with beets and horseradish. She ordered a side of creamy smooth mash to go with it which we shared. I ordered sea bream with brown shrimps and kale, which was perfectly cooked with a light crispy skin and delicate flesh, which contrasted nicely with the shrimp, kale and mash. The Kale had a lovely earthy flavour and was just lightly cooked so it retained its dark green colour perfectly.
Step dad and sister ordered salads; the former blue cheese, avocado, chicken and bacon with a side order of corn on the cob and the latter, smoked duck, chicory and radish, with a side order of honey roast carrots.
Everyone was happy with their choices. My sister’s duck salad was light and delicate and she was pleasantly surprised at the amount of duck she got on the top. My step-mums salt beef was tender and well-flavoured, the combination of beetroot and horseradish working really well with it.
The only minor criticisms were that my Dads steak was rare and not medium as he had ordered, but that didn’t detract from the flavour or the fantastic Roquefort sauce. Also my sister would have liked a side plate for her bread.
For dessert my sister ordered New York cheesecake with blood orange. She loved the creamy cheesecake which contrasted with the sharpness of the blood orange, but thought that the cheesecake was a little heavy. Step mum ordered rhubarb and ginger crumble with ice cream, which was lovely but she could barely taste any ginger in it and two of us ordered pecan tart with Jack Daniels ice cream. I’m a sucker for alcoholic ice cream or sorbet so that really hit the spot, but I would have liked a more substantial pecan tart. It was nice though.
All in all a very enjoyable family meal with few complaints: I will definitely go back again for more, next time i’m down that way!