Taking over the former venue of Master & Servant in Hoxton Square, the team behind ’10 Greek Street’ open their second venue with an equally predicable name… ‘8 Hoxton Square’.
‘8 Hoxton Square’ is very similar to the design and cuisine of the successful ’10 Greek Street’. Admittedly I am a big fan of their first venue although I do concede to their (few) critics that the Soho venue can be a little cramped at peak times.
For those of you who frequent 10 Greek Street you will know exactly what type of cuisine to expect. In an interview with Hot Dinners they claim “The menu will be similar, but not identical to 10 Greek Street”. Maybe I haven’t visited frequently enough to notice the difference in style but I am in no way complaining as I love the ‘Modern European’ style they offer.
8 Hoxton Square is a noticeably wider venue than 10 Greek Street and it benefits from floor-to-ceiling windows which flood more than half of the restaurant with light during the day. The original site at 10 Greek Street has the unique arrangement of the bartender working in exactly the same space as the kitchen. 8 Hoxton Square seems to have enough space to remove the need for Japanese style ‘staff origami’ and have separated the bar from the kitchen. The bartender did tell me that it is now definitely much cooler without the heat of the stoves blasting him from behind.
The open kitchen is downstairs and occupies most of the length of the venue. There are six stools along the kitchen-facing counter for chef-watching and a small private dining area which appears to seat up to eight.
Unlike Greek Street, there are a few tables outside providing 8-12 covers facing Hoxton Square. I’m sure they will be a popular addition when the British Summer decides to make a brief appearance.
WHAT’S ON OFFER
On my visit, the lunch menu offered 12 main dishes, 4 sides and for those with a sweet tooth, a whopping choice of 7 desserts. Additionally the “Small Plates” section served all day menu offered 10 different plates including the addictive ‘Crumbed Anchovy Olives and Aioli’ which work surprisingly well. They are reminiscent of the ‘Fried Olives stuffed with Anchovy and parmesan’ by Russell Norman’s Spuntino… although I’m still mulling over which variant I like more.
The ‘Sesame Crumbed Cuttlefish’ is excellent, mostly comprising of enormous rectangles of cuttlefish tubes deep fried in sesame crumb, served with a simple Thousand Island Dressing, chives and a slice of lemon. For me, this sums up the essence of both 10 Greek Street and 8 Hoxton Square. Clean uncomplicated ideas executed astoundingly well.
For the main course I opted for ‘Grilled Mackerel, crumbed celeriac, spinach, pine nuts, raisins and salsa verde’. Although more complex the dish works just as well as the cuttlefish. The burst of sweetness from the raisins cuts though the strong mackerel flavour. The pine nuts and spinach provide good texture variation. The large celeriac slice provides good balance to the mackerel saltiness.
The 7 cocktails on offer are all reasonably priced classics at £5-6.50 including the modern classics ‘The Espresso Martini’ and ‘The Bramble’ invented by Dick Bradsell. They are not in the Hawksmoor league for cocktails but neither are they in the same price bracket. Not a venue for hardcore cocktail aficionados, but they don’t pretend to be anything otherwise.
The 8 Hoxton Square team have clearly taken the essence of the successful 10 Greek Street offering and kept the winning formula. I have heard people saying that the food isn’t ‘adventurous’, however I think that’s an unfair criticism. It doesn’t aim to be an experimental Heston Blumenthal/Alvin Leung venue. It produces great dishes, prepared well and ‘consistently well’ and that’s more than enough to keep me happy.
- Those with a sweet tooth
There are lots of desserts here!
- Modern European Food
The dishes here are
- Those who want to book
Unlike 10 Greek Street, booking are also taken in the evening, however they will always leave plenty of space for walk ins.
NOT SO GOOD FOR
- Struggling to think of any negatives!