100 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JQ
0208 880 6100
AKA: The one to impress your fashionista friends at, darlings
The deal: Housed in the so-hip-it-hurts Ace Hotel is the jewel in their retro-centric crown: Hoi Polloi. First up, you have to walk through a fragrant flower shop to get to the 1950's, Scandi-inspired wood-panelled restaurant. The low-lit room makes it just possible to peruse the beautiful people dining in the main space or perched at the chic cocktail bar. Slide into a booth - you're joining them tonight. The owners call it a "English modernist brasserie", we call it fine dining in an even finer setting. From the same guys behind Bistrotheque (David Waddington and Pablo Flack), Hoi Polloi manages to take the effortlessly cool vibe from their Vyner Street venue and remix it with classic dishes, served up with a highly fashionable flair. Note to all hoteliers - this is how you do in-house dining.
The food: The menu is impressively expansive, covering all meals from breakfast and elevenses through to a midnight supper. Room service too, if you get too merry on the cocktails and need to crash in the hotel. We started off with the sweet, blackened sugar snap peas with aioli (£4), seasoned with a good hand of salt - they couldn't have flown out of the bowl any quicker. The grilled seabass (£21) was perfectly crisp and flaky and set off well against the confit of tomatoes, braised fennel and a little sprinkling of everyone's favourite, samphire. The featherblade steak (£18.5), although an unusual cut, was expertly seared, meaning juicy mouthfuls, full of flavour in a bone marrow jus, just begging to be mopped up with those famous dripping chips. Dessert was a decadently sweet treacle tart (£6), pepped up with a little pool of apple puree and a good helping of clotted cream.
The signature dish: The roast chicken (£19.5), served with greens and wet garlic is the staple here, though a special mention goes out to the dripping chips (£4) - you just know that somewhere in the dark internet, there's some fanfic devoted to these fries.
The head chef: Braden Charlesworth
When to dine: Midweek dinners - make sure to check out their supper menu from 10.30pm to 1am which was recently soundtracked by the ultra-hip (of course) Ivan Smagghe. Oh, and Sunday brunch sees Bistrotheque favourite Xavior performing with his pop string quartet.
Damage to pocket: While prices do tip over the average Chomping Ground recommendation (especially if you get stuck into the moreish cocktails), a main averages out at around £18. Add a starter, dessert and a glass of wine to that and it's about £40 per person.
File under: Celebrate good times, Payday blow-out, Weekenders, Brunching