WC1V 7BD Travel Guide
Yesterday, we told you how to find Chicken Shop, the new underground restaurant at the Hoxton Holborn. Today, we’re talking what to order (apologies in advance for the photos, it's very, very dark underground).
In a way, there’s not much advice to give, because the menu at Chicken Shop is limited. Very limited – your options for your main course are:
· A quarter chicken (£4.50)
· A half chicken (£8.50)
· A whole chicken (£15)
To jazz it up, there are sides, which all cost £4. These are:
· Crinkle cut fries
· Corn on the cob
· Butter lettuce and avocado salad
There’s no wine list – your choices are “house”, “decent” or “good” – by the glass or jug. There are four beers on draught, and four (plus a cider) in bottles. Food is served on enamel plates, wine in battered jugs. The whole thing sounds overly simple, and it is. But it is one of the best overly simple meals you’ll have had in ages.
The chicken is free range, from a named farm (Banham’s) in Norfolk. It’s marinated overnight, steamed, then stuck on a rotisserie spit and cooked over charcoal. They chop it up with machetes at the open-plan kitchen, hurl on some extra seasoning as they plate up, and bam, it’s on the way to your table. This is very fast (almost too fast) restaurant food – ours arrived within a couple of minutes of ordering.
You might have heard of Chicken Shop, the ever so trendy (but tiny) restaurant chain owned by the people behind Soho House. You might have heard that its fourth London outpost opened this weekend in the Hoxton Holborn. You might pop along to the Hox, and stride confidently past the people flooding the open-plan bar and lobby area, towards the restaurant at the back.
“Is this the Chicken Shop?” you might ask the perfectly made up, beautifully dressed ladies looking you quizzically up and down at the restaurant entrance. And they will say: no.
You see, the restaurant in the lobby is Hubbard & Bell, “dishing up Brooklyn grill style grub”, as the website says. Chicken Shop, on the other hand, is an underground restaurant. As in, it’s actually underground. And unmarked. And the closest to a secret restaurant you will get in the London hotel scene.
Are you ready to get busy with hotel openings, London? Before the month is out, we’ll have the Beaumont, Mondrian at Sea Containers, and, as first of the pack, you can now check out The Hoxton Holborn in all its east-meets-midtown glory.
We ran over to the hotel on opening day yesterday for a quick wander around its ground floor lobby and restaurants, which we last saw a month ago as raw spaces. Above the entrance, just this side of the divide between the two divergent buildings that make up the hotel. If you’re in the area, there’s a 50% off promotion running at the restaurants until tomorrow, Saturday the 27th. A few more shots below.
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Having opened reservations earlier this summer, the Hoxton Holborn is now just a month away from opening, with the official date being September 25. Not only did we hear that directly from the hotel, we also had a chance to step inside and see for ourselves how the east London favorite travels to a midtown environment.
Above a snap from inside a Cosy Room, the third category out of four. While the 174 rooms differ in size (Shoebox, Snug, Cosy, Roomy), all share the same design and features, like the wood-and-leather headboard you see here.
It looks like Holborn will have to settle for one out of two when it comes to new hotels this year: citizenM might have been pushed back to 2015, but The Hoxton Holborn has just opened up reservations from mid-October, still promising a “late summer” arrival for the group’s second London hotel.
A live reservation system comes with a first few renderings of the public spaces (above the suitably vintage-meets-industrial lobby) and a little more information about the hotel’s 174 rooms. Good news first? While small (about 130 sq ft), we can see entry-level “Shoebox” rooms from £79 ($135) – that’s under $150 dollars a night for a central, stylish London hotel. Hurrah!