Saturday, 30 May 2015

Hotbox - Bottomless Booze Brunch

Being in my twenties, there's no place I'd rather be living right now than London. As much as the hustle and bustle can sometimes get on my nerves (the morning commute will never be fun), I still have the freedom and enthusiasm to enjoy London whilst I can. After all, it won't last forever. However, with busy lives, relationships, work, moving etc. it can become increasingly difficult to spend some quality time with your nearest and dearest.

That's why, when the opportunity FINALLY arose, my best girlfriend and I decided to check out the bottomless boozy brunch at Hotbox. We wanted something relaxed, relatively inexpensive and fun, but also something we wouldn't do every day of the week. Hotbox delivered on all accounts.
Located a 3 minute walk from Aldgate East station, Hotbox is close to the hubbub of Spitalfields. Normal people following a map would find this very easily, being the only outlandish black building in sight, but two blondes together? Not so much. It would help if the neon red Hotbox sign was on the outside as well as the inside but who am I to judge the creative!

Hotbox is known in the area more for its grill and BBQ angle than for the brunch. Look up any review and you will see them all raving about the succulent meat, generous portions and overall great atmosphere. I can safely say the brunch standard is just as high.
So what's the deal? With statings up until 2pm, you pay £25 for two solid hours of unlimited prosecco/mimosas/Bloody Marys (we opted for the prosecco purely because I'm very particular with Bloody Marys and mimosas would get too sickly!). Food is paid for on top of the £25 but, with the majority of items coming in at under £10, it's still a great offer. Compare it to some other bottomless brunch venues(£50 charges, restricted drink choices, less than two hours of boozing) and I'd say Hotbox is a winner.

Once inside, the wooden interior, bench tables and open kitchen make for a really relaxed feel. As soon as we were seated, we had our first glass of prosecco poured which was topped up by the attentive staff without prompting throughout our time there. God knows how much booze we actually got through but it was well worth the £25!
The brunch menu itself spoils you for choice. Our waiter was so patient with our incessant questions and seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the food; a rarity in many restaurants these days.

I went for one of the veggie options: Mushroom Taco with Crispy Shallot, Rocket and Chipotle Mayo. I also got a side of poached eggs as I had no idea what the tacos would turn out like. They were AMAZING. I never thought I'd say that about something which, on paper, seem pretty bland but whatever they'd sauteed the mushrooms in worked a treat. The shallots added a much needed crunch to the tacos as well as adding to the flavour combination with the chipotle. A surefire winner for any vegetarian but also for the non-veggies it would seem! The presentation couldn't be faulted either. Why use plates when you can use a tree trunk?

For the non-veggies and aspiring New Yorkers, this next offering should appeal to you: Buttermilk Pankcakes with Maple Syrup and Bacon. As requested, the bacon was cooked until crispy and was presented on a stack of four super-thick, super-stodgy pankcakes. Just how they should be. The maple syrup is definitely needed to add moisture to the overall dish but, if this doesn't appeal, you can always go for the berries and banana option. It's safe to say you no longer need to travel across the pond to get some good old-fashioned American-style pancakes.

Having not seen each other for a while, time ran away with us and our two hours of prosecco was up. The great thing was we weren't rushed out. We stayed there for a good half hour longer just catching up and deciding what to do next (just an FYI - do not decide it's a good idea to go and get something pierced after drinking solidly for two hours. You will be laughed and at given a firm "no"). 

There's been a few places across London now that I have reviewed for this blog and, apart from the odd few, I generally give positive reviews. However, if you are looking for the whole package eg: great food, good prices, great atmosphere and great service, I would put Hotbox at the top. I will definitely be going back in the not too distant future.

(And just for those who were wondering what we did end up doing after being rejected from the piercing place, it basically consisted of booze, booze and a tad more booze, topped off with a good old game of scrabble in the pub. Pure class).


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