Hubbard & Bell at the Hoxton Hotel, Holborn

Hubbard & Bell is a restaurant in the new Hoxton Hotel (in Holborn!) and is part of the Soho House ever-expanding portfolio. They’ve also incorporated a Holborn Grind coffee shop and a new branch of one of our favourites; Chick Shop (aka posh Nandos – and everything comes with their immense butter lettuce and avocado salad) in the basement.  It had come highly recommended, particularly for the oxtail with marmalade on toast and the s’mores – so naturally we booked immediately!

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We started with some cocktails and picked a great selection from the familiar Soho House/Pizza East old-timers – the Cucumber and Elderflower is always a firm favourite with Hendricks Gin and lemon soda, and the boys tried their take on the Whisky Sour. The bar area was really full and had a great atmosphere. There is a sort of living area as you walk in which is really relaxed and has a DJ playing in the middle. It reminded us a bit of STK in New York or in the Melia in London which always has that mix of bar/club with the restaurant all in the same place and it makes the eating part a lot more fun.

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To start we shared the Yellow Tail Carpaccio with grapefruit and jalapeños which was delicious – I’m a fan of any raw fish sashimi/ceviche/tartare dish so loved this one with the hit of chilli. We also shared two of the “Toast” dishes – first, the Ricotta, which comes whipped with fresh fig, honey, sea salt and mint on chunky toasted sourdough – this is one of my favourite combinations and it was so tasty.  Second, and the part of the reason we came, the Oxtail (I learnt it’s actually beef – no-one actually cooks with ox anymore!) which is slow-cooked and practically falls apart, served on toast which has been smeared with smoked marrow and marmalade. One bite and I could totally understand why our friend was so keen to recommend it – it’s hearty and substantial and yet the combination of almost sour orange with the oxtail is really different. I also loved the mix’n’match old fashioned china that the dishes came on.

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For our mains, we all went straight for the burgers and then loaded up on the sides. We were quite tempted by the “Patty Melt” sandwiches that arrived at the table next to us (hate food envy) which looked like a toasted cheese sandwich with beef, caramelised onions and loads of cheese! We were pretty happy with our burgers though and could have happily taken a bowlful of the Truffle Fries (with parmesan and parsley) and loved the classic Wedge salad with buttermilk. Other accompaniments included a kale caesar salad, cheesy creamed leeks with caramelised onions and roasted pumpkin with hazelnut praline – we’ll have to come back for those as we wanted to make sure we had space for DESSERT!

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The dessert menu was a nightmare as it meant that we wanted one of everything. Could you have narrowed it down from a list that included s’mores, banana splits and key lime pie???? I’m not even mentioning the chocolate tart with orange and amaretto Chantilly cream or the coconut cream pie… or the peanut butter and jelly cream coupe… or.. oh dear. After much debate (and quite a few more cocktails) we went for the s’mores (obviously), the banana split and the key lime pie. Three desserts between four is pigging out you say? You’re probably right but with a menu that good you need a spoon of each! The s’mores were exactly what wintery campfire dreams are made of – crispy Graham crackers with dark chocolate sauce sandwiching freshly toasted marshmallows. The banana split had salted caramel ice-cream and a generous helping of cream (uh oh) and the key lime pie was actually quite light and refreshing. I urge you to work your way through the entire list…

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Finally, an excellent cup of coffee from their own press. We hadn’t seen the Winter Warmers hot toddies available until they arrived on the table across from us (again!) – but we’d certainly come back for the “Truffled Hot Buttered Rum” – even the name is ridiculous.

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We thoroughly enjoyed it both for the food and the lively atmosphere from the DJ and a buzzing bar. The seating area for dinner is a mix of booths and long tables which makes it perfect for group outings and birthdays, and with the New York inspired menu like this you can’t really go wrong.

Thumbs up.

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P.S. we had major Tile Envy from their bathrooms…

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