Try the pork cheeks, the kedgeree, the cocktails and above all delight in the beautiful surroundings. Hoi Polloi feels like a world of its own, a really special place. Service is really good and not too overbearing. Visit on a Sunday for brunch and get your own string quartet. Desserts are all amazing.
© Ed Reeve
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Wed Oct 2 2013
The Ace Hotel in New York is deepest hipster territory, with a cavernous lobby used by every Midtown creative for its free wi-fi, Stumptown coffee bar and – for those who can get a booking – chef April Bloomfield’s outstanding Breslin restaurant. I was once marooned at the Ace for a couple of days during a snowstorm; there are few better places to be stuck. Shoreditch’s new Ace Hotel is not, however, a cookie-cutter copy of its Big Apple cousin, and Hoi Polloi – its all-day brasserie – exemplifies this.
Access, for instance, is not from a vast lobby, but via a tiny flower shop. Walk straight through and the large restaurant (from the team behind Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s) reveals itself with a mix of retro and contemporary styling that wouldn’t look out of place on a Scandinavian cruise ship circa 1950. The casual and sneaker-clad service is notably smooth and well informed. The music (a mix of retro ’80s pop and US alt electronic) isn’t too loud, allowing attention to focus instead on conversation – and the food.
The menu looks like a college music paper, which gives the curious impression that other diners are reading up on the LCD Soundsystem back catalogue. It covers breakfast, lunch, snacks, cocktails and dinner. Dishes are British, very seasonal and juxtapose flavours in modern but not outlandish ways that will leave you craving more – and wondering why other kitchens can’t manage so deftly. A fresh, vibrant starter of braised celeriac is topped with a tangle of remoulade-like shreds of celery and (rarely seen) cobnut pieces. Pork cheeks, slow-braised to intense meaty tenderness, are suitably autumnal with their chunks of spiced apple and on-trend pickled carrots (every chef with a beard is fermenting these days).
Potato dumplings (aka gnocchi) are served with tender baby globe artichokes and wild mushrooms. The size of this – and other savoury dishes – was modest, but prices are fair. Old-fashioned lemon posset is given a contemporary twist with a red berry puree. All our dishes were faultess.
The lounge bar of the Ace in NYC has weekend performances, mainly DJ sets. Not so here, but Hoi Polloi’s small bar is still a destination in itself, with cocktails that bear silly names but appealing combinations of modish spirits. At the moment, only two floors of the hotel are ready for guests (rooms from £199), but already this Ace trumps most of the Shoreditch competition.
Hoi Polloi 100 Shoreditch High St
- Venue phone:
020 8880 6100
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Breakfast served 7-11am, afternoon tea served 3-6pm daily. Meals served 11am-6pm, dinner served 8-11pm Mon-Fri. Supper served 11pm-midnight Mon-Wed, Sun; 11pm-1am Sat, Sun. Brunch served 11am-6pm Sat, Sun.
Tube: Old Street tube/rail or Shoreditch High Street Overground
Main courses £14-£18. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £100.
- Ace Hotel
100 Shoreditch High St
- 020 8880 6100
- Ace Hotel
- Ace Hotel
Average User Rating
2.8 / 5
- 5 star:3
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:4
- 1 star:3
We went for late lunch. Delicious food (we had burgers), the best bloody mary I've ever had, service was excellent, really friendly staff. Decor was lovely. Great place to spend the afternoon with friends, browsing the papers. Would definitely recommend, and don't really understand the negative reviews below (which is why I felt compelled to write this).
Walking in through the gorgeous flower shop, it felt immediately like being in New York. Waiters were zipping around in their brightly coloured sweatshirts and the hum of American accents rose up. The interior is slick and tightly packed, but not unwelcoming - and our table in the corner made for amazing people watching. As befits American charm, the service was warm and friendly - and they even sped up our dishes for us upon request. Of the dishes we tried, the pork cheek was unctuous and tender, lightened by the perfectly chosen sides. A rich yet delicate meal. Skirt was meaty and robust, and the chips were moreish without being too greasy - never sure about dripping chips. A conservative cocktail choice of vodka, pomegranate and almond & vanilla jam (a Meshigener Palone) paid dividends in a fruity yet grown up drink. Then we nipped downstairs for a secret private gig. Not too shabby at all.
Disappointingly there was only a limited menu when I visited for lunch as the main restaurant was closed but I had a delicious cashel blue & mushroom sandwich in the bar area. Service was relaxed and friendly, overall a very enjoyable experience
Same experience as reviewer below. I know it's shoreditch, but I didn't know semi hard boiled egg with egg benedict is trending right now. Too dark and dingy for breakfast/brunch. Best avoid.
I went there twice. Brunch was alright, but I could have done it better myself. Dinner was dreadful ! My boyfriend had the skirt what was overcook (well done when he asked for rare) chewy and tasteless. My wild mushroom gnocchi had hardly any mushroom in it and it was not wild either. Really disappointed specially because it wasn't cheap. Service was actually good.
The place is absolutely disappointing in every way. Was there for brunch. The food was so very average (in fact possibly even below average for what it is e.g. egg in egg royale/egg benedict wasn't runny; the dish was quite dry) and portions were pathetic for the price they were charging. Service felt really rushed - was in and out in just under 30min. Felt like they wanted to turn over the tables quickly and so wanted their diners to eat and go pretty much like a fast food place and worse. I am not sure it poses any competition in Shoreditch at all as Timeout has suggested it does but we wouldn't be returning any time soon that's for sure.
We had dinner. Nice atmosphere and really good service. but not likely to go back in a hurry. felt as though the food was slightly overpriced for the portions. the plaice was cooked perfectly but the dish overall was a little bland and unexciting. My friends were equally disappointed - a very over cooked burger with a bun they compared to a tesco bun :( Also as veggie/pescatarian didnt find that the menu had a great selection - would have liked to have ordered potatoes without dripping. Not usually massive complainers but felt the timeout 5 star rating was a little off. we really wanted it to be great but it wasnt.
On a brunch/dinner on Sunday there were like 20 staff to 10 customers and service was a shambles. Oddly enough I found the food good even if slightly overpriced, but then this is Shoreditch
Worst burger in my life there tonight for £14.50. First it arrived cold, then new warm one was just bland and un-appetising on cheap, foamy bun. Hake dish was also pretty disappointing. However, like the reviewer below mentions - the service was excellent and the ambience lovely. They have bothered to put in acoustic tiles, unlike most other London restaurants, so you can actually hear each other talk AND enjoy the soft music.
I had lunch there and was very disappointed by the Pork Belly and Salt Beef sandwiches. £9+ buys much better quality and presentation elsewhere in Shoreditch. The dinning room is however beautiful and the service was welcoming and of a good standard.