Hoi Polloi

Restaurants, British Shoreditch
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(23user reviews)
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Hoi Polloi (© Ed Reeve)
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© Ed Reeve
Hoi Polloi (© Ed Reeve)
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© Ed Reeve
Hoi Polloi (© Ed Reeve)
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© Ed Reeve
Hoi Polloi (© Ed Reeve)
4/4
© Ed Reeve

In the so-hip Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, well informed service delivers seasonal British cooking – modern but not outlandish – that will leave you craving more.

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.

 

By: Guy Dimond

Posted:

Venue name: Hoi Polloi
Contact:
Address: Ace Hotel
100 Shoreditch High St
London
E1 6JQ
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.
Transport: Tube: Old Street tube/rail or Shoreditch High Street Overground
Price: Main courses £14-£18. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £100.
Do you own this business?

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:5
  • 1 star:3
LiveReviews|23
1 person listening
sitdowncomedian
1 of 1 found helpful

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.

Jane
1 of 1 found helpful

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).

Philippa
1 of 1 found helpful

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.

Clare
1 of 1 found helpful

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

Kateryna V
Tastemaker

There's a lot of things to like about the Ace Hotel's Hoi Polloi. There's the name (although I confess: I had to look up what it means, foreigner me). There's the alternative entrance through a quaint flower shop (what could be more adorable?). There's the design which to me is reminiscent of 1950's Manhattan flats (you'll know what I mean if you've been watching Mad Men) or 1970's Scandinavian cruise ships, complete with light wooden panelling and brass fittings. Modernist they call it? At the time of our visit the place still had Christmas decorations going. Carton cut outs of antique marble heads, torsos and limbs instead of baubles. Sounds macabre but but it somehow worked. The menus are printed on newspaper sheets just like I remembered them from the first time I visited two years ago. The food this time round was also just as good as I remebered. Grilled octopus was an absolute winner, with charred and melt-in-your mouth bits, served on a bed of succotash - a dish, that proved to be as tasty as it was mysterious. but everything else was also spot on. But the service was slow and at times it was really, really difficult to get the attention of our (or any!) waiter. It took ages to get our drinks. So as the bill arrived I had a faint feeling like everything on the menu cost a couple of pounds more than it would have been fair. We were 4 of us and we paid 95 pounds each (we had a starter and a main each, no desert and 3 bottles of wine between us). I would come back, but will make sure it’s not the weekend night. It's a much better brunch spot.

chelseadust
tastemaker

I walked into Hoi Polloi and nearly walked straight out. This was not because I did not want to eat there, it was because I felt like I didn't belong. With it's beautiful relaxed setting in the swanky Ace Hotel, a live string quartet and an eclectic crowd; I thought this cannot be the place that I am eating brunch today! The waiters however made me feel settled in, handing me the coolest menu printed on a newspaper, poured me some water straight away and said they would be back shortly to take my order. First I ordered a drink, they have an array of super juices created by the London Juice Company. I went for the 'Beet It Better' which was listed as a post workout juice and I had just finished a workout at the gym. I would seriously go back just to try another on the list as they all sounded amazing. For food, I decided on the chilli and avocado on sourdough bread, my friend chose the eggs in a tomato and almond sauce with extra avocado on the side. Whatever you fancy though, I'm sure the menu will satisfy - it took me ages to decide what I wanted because of the amount of goodness! My water was topped up constantly which I loved, I've never experience such fantastic service for brunch. They were also super accommodating when my friend asked for extra sourdough, they didn't even put it on the bill! The bill came to £40 and this included service charge, a bit on the pricy side but totally worth it. To top it all off, when I was getting ready to leave, the string quartet started playing Barbie Girl by Aqua, as if I didn't love Hoi Polloi enough by this point!

Danette
tastemaker

Contrary to what its name might suggest (‘Hoi Polloi’ meaning 'the many’ in Greek or ’the common people’ in English), there’s nothing all that ordinary about a brunch at this trendy Shoreditch restaurant. As you browse the pages of an old school newspaper, deciding between the very tasty almond baked eggs or the decadent pancakes with mascarpone, you hear the tunes of a live string quartet playing modern classics just metres away from your table. 


In the run up to the winter holidays, Alicia Keys' ’New York’ or Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ are replaced by festive tunes such as ‘Let it snow’. With such nice food and atmosphere it would be hard not to get into the Christmas spirit.

L-J
tastemaker

A slice of Manhattan in East London, I work in design and cannot appreciate MORE the level of sleekness and ambiance created by Hoi Polloi, it exudes style and sophistication, the crowd is as equally fashionable and cool. 

One of my favorite Saturday brunch spots, always book it gets busy, ask for a booth bring the papers and chill out on tan leather heaven. Try the HP smoked Bloody Mary and the chili avocado with lime poached eggs, consistently good. Who doesn't want the sound track to their brunch to be a live string quartet playing Bob Marley -  5 stars!

Livvi AT
Tastemaker

From the moment you enter its concealed entrance, through a quirky flower shop, you know that Hoi Polloi will be a hip and edgy affair. But thankfully, while this restaurant has plenty of style, it also has a ton of delicious substance and is perfect for a weekend dinner out. 


The food here is beautiful- the pork chop was caramelised and blackened on the outside, yet juicy on the inside. The   fat (which can often be chewy and rubbery), was woefully incredible, so much so I ate the whole thing knowing it was blocking my arteries bite by bite. Accompanied with a light, fresh pea and bean foam and a rich, hearty jus, this dish was insane. The half roast chicken was also amazing, served with a whole bulb of roasted garlic which was powerful and smokey- warning, avoid if you are trying to get lucky that night- MAJOR garlic breath to follow.


The cocktails are fun, creative and inventive, however they are quite small for the price. Opt for a reasonable gin and tonic instead which was made beautifully; crisp and refreshing. All in all, a pre-diner drink, a third of a bottle of wine,  a main and a generous tip (well deserved by the knowledgeable and friendly staff), came to about £35-40, which while is a bit on the pricier side, is the norm for its cool Shoreditch High Street postcode.


The vibe is fun, buzzing and with food orders until 11.30pm, is perfect for a special night out or a quick post-club dinner. Hoi Polloi should be added to your 'need to try' restaurant list immediately. 


Deon Pillay (theindependentfoodie)
tastemaker

This has become a shoreditch establishment with is hip look, interesting menu and quirky entrance via the flower shop. We popped in for a Sunday brunch which was pretty awesome. The ambience and atmosphere was electric. Packed to the rafters with hipsters and trendsetters. Booking is advised. We started with a mean green and morning boost smoothie @ £5 . With so many great options we were spoilt for choice, buttermilk pancakes with bacon and maple syrup £8, eggs Royal with Salmon £11,50, eggs benedict £5.50 or the florentine £9,50. Service was fast friendly and efficient, the live music an added bonus. Satisfied we leave to explore the nearby Columbia road market

Howard S

I have been many times, what other place do you walk through a florist to get to, has ports for charging our battery hungery smart phones, but this was myt 1st evening visit! After the usual heavy negotiations about who what and how many, I lost the wine battle, bottle of white, and dedcided on 4 straters and a shared main, the service was excellent, and the food great the broth on fish was amazeballs! Just wow!

Jo Gowans
Tastemaker

A booth at Sunday brunch time is a very happy place indeed. You'll be serenaded by a string quartet while you sup on classics like Eggs Benedict, avocado on sourdough and buttermilk pancakes with bacon. On our last visit we built our own brekkie with an egg on toast base and plenty of sides. Just beware the Bloody Mary's - they pack quite a punch! 

bext45
Tastemaker

If you want to grab a decent burger and avoid waiting ages for a table then this place is great. Pleasant environment which feels light and airy. They lost points by not bringing us a bread basket when every other table had one (don't mess with me and a bread basket). Not one to choose for a special occasion - more of a let's grab something on the way home because I can't be bothered to cook.

karen f

Food average, as was the service. Highlight was the decor but probably more of a winter destination.

Jo

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.

Bo
0 of 1 found helpful

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.

Wins
0 of 1 found helpful

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.

Jess
0 of 1 found helpful

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.

Cristian
0 of 1 found helpful

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

louhie
0 of 1 found helpful

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.

David
0 of 1 found helpful

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.