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HotBox

Restaurants, Barbecue Spitalfields
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(25user reviews)
HotBox

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A barbecue pop-up that opened its first permanent venue - complete with basement bar - in December 2014.

Maximise the meat! Don’t order too many side dishes! Thus advised the diner to my right, officially seated separately to our group, but in reality rubbing shoulders with me. This popular new barbecue destination in Spitalfields has bench seating, and if you’re a gang of four at a table for eight, you’re going to make new friends.

Which was fine with us, because it made the Hotbox experience feel like a party. The look of the place helped with the jovial atmosphere: dark wood everywhere in the large, attractive rooms, and surprisingly moody lighting from ceiling-hung fluorescent strips.

We meat-maxed with the Smoked Selection: short rib, pork rib, pulled pork, chicken thigh, outstanding smoked sausage (£21). Seasonings were spot-on, and (unusually) each component was perfectly cooked and showed no sign of dryness from sitting around. The menu also has some slightly daintier options: a taco, a couple of sandwiches and an excellent burger.

But the top choices (apart from the Smoked Selection) are the mega-spicy pork rib (£16 on its own), and especially the short rib (£24). Smoky, sweet and succulent, this was a match for any I’ve eaten in Texas or South Carolina. And regardless of what my new friend said, top-quality slaw, smoked mac and cheese and sweet potato chips are all worth ordering.

Our waiter guided us to the house red, a solid South African blend at £24. His chumminess made us smile, though others might have thought he was edging a little too close to over-familiar. Beer drinkers have a choice of six in bottles, cans and on tap (£4-£5.50); a Meantime range, Orval and the German Hopf Helle Weiss.

Sadly, you can only book for parties of six or more, so the lovely front-of-house staff suggested we wait  at 46 & Mercy, the restaurant’s downstairs bar. It was way too loud for our liking, so they guided us to the excellent Discount Suit Factory nearby during our 45-minute wait.

In fact, noise ended up being our biggest complaint about the restaurant overall. Once seated, according to our sound-level meter it hit 90 decibels (mostly music) in the dining room. This is shout-or-forever-hold-your-peace territory.

If noise doesn’t faze you, here’s the plan. Book for six or more. House red. Sides in moderation. Forget dessert. Order extra sausage. While you’re in the box, maximise the meat.

By: Richard Ehrlich

Posted:

Details

Address: 46 Commercial Street
London
E1 6LT
Transport: Tube: Aldgate East
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £90.
Opening hours: Open 6pm-midnight Tues-Wed; 6pm-1am Thurs-Sat; 5pm-11pm Sun.
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Users say (25)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:11
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|25
1 person listening
tastemaker

So I went to a bbq restaurant and ordered the vegetarian option. I'm glad I did. The bbq cauliflower had an amazing smoky flavour and was dripping in a herby, spicey, tangy, pineapply salsa sauce thing. It was delicious. I ordered the sweet potato mash on the side which complimented the cauliflower. My friend had the chicken and her only comment was 'it's not as good as Nandos'.

The service was quick as we literally went for a quick dinner on the way home. We were seated at the bar tables because the restaurant was busy.

I need to go back for the meat but not the chicken!

tastemaker

This is the place to come to if you are after BBQ meaty masterpieces to beat those meat cravings! They offer a brunch and dinner menu, of which i've only tried dinner so far (their brunch menu on Instagram a looks insane). 


Previously, I've had the mutton, Piggie burger and pork ribs, but the short rib is by far the best. - At £24 it's pretty pricey but SO tasty and HUGE (I always share it). Most of the portions are pretty big, so I always share a side. 


I must admit that most of the times I've come here I have had a 50% off voucher with timeout black, but this is one of the few places that I'd go back to and pay full price. 


Staff are super friendly and there is a great laid back feeling to the place. Below the restaurant you'll find the trendy 46 & Mercy bar when looking for the toilet, which all the times i've been (weeknights) have been very quiet.


Overall great place if you have the appetite and cash. Don't take your veggie pals, and wear loose fitting trousers.

tastemaker

I guess there are no real surprises if you find yourself sat at one of the convivial communal benches. Despite how busy it was the service was friendly. Although the chicken wings were standard, the shoulder of mutton stood out as everyone's favourite dish. The tacos provided the South American twist. The meat (and it was bountiful) was ably supported by some fine sides. Sweet potato mash, mushrooms and broccoli broke the meat monopoly. With the dark woods and fluorescent lighting, I now understand why this is a popular dinner destination for groups and office parties. Please beg your boss to take you there for a social evening!

Tastemaker

If you want the meat sweats, this is the place to come. The meat is divine and so are the sides, but don't order too many, one each is enough as the meat is so filling!

I def recommend the ribs and Mac n cheese.

The staff are super friendly and helpful for newbies like me regards the menu. Can't wait to go back.


Food wise it is definitely worth 5*, from the Service sadly just 4*. Meaning they are quite a nice bunch of people, but they are definitely more up for a good chat than taking attention to your needs while the whole restaurant experience. Besides this, I have been there for dinner and brunch and will be coming more often for sure, as my agency is around the corner and I do have a colleague with a Time Out Black card #lifegoals The Truffle Chicken and Waffle, is just a dream...I love Chicken and Waffle but this is a game changer. Not talking to less about the stunning Pork Ribs or the USDA Ribs, having the Mac'n'Cheese on Side...Its all is just beautiful and a fine thought through. Make a reservation before tho, I always had luck that they had some spare spaces but I think its better to be save and don't miss out on a great; Brunch, Lunch or Dinner.

tastemaker

Perfect for meat eaters or if you're super hungry. Really lively and buzzing atmosphere with an awesome bar downstairs and great cocktails. The portion sizes are generous and it works well to share, so you get a taste of everything. It's not a very big place. Not ideal for a first date or romantic evening but if you're looking for something fun, cool and tasty then Hotbox is perfect.

tastemaker

Hotbox is on Commercial Street between Liverpool Street and Aldgate and offers a bottomless brunch for £25pp. You can choose from unlimited Prosecco, Mimosa or Bloody Mary.


We had the brunch burger (patty, pork belly and fried egg), smoked meat hash with a fried egg and smoked bacon and buttermilk pancakes – all between £7 and £12. Absolutely great.


The dinner menu is very much USA style based with ribs, chicken, pork steaks and more. The sharers look absolutely fantastic. So basically a great place to go for meat eaters!

tastemaker

Nice spot in east London, love the cocktail bar downstairs with interesting and chic decor. A place for meat lovers, portions are extremely big. We ordered the BBQ chicken and lamb shank and both were huge. I wasn't blown away by the mains but The fried Oreo cookie dessert was heavenly and was the best dish I had that night. Good place for a casual night out and worth spending time at the cocktail bar downstairs.

Tastemaker

Love your meat? Then you’ll feel right at home at Hotbox for this place is meat heaven. It is, after all, an American BBQ specialist offering platters of ribs and other hearty fare.


The space is trendy. Dark woods everywhere with moody lighting and fluorescent strips of light hanging from the ceiling. It’s a communal style dining experience which means long benches in the middle of the room. So even if you’ve booked ‘table’, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with your neighbour and making friends. It’s ok to come on your own, though. There are stools for those who likes flying solo.


The food was excellent. The jumbo prawn for starters was luscious, grilled in its shell and comes sizzling in its fermented chilli and butter sauce. You only get the one though so it doesn’t represent the best value. The burger, on the other hand, was a mountain of meaty goodness and juicy AF meaning it won’t dry out while you Instagram the crap out of it. Try Hotbox Piggy Burger is a win with its heaps of pulled pork on top of its 28-day aged patty. The Mac’n’cheese was a winner too. Creamy, smooth and good value.


There’s great service and the waiters are great to chat to. If you’re not feeling particularly carnivorous, head to the bar downstairs at 48 & Percy. Or head down there if you find yourself having to wait for a table.


The best way to arrive is via Aldgate East station which, from there takes about 5 minutes. It’s not the biggest of places either so highly recommend booking in advance if you’re coming for dinner. Definitely book if you’re coming for brunch over the weekend so I am told from my awesome waiter. You might be able to find a seat at lunchtime. 


In summary, a trendy place doing great BBQ. A decent place for a catch-up with your mates. Come here for the meats.

Tastemaker

Absolutely delicious meat! Would not recommend this place for a vegetarian, but oh god the meat! I highly recommend to forget the burgers and go for the beef rib. It is ridiculous, on my second visit I struggled between having the rib for the 2nd time or getting the lamb shoulder - the nice and friendly waitress advised that nothing can beat the rib, after trying both a pulled pork burger and the shoulder I heartily agree!

Tastemaker

I finally made it to HotBox on National Burger Day last month. I went for dinner and had the ribs to start then split two different burgers with my friend so we could try both. The burgers were nice - interesting flavours and really juicy, though the outer edges were very charred (on purpose) which I'm not a huge fan of. All the while I was eating my burger I couldn't stop dreaming about the ribs we had to start! It's very possible that they were the best ribs I've had in my life...EVER. I would definitely recommend HotBox and I will be going back myself to have an all-rib meal in the near future!

Tastemaker

So I've had hot box twice before going to their newish restaurant at pop ups in Dalston Yard & Battersea last year

Both times it was amazing!
Bbq done well and reasonably priced
Bf and I were planning on going out for dinner in Shoreditch and had a few options but the deep fried Oreos swayed me!
The food was good! Bf had the selection which looked amazing (I'd shared similar with him before at a pop up) and I had the beef tacos which were tasty!
What let it down was 1) the price and 2) the hyped up Oreos 
They were really greasy and not all that tasty :( real shame!
We also had to wait for ages for a table
I would have rated 3* however you just can't knock the meat they serve!

This restaurant is amazing. Went here on Sunday and had the bottomless brunch - only £25 more, so if you have 3 or more drinks then it has paid for itself. The food is delicious and such a good change from the normal berakfast choices.  Had the table for 2.5 hours and definitely made the most of the drinks!

Tastemaker

This is definitely one of the best bottomless brunch options in London.  I've been a few times now and the food has not disappointed and the staff are extremely good at making sure your glass is always full.  One thing to keep in mind is that at peak times it can get busy, so understandably service is a little slower.  There is definitely a cosyness to everyone sitting on long oktoberfest styled benches.  The buttermilk chicken and waffles is a favourite but the pork belly "bacon" and the avo toast is also great options.  Best to go in a group of about 4 as this is the right size for the seating area.  Watch out for those mimosas though or you'll be stumbling out...

Tastemaker

Delicious. Really enjoyed the entire experience. The waitstaff were friendly and the food was fantastic. The pork ribs were enormous and incredibly juicy. The pulled pork side was an excellent portion size and well worth the price. I was hoping the cauliflower would be equally tasty but it just was not filling enough for a main meal, definitely requires a side!


Highly recommend this place if you love tasty meats. Really want to try this place as a brunch spot! 


Hotbox is definitely one of the better (if not only) bottomless brunch options in the Shoreditch/Aldgate area. I like that they have some interesting brunch options that go beyond the traditional English Breakfast. My favourite includes the Belgian Chicken and Waffle (picture below). I will say that I think the food quality has gone down a bit. This photo was taken over 6 months ago, and when I’ve been back, more recently, the dish looked (and tasted) nothing like this. Then again, when you have a £25 all-you-can-drink Bloody Mary’s and Mimosa option, who really cares how good the food is?

Tastemaker

This place is genuinely a bigger anti climax than the first time you have sex. The £4 "fresh" orange juice was clearly straight from a carton and when I politely identified this, the manager retaliated with "Alright OJ connoisseur!". My boyfriend ordered an Americano which arrived as a teapot with a teabag sticking out. The waiter still had the nerve to insist it was an Americano, only to be confronted by a teabag emblazoned with ENGLISH BREAKFAST. The music was not cool - no one goes to Shoreditch to listen to R Kelly's Ignition, and the food was distinctly average (there have been multiple filters applied to the Pork Belly eggs benny snap). The other things as well is that it's so dark inside (is it actually trying to resemble a hotbox?!) that you really don't want to go when it's a remotely nice day, and even though we went when it was pouring it down, the view onto Commercial Street on the stool tables is so uninspiring. Big fat no from me. 


Amazing food - even for a veggie like me - Mushroom tacos! OMG! And the service is always amazing. Love this place!

"title"

Tastemaker

You can't pre-book at hotbox If you're a party smaller than 6 but I emailed explaining it was my boyfriends birthday and could they guarantee us a table, the lady said if we arrived early and went for a drink downstairs at 46 and mercy she would come and get us soon as our table was ready which she did. We were seated on a big table with benches for seats, the shared seating didn't bother us. It made the atmosphere quite fun and added to the experience. We ordered the hotbox smoked selection and the smokey bandit burger to share accompanied by the jalapeño slaw and the sweet potato fries as well as hot box's own spicy dips. The spicy ketchup was our fav. The food was BBQ at its best, we were already planning what we'd have next time before we'd even finished. The staff at hot box were absolutely brilliant, to finish they brought out dessert with a candle in and sung happy birthday to my boyfriend much to my delight and his horror. The mini doughnuts with chocolate sauce and ice cream were the perfect way to end the meal. The more people that spread the word about hotbox the better. This place deserves to be up there with the best.


This place is fantastc. The beef short rib is to die for. Can't rate this any higher. However you will need a lie down afterwards. A light bite this is not but it tastes oh so good.  


Best barbecue in London by far. The beef rib is out of this world, and the sticky toffee pudding is one of the best I've ever had. Go for the food, go for the drinks, go for the atmosphere.. but just go. 


I have been following HotBox around London all summer! The absolute best BBQ food I have ever had. I cannot wait for the soft launch, the launch the opening the everything. Will be making myself a permanent fixture! 

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