397-400 Geffrye Street, E2 8HZ
The latest foodie microcosm, Hoxton. The restaurant and bar is set in three renovated railway arches right next to Hoxton Station, and it’s named after one of the old locomotives that used to run on the line above.
Sociable, bustling, yet relaxed; this is the place to come to catch up with friends after work. Tables are close knit, waiters are friendly (the good kind) and you can peek into the busy kitchen. It’s no coincidence that Kieran and Danny Clancy, otherwise known as DJ duo Krankbrother, are the driving force behind the restaurant. They’ve employed the same philosophy behind their parties to Beagle – a distinctive location, fresh music (in this case, food) and an intimate, neighbourhood feel. At the moment the license is until midnight, but watch this space…
James Ferguson’s menu is seasonal, hearty and homey with interesting, carefully selected – but not flashy – ingredients (bantam eggs, gubbeen, pig’s head). Grill fever holds strong – two standout dishes were the straight-off-the-barby-style lemon sole with monks beard and brown shrimp, and the chargrilled quail with aioli. The braised meatballs with lentils were comforting, packed with flavour (lots of parmesan, we’re told) and, rumoured to be one of the chef’s grandma’s recipes.
It’s got all the makings of an East London restaurant so the brickwork and blackened steel features are nothing new, but the architecture trumps all. The space itself is very impressive. You can even feel the slight rumble of trains passing overhead.
There’s a coffee shop under the third arch.