Its been too long to mention since we last posted a Shoreditch Lunch Club review and lots have changed in 860 days, a hell of a lot. The question is; have the lunch options and eateries changed in Shoreditch in that time? Dam right they have, and there’s more to choose from or at least there are different places to eat. One notable addition to the lunch circuit is Mark Hix’s, Tram Shed on Rivington Street.
Believe it or not this used to be a tram-generator building way back before we had fixed wheel bikes to get around the ditch. After several different uses over the years this now revamped location is an impressive new setting in the middle of a busy centre area of Shoreditch. Its sheer scale and centre piece artwork by Damien Hurst are enough to make your eyebrow judder upwards for a few seconds in appreciation on your first visit.
The menu is simple: meat, hence the significance of the formaldehyde-encased cow and cock set on a pedestal in the middle of the room. On our lunch we opted for the Spring Chicken for one each. The chicken comes standing upright proudly on a plate. A little weird but funny at the same time. This place has humour which makes for an enjoyable and relaxed meal. The food was also very good.
More info www.chickenandsteak.co.uk
Hoxton Street is off the beaten track of the trendy streets of Shoredicth but it has a few hidden treasures that are about a third of the price of its neighbouring streets.
A short walk up Hoxton Street brings you to Bacchus. A pub/eatery that is hidden behind a dark unwelcoming façade. It looks too posh at first glance to be worth a visit by the Lunch Club but on entering it turns into something completely different from what you might expect.
It has a smallish bar with a kitchen opening onto it and plenty of tables and seating. We were taken in by the ‘Express lunch’ option for a fiver as always and the menu selection was pretty good. Soft drink and a selection of fresh sandwiches – pork and apple, sausage, beetroot soup etc.
Speed of service: As we were 1 of two tables eating it was quick, helpful and friendly – 8
Quality: Nicely cooked, good condiments, fresh, great chips – 8
Quantity: Just right – 8
Location: About 3 minutes from the office – 9
Value: £5.00 for the Express menu – 9
Didn’t see fish and chips on the menu so zero points awarded! – 0
Total score: 42/55
Definitely worth a look for some decent lunch food in nice surroundings, well priced. Looks like they do a good Sunday Roast as well.
For more info www.bacchuspubandkitchen.com
With lunch venues running short, By the Scruff hunted around Shoreditch looking for our next victim. We noticed a protruding queue coming from a building down Rivington Street. This wouldn’t have surprised us normally, but it was the middle of the day. We strolled down to meet the beginning of the queue to investigate. An Italian cafe by the name of Franco’s was the culprit, with a loyal following as we discovered. A popular destination for everyone in the Shoreditch area – perfect for lunch club!
The menu was a combo of greasy spoon regulars and italian dishes with the lasagna under the day’s specials. It came with chips, salad and a big dollop of mayonnaise.
Speed of service: Considering everything is freshly made to order the service was quick and with parmesan! – 8
Quality: The homemade lasagna was great – 9
Quantity: Perfect for the lunchtime – 8
Location: About 4 minutes from the office – 7
Value: £5.50 for a taste of Italy – 8
Fish and chips on the menu so 5 points awarded! – 5
Total score: 45/55
Take your lunch hour early to beat the queues at Franco’s. Or take the day off. Well worth it!
By the Scruff’s attempt to travel round the world in 80 lunches took us to Japan in the shape of Hoxton’s Japanese Canteen. With emphasis on canteen, the place definitely had more of a take away vibe inside; very small with limited places to sit. With focus on those in a hurry, the ordering method was to queue at the till and either wait at the side with the too-busy-to-stay people or sit in a very tall chair around a very tall table. We sat. It also bothered me that the staff were not Japanese? Let’s hope they were in the kitchen.
Chicken katsu curry was my choice with Kirril opting for the Bento box, which looked like a taste of everything – traditional dish consisting of rice, either fish, meat or a vegetable curry served with sesame spinach and seaweed salad together with a side dish of miso soup. To the scores!
Speed of service:The food was ready relatively quick after ordering, to which they gave notice by shouting your number and you collecting. Speedy yes, polite… perhaps not.– 6
Quality:The Katsu curry is chicken covered in breadcrumbs, deep-fried with rice. Nice! – 7
Quantity:A belly full perfect for lunch. Could be disappointing if dinner was the timing – 7
Location: Just across the road – 8
Value:£5.95 wasn’t too bad for a lunch deal, pretty close to the £5 spec– 7
Lots of sushi on offer but no chips so only a fish bonus of 2.
Total score: 37/55
The Japanese canteen is fast food to go, catering for the hungry hoxtonite during their midday break.
Vietnamese restaurant Little Hanoi hosts the fifth lunch club, situated on Curtain Road, Old Street end.
The restaurant has signs outside advertising it’s all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. At £6.50, it seems like a good deal. Even though the restaurant claims to be Vietnamese the lunch buffet is anything but, stocking your standard Chinese regulars: sweet & sour chicken, Beef in black bean sauce, chicken curry, egg fried rice, noodles, spring rolls, chicken in batter, chicken wings, weird tofu dish etc.
There was the regular menu with Vietnamese dishes but this is lunch club so the lunch menu overrules!
Speed of service: It was a buffet so the service was as quick as our legs wanted to move – 6
Quality:Standard Chinese dishes. Hopefully it wasn’t sitting there too long? – 6
Quantity: ALL YOU CAN EAT! – 10
Location: About 2 minutes – 8
Value:At £6.50 the food represents great value but when given the bill we had been charged service! For a buffet! – 5
No fish in the buffet no extra points. Total score: 35/55
Not impressed with the service charge and why not consider including some Vietnamese dishes in the buffet? Little Hanoi offers a haven for those struggling to overcome the night before when quantity, not quality is required.
Round 4 and By the Scruff dines at the trendy Zigfrid Von Underbelly on Hoxton Square.
The quirky decor makes for an interesting trip whilst you roam for a seat as Zigfrid’s is a popular location any time of the day. Downstairs holds the club – the Underbelly – which hosts all sorts of acts but recently the rock and indie scene have taken control.
We spotted a few tables towards the back of the bar so wandered to a vacant one. Much rejoicing for their lunch time menu included fish and chips. So we ordered.
Fish and Chips £5
Pint of Grolsch
Speed of service: More of ordering at the bar and waiting than table service – 6
Quality: Fine at £5 for the lunch deal but not worth the bumped up price otherwise – 7
Quantity: Craved extra chips! – 6
Location: About 2 minutes – 8
Value:The £5 lunch menu strikes again to our pleasure – 8
5 point bonus for fish and chips on the menu totalling Zigfrid Von Underbelly score to: 40/55
Come here for the atmosphere and and night time debauchery rather than the food.
Things are hotting up in the Shoreditch lunch club and the third round has By the Scruff dining at one of the many Vietnamese restaurants in Shoreditch – Viet Grill.
Situated on the bustling Kingsland road you are spoilt for choice if the palate craves the far-east, with two other Vietnamese restaurants next door and many more along this stretch.
The restaurant was surprisingly quiet for a Friday lunch time. Evenings typically see the restaurant spilling out the door.
The menu looked familiar; it turns out the restaurant is an offshoot from Old street’s ‘Cay Tre’ using the same menu.
Everything looked great but we opted for the lunch time deals with dishes being reduced from around £8 to £5 until 3pm.
Pho My xao
‘Pho’ or ‘egg’ noodles wokked over a high flame and laden with fresh vegetables with chef’s special.
A hearty combination of noodles, vegetables and mixed meats including calamari, pork, prawns, beef and chicken.
Speed of service:Good service although the place was quiet – 8
Quality: Fresh ingredients, freshly cooked. Fantastic – 9
Quantity: Plenty of food – 8
Location: The furthest we had walked so far, pushing that lunch hour – 7
Value: Receiving a meal off the dinner menu for cheap – 8
Having chips on the menu at this place would be a crime and the plethora of fish dishes ensures the Friday tradition continues. Although rules are rules, so one point deducted 4
Bringing Viet Grills’ score to: 44/55
The first proper restaurant for the lunch club showing bars how it’s done and Viet Grill leads the pack.