Hoi Polloi at The Ace Hotel, Shoreditch
The Ace Hotel Group is a budget American hotel chain initially aimed at cash-poor creatives. Quickly developing a cool reputation, it began attracting bankers, hiking up its rates and pricing out the very people it was designed for. What better place to host a London branch of the hotel then, than Shoreditch, the hipster capital that hipsters can no longer afford. Capitalising on the trend for hotel dining is Hoi Polloi, an all-day bistro situated on the ground floor of this redevelopment. Hoi Polloi means ‘the many’ in ancient Greek, and ‘the commoners’ in modern day English, a term which hints at the egalitarian foundations on which this hotel was conceived, but now just seems slyly mocking.
Despite all this, the restaurant itself is heaven! It has a paired down TriBeCa aesthetic, matched with comfortable leather banquettes and golden lighting. Meals are served at every possible time of the day, by waiters who are attentive, without being cloying. Why pay for the hotel? You could easily just stay here for 24 hours.
Ordering is plenty of fun, thanks to the menus presented as mock broadsheets. The New York deli inspired food will take you right through the day, from breakfast (Duck Egg, Mushrooms and Chilli), to supper (Pressed Lamb with Jerusalem Artichoke). You couldn’t go wrong with any of these delectable options on a date, except perhaps Dressed Curried Mackerel, for obvious reasons. Order a bottle of wine to share between the two of you.
Normally, booking into a hotel restaurant conveys the desire for an extra marital affair. Luckily the Ace Hotel is not depraved or extravagant enough to suggest such intentions. Meet your date in the beautiful flower shop attached to the hotel (perhaps even buy her some?), and head straight through to the restaurant for two calm and glamorous hours. If you can force yourself to leave, head on to local bar Common or Shoreditch House.
The cocktails are ingenious but not the easiest to pronounce. Try saying ‘Meshigener Palone’ when you’re tipsy.