Tag Archives: Hoxton Square

Rossopomodoro Neapolitan Pizzeria @ Hoxton Square


向かいのBreakfast Clubはいつも混んでいるけれど、Rossopomodoroはいつでも座れるしサービスも早い。お目当ては熱々のMargherita(マルゲリータ)かNapoletana(ナポリターナ。マルゲリータにアンチョビを追加したもの)。でも日によってシェフが違うのか波があるのか、微妙に味が違ったりするのがご愛嬌、ウェブでの客の評価が分かれるのも、このせいかもしれない。そしてお勘定の時にくれる、ナポリ人の使うハンドジェスチャーを網羅したカードも面白い(生憎手元になくて写真が載せられず)。ナポリ旅行に持って行けば、イタリア語が喋れなくてもコミュニケーションを取るのに役立ちそうだが、相手を怒らせそうなのもあるので、使う時はご注意を。

I talked bad about pizzas at two restaurants last two days. After many tries and errors, one of our recent regular place for pizza lunch is Rossopomodoro near Hoxton Square. Rossopomodoro is an Italian pizza chain founded in Naples in 1997, who now has 76 restaurants, mostly in Italy but also abroad including seven  in UK. It is a chain, but they offer an authentic Neapolitan pizza, baked in traditional wood burning ovens, using ingredients sourced in and around Naples. Their pizza is better than many independent ‘artisan’ pizzas, and I guess British can’t beat Neapolitans who grow up with ‘real’ pizza.

Despite the Breakfast Club across the street is always packed, a table is always available and service is prompt at Rossopomodoro. There we can get what we want – beautifully done Margherita or Napoletana. However, the taste sometimes change a bit depending on a day, and probably that’s why customer reviews are divided?? You can get a little cheeky present from the restaurant when you ask the bill – it’s a cute & funny cards, showing Neapolitan hand gestures (I don’t have one with me now for a photo). You can bring it when you travel to Naples so that you can communicate with locals without speaking Italian, but some of them are a bit offensive so use it discreetly.

コヴェントガーデン店 / Rossopomodoro in Covent Garden

El Paso Tex Mex Café & Restaurant @ Hoxton

El Paso(エル・パソ)は、ホクストン・スクエアのすぐ南、Old Street沿いにある。10年以上前からある店だけれど、Mother Brownブログによると、2010年にリニューアルされたそう。くたびれた外観とは対照的に、カラフルなヴィンテージ家具や口ひげやソンブレロの形にくり抜いた壁など、中はファンキーでモダン、広々としていて気持ちがいい。


El Pasoのコンセプトは、現代の「ノマドワーカー」のためにWi-Fiを完備した作業スペースを設けたバー・レストランと言うことだが、食べ物がダメダメな分、こうして席を埋めるということだろう。でも正直なところ、私はロンドンに多数いるこのノマドワーカー(または学生)にはあまり好意的じゃない。お金払ってるんだから何してもいい、との言い分は正論かもしれないが、カフェは飲み食いするところで仕事場ではない。El Pasoのようにガラガラの店ならいいけれど、混雑している店で4人がけテーブルに陣取り、コーヒー一杯で何時間も粘る行為は、美味しい食事やひと時の憩いを求めて来たのに席がなく泣く泣く諦める人たちに失礼だ。前にも書いたけれど、それよりヒドいのが会議室代わりに使う人たち。長時間テーブルを占拠する上、うるさいので他の客の迷惑以外の何者でもない。

とつい感情的になってしまったけれど、El Pasoにも長所はある。明るくて居心地はいいし、Euro 2012の全試合を放映するので、ビール(コーヒーは×)を飲みながらのサッカー観戦には最適。もちろん、劣悪なオフィス環境や狭いアパートに苦しむノマドワーカーや学生たちにもね。

El Paso is located on Old Street, few steps to the south from the Hoxton Square. It’s been there for over ten years but it was updated in 2010, according to Mother Brown blog. In contrast to its weary and shabby facade, the interior is funky and cheerful with colourful vintage furniture and cheeky details like moustache and mariachi hut-shape holes on the walls.

Looking good, but their self acclaim of ‘the best Tex-Mex food’ was a big cheat. We ordered Steak Burrito (£8.50) but it didn’t have any taste. The chef was an East Asian – I don’t want to be offensive and surely there is an excellent Chinese or Japanese chef specialising in Mexican food, but psychological aspect would be another blow if the taste was bad. We rather go to a fast-food burrito like Chipotle. And their coffee was almost a criminal offence! Bad, bad, bad.

The concept for the El Paso is a bar/workspace/diner equipped with free Wi-Fi, accommodating modern ‘nomadic’ workers (or people who don’t have an office or students with a tiny flat??). It is a good tactic for them to fill the space since the food is bad. But to be honest, I am not very sympathetic to the  ‘nomadic’ work style in a café. It is tolerable if the place is half-empty like El Paso, but some people are thick-skinned enough to stay in a café, completely packed and people are waiting to be seated, taking up a table for four, with just one cup of coffee for hours and hours. But the worst offenders are the people using the place as a conference room – noise pollution for other customers!!

Anyway, I have been harsh and emotional, but there is something good at El Paso. The place is relaxing and they show all the games during Euro 2012, and it maybe the perfect place to cheer your team with a glass of beer (nott a cup of coffee). And of course, for people who want to work outside their miserable office or flat.

Pitfield Lifestyle Shop & Café @ Pitfield Street

Time Out誌をパラパラとめくっていたら、Old StreetとHoxton Squareの間にある通り、Pitfield Streetが今Hipに変わりつつあるという(→Time Out記事)。私たちがこの近辺をうろつくようになった頃は、うらぶれたパブやケバブショップ、エスニック系食品&雑貨店などが数軒あるだけの何の変哲もない通りだったが、オールドストリート駅&ホクストンから至近というその好立地のおかげか、近年、洒落たヘアサロンや自転車ショップ&ジュースバー(私たちもここで自転車のメンテをお願いしている)が次々とオープン。和風カフェのようなたたずまいの日本人経営?のタトゥーショップまでできた。

その中で見覚えのない店が1軒、知らない間にオープンしていたのがこのPitfield。上階にオフィスを構えるインテリア・デザイナー経営の、無国籍&時代を超えた、スタイリッシュでカラフルな生活用品・ヴィンテージ雑貨などを扱うお店だ(→Time Outの店紹介)。


When I was checking the Time Out magazine, I saw an article talking about Pitfield Street, located in between Old Street and Hoxton Square. When we moved in the neighbourhood and started to walk around the area, the Pitfield was nothing more than shabby street with few gloomy pubs, kebab shops, and ethnic grocery shops. However, with this excellent location just next to Hoxton, recently this “stubbornly grotty” (Time Out says. Not me!) street has started to change, and some hip hair salons, bike shop & juice bar (where we brought our bikes for maintenance), and even Japanese tatoo parlor which looks more like modern café than scary tatoo salon (→Time Out article).

Among the places, there was one place we didn’t know, which opened quite recently, I believe. That is “Pitfield“, a stylish lifestyle shop & café, owned by an interior designer who has his office upstairs and his business partner, filled with colourful vintage & modern homewares from UK and abroad (→Time Out article).

We tried out the café on our visit to the shop. Surprisingly there was a queue after lunch time. Flatbread sandwiches occupy top half of the showcases and a variety of good-looking cakes and tarts sit on the bottom . When moving closer to the cashier, voilà, big dishes of deli food such as quiches, salads, and lasagne appeared. Staffs were talking in French and this heightened my expectation for the food. M ordered vegetable lasagne and I got ham and cheese quiche. The dishes were warmed up, which is a plus, but I was a bit disappointed – the shell of my quiche was too hard and couldn’t easily cut with fork (there was no knife in their cutlery box), and the side salad didn’t have any taste without dressing. We were like, “ok, let’s move on and try world-renown ‘French’ cake”. After the meal, we had an almond bar, espresso and tea. Hot drinks are served with vintage? (or looking?) iittala cup & saucer. A little bit of good touch. Almond cake was not bad but not jaw-dropping. I guess my expectation was too high… However, there is no other nice café around, so the café is still useful and won’t fail, I believe.

イッタラのカップに入った紅茶、エスプレッソ、アーモンドケーキ / Tea and espresso, served with iittala cup & saucer, and almond bar

入って右側がカフェ、左側がショップ。ショップは意外に奥行きがあって広い / Café is on the right, and the shop space is on the left half. The shop has a depth, and bigger than I expected

窓から山積みのメレンゲが見える / Mountain of meringues seen through the windows

Busaba Ethai Thai Restaurant @ Old Street

昨年8月、タイ・レストランの人気チェーン・Busaba Ethai(ブサバ・イータイ)がホクストン・スクエアにオープンした。1999年にソーホーに最初の店をオープンしたBusaba Ethaiは、ロンドンに現在6店舗を展開。WagamamaCha Cha Moonなどのカジュアル・レストランから、Hakkasan、Yauatcha、Sake no Hanaなどの高級店まで、ロンドンでアジアン・フードを流行させた立役者・Alan Yau(アラン・ヤウ)が2008年までディレクターだっただけあって、インテリアは他店同様、カジュアルだけれどスタイリッシュにまとめられている(現在は投資会社が買収)。ソーホー店はいまだに毎夜行列ができる繁盛店だけれど、ホクストン店は席が取りやすい。味は悪くないけれど、蘊蓄をたれるほどではないので、他の方にレビューは任せる。ヤウ氏の他のカジュアル・レストラン同様、大きなテーブルをシェアする形式で、混んでる時はちょっと居心地悪いけれど、サービスは早い。

レストランは薄暗い照明のところが多いので写真写りが悪く、滅多にブログに書かないのだが、Busaba Ethaiのことを書こうと思った理由は、少し前、夜遅くに開店しているレストランを探していた時、このBusaba Ethaiだけが夜12時まで(しかも平日)開店していたのだ。ほとんどのレストランが11時に閉まる中、これは重宝すると喜んでいたのだけれど、このブログを書くためにウェブサイトをチェックすると閉店11時となっている。おかしいなあ?と思って電話してみたら、やはり11時だとの事。3月に行ったばかりだし、なんだかキツネにつままれたような気分だが、コンサートやイベントで遅い夕食を食べる時に最適だと思っていたので、すごくがっくり。

London’s popular Thai restaurant chain, Busaba Ethai opened its east London branch near Hoxton Square in August last year. Opened its first venue in SOHO in 1999, Busaba Ethai has now total of 6 restaurants in London. A charismatic restauranteur Alan Yau, who is the biggest contributor of making Asian food fashionable in London by producing casual dining such as Wagamama and Cha Cha Moon to high end restaurants such as Hakkasan, Yauatcha, and Sake no Hana, had been a director until 2008 (now owned by UK private equity firm), and the interior of Old Street branch is as stylish as its predecessors. It is easier to grab a seat at this location, in compare to the one on SOHO’s crazy Wardour Street where people queue up every night.

Their food is not bad, but I will skip to talk about it as so many people reviewed already. As other Mr. Yau’s casual dining, you share a large square table with others, and it is not the most comfortable experience when the venue is busy. The service was swift and friendly when we were there (except stiff looking manager? at the door).

Normally I don’t like to talk about a dinner place because many restaurants are too dark to take a good photo with my several year-old Lumix, but the reason why I decided to write about Busaba because it WAS open till midnight, I believe. We were looking for a late-opening restaurant few weeks ago around the area, and were finally able to eat at Busaba after 11pm, even on Tuesday. Most restaurants close at 11pm, and a decent restaurant with late opening hour is very precious in London. It was just in March for two occasions we ate after 11pm, but it seems that now the restaurant close at 11pm on weekdays as I checked their website and even called them up to confirm. Now I am not even sure if my experiences, eating after 11pm, was just my dream. I thought it was perfect to eat there after a concert or late night event… Big disappointment.

(from right to left) Sweet Basil Spaghetti, Pad Thai, Green Chicken Curry, Chicken Wings.


↓ 東日本巨大地震チャリティ情報 / Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Charity Information

FoodHall Deli & Café @ Old Street, Shoreditch




FoodHall on Old Street near Hoxton Square, is a deli and café, offering a variety of gourmet foods such as freshly prepared food, sandwiches, sliced pizza, pastries & bread, as well as fruits & veg, fresh meat & poultry, cheese and others. There are also eat-in areas on the back and in the courtyard. This posh deli, which looks like the one in an expensive area somewhere in Chelsea, attract a certain crowd in this edgy neighborhood. In general, their products are quite expensive, and you may even think that they are over-priced. First time I visited the store, I bought some groceries like organic milk, eggs and some meat without paying attention to their price tags, and I was surprised by its total at the cashier. Now I don’t buy those ‘organic’ products as I can find good ones at Waitrose with better prices, but still I can’t miss their cakes and bread. Though more expensive than the average price in the area, but its sophisticated taste and perfect sweetness worth the price. I like their simple cakes such as banana sliced cake and raspberry financier, but their cheesecakes I bought before were excellent as well. I also recommend their ciabatta bread, crispy outside and soft inside. It tastes better if you lightly toast it and dip it in extra-virgin olive oil.

But another big minus at FoodHall as well as their price is their often unfriendly and impolite staff. We went to buy ciabatta at FoodHall today, and complained about a rock-hard ciabatta we bought the other day. But we were just told, “next time, touch and check the bread before you buy, as sometimes old stocks mix with the new ones” – without sincere apology. We almost screamed to the guy, “that’s the store’s job to check whatever they sell!!”, but managed to control ourselves and left with newly purchased nicely baked ciabatta. Of course we checked its hardness before we bought. This is our worst experience at the store, but I’ve never impressed by their customer service. I was relieved to know that we are not the only one – I found some reviews about the store while I was looking for the store’s website (but I couldn’t find it), and some people complain the same thing!

Although I don’t like the store’s unpleasant attitudes and expensive prices, their sweets are truly irresistible and go back at the end…

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Concrete and Glass Exhibition @ 20 Hoxton Square Projects Gallery

今日、通りがかりに、ホクストン・スクエアの北側にある20 Hoxton Square Projectsに立ち寄った。20 Hoxton Square Projectsは、2007年に新進気鋭の現代アーティストに活動の場を提供する目的でオープンした、共同プロジェクト用スペース。今日が最終日だったConcrete and Glass(5月13日〜27日)は、音楽と現代アートを融合したイベントで、最初、その展示スペースにはう〜ん。。。という感じの作品ばかりが目についたが、実は奥の部屋に秀作が隠れていた。

We passed by Hoxton Square today and dropped in 20 Hoxton Square Projects on the north of the square. Launched in 2007, 20 Hoxton Square Projects is a collaborative project space, operating as a platform for emerging contemporary artists. We saw the music and art event Concrete and Glass on its last day (May 13 to 27),  and at first, I thought it was another weird but dull ‘contemporary’ art exhibition, but the hidden gems were literally hided in the small rooms on the back of the gallery.

Clarisse d’Arcimolesの作品「The Good Old Days」。今年3月に取り壊されたHollowayにある計571室の公共住宅「Market estate」で、76人のアーティストが取り壊し前日の3月6日に、60年代に「ユートピア」のビジョンを体現して建設されたこの住宅へのオマージュとして、建物全体を使って行ったアート・イベント、Market Estate Projectの参加作品。1967年に最初の住人の一人として移り住み、そこで40年以上の歳月を過ごしたJimmy Watts(ジミー・ワッツ)氏のポートレートとして、Market estateに詰まった彼の「古き良き日々」を再現している。70年代のキッチュな家具に古い写真等が飾られた、今にも元住人のWatts氏がひょっこり帰ってきそうなこの部屋には(帽子やコートがかけられた玄関まで忠実に再現)、彼の人生とその思い出に溢れていて、彼のことを全く知らないにも関わらず、見ているだけで何だか胸が熱くなる。

The Good Old Days” by Clarisse d’Arcimoles is a part of Market Estate Project, taken placed at Market estate, a 571-flats council estate has just been destroyed in Holloway, North London, on the day before its demolition. On March 6, right before the bulldozers moved in, 76 artists transformed the entire estate into a creative playground, and made of the formerly public and private living spaces a rich final memory of the estate, once represented a Utopian vision of modern urban planning in the 1960’s. In this work, d’Arcimoles has taken a portrait of Mr Jimmy Watts, one of the first resident to have moved into the Market estate in 1967 and spent most of his life in the estate until the demolition. Reconstructing memories and his “good old days”, the old man’s former residence filled with 60–70’s kitsch furniture and old photographs (she also made detailed entrance with his hat and coat hanging as well), was so real and touching and made me feel sentimental, though I don’t know anything about him.

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SUKI CHANのビデオ・インスタレーション「Sleep Walk Sleep Talk (2009)」。現代社会における「freedom(自由)」を探求するロンドンのアート・プロジェクト、Free to Airの最初の委託作品で、「freedom of speech(発言の自由)と「freedom of expression(表現の自由)」を探求している。2つのスクリーンに同時に映し出される、無機質な夜のロンドンのオフィス街の光景と、仕事の後、大都会で束の間の自由時間を満喫する人々の姿を対比させた映像は、「自由」という概念を強く表現できていない気はするけれども、スタイリッシュで魅惑的で、目が離せない。上映時間は結構長かったけれど(15分くらい?ネットで探してもどこにも上映時間が書かれていないので正確なところは不明)、通常ビデオ作品は最後まで見る忍耐力がない私が、退屈することなく最後まで観た。

SUKI CHAN‘s two-screen video installation, “Sleep Walk Sleep Talk (2009)” is the first commissioned project of Free to Air, a series of exhibitions and events that will extend across London over a four-year period, exploring ideas of freedom of speech and expression in contemporary society. I didn’t see a strong correlation between her work and “freedom of speech and expression”, but London’s office block and fast-blinking lights and speeding commuters at night and the transitory freedoms people find in an urban metropolis after work, projected on two screens, was so stylish and mesmerizing, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screens. Usually my patience doesn’t last with long video installations, but I saw all of this work without being bored (I am not sure how long, probably 15 min or so – I couldn’t find anywhere how long it is).

上記の展覧会とは関係ないけれど、ホクストン・スクエアに設置された、現代アーティスト・Marc Quinn(マーク・クイン)の作品。向かいにあるホワイト・キューブ・ギャラリーで開催中の「Marc Quinn: Allanah, Buck, Catman, Chelsea, Michael, Pamela and Thomas」展の一環。マーク・クインは、エレファント・パレードにも参加している。

Sculptor Marc Quinn‘s works, sitting in the middle of Hoxton Square (though nothing to do with 20 Hoxton Square Projects). These giant orchids are a part of “Marc Quinn: Allanah, Buck, Catman, Chelsea, Michael, Pamela and Thomas” at White Cube Gallery across the street. Marc Quinn also participates in Elephant Parade London 2010.

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Bottega Prelibato Italian Café / Restaurant @ Shoreditch

ホクストン・スクエアの少し南、Rivington Streetにある小さなイタリアン、Bottega Prelibato(ボッテガ・プレリバート)。店内は、むき出しのレンガ壁に、白木のテーブルや椅子が置かれ、壁には吊り下げられた生ハムやフライパン、ガーリック、そしてバジルの鉢植え。イタリアの田舎町の、居心地のいいトラットリアにいるような気分になる。地下にもソファやテーブルが置いてあるけれど、ちょっと暗くて、地上階の方がお薦め。気づかなかったけれど、帰ってから調べてたら、ギャラリーにもなっていて、アート作品も飾ってあるそうだ。またウェブ・ショップでは、イタリアの食材も扱っている。

私たちはランチに行ったけれど、木〜金曜日は11時まで開いていて、ディナーもできるみたい(開店時間は日によって違うので、店のフェイスブックページで確認を)。ランチメニューは、生ハムやサラミ、チーズの盛り合わせ、パニーノ(サンドイッチ)、そして日替わりの生パスタ数種などなど。デザートのドルチェ(ケーキ)ももちろんある。写真下はフェットチーネのミートソース(Fettuccine al ragù, £7)。ソースもフレッシュで、なかなか美味しい。でも量は少なめ、もうちょっと食べたかったな。

Bottega Prelibato is a small Italian café/deli/restaurant located on Rivington Street, south of Hoxton Square in Shoreditch. The place is decorated with exposed brick walls, light wood tables & chairs, and hanging prosciutto, garlic, a basil pot and a pan – this warm interior makes you feel like you are in a cozy trattoria somewhere in Italian countryside. There are sofas and tables downstairs as well, but it is a bit dark, and I recommend to sit on the ground floor, if available. The space also functions as an art gallery, although I didn’t notice any art works when I was there. They also sell Italian food products on its web shop as well.

We went there for lunch but it opens until 11pm from Thursday to Friday for dinner (opening hours vary – check their facebook page for more details). Cold meat and cheese platters, panini (sandwiches), and some daily fresh pasta dishes etc are on their lunch menu, as well as some dolci (sweets) and pastries. We both ordered “fettuccine al ragù” (fresh pasta with meat sauce, £7). The meat sauce was quite delicious and fresh, but the dish was a bit too small for my empty stomach – I wish I could have eaten more!

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