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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