Brunch Inspiration: Shrimpy's, Hoi Polloi and Bistrotheque

When you know you want a late-breakfast-early-lunch, but don’t know where to go, these East London spots will fill a hole – and do it while looking damn fine décor-wise too.
Bistrotheque in London, E2 | Brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
#1 Bistrotheque
Betweeen Victoria Park and London Fields in East London, you’ll find English modernist brasserie Bistrotheque.  Or more likely, you might not find it, since it’s so well disguised on a quiet industrial street…  It looks like this:
Bistrotheque in London, E2 | Brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Go on in (I would recommend booking) and you’ll be well rewarded with a stunning loft-y space, beautifully furnished, buzzing with diners, and all set to the soundtrack of live piano music – when we were there, the pianist was playing the likes of Rihanna and Coldplay, and it was fantastic background music.
Bistrotheque in London, E2 | Brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Bistrotheque in London, E2 | Brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Food-wise, expect all the usual brunch fare – I went for pancakes with bacon and maple syrup (£7), but Ciaran, Max and Holly went for eggs, muesli and full fry ups; there’s even fish & chips, burgers and roast chicken if you fancy going large.
Bistrotheque in London, E2 | Brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Pricing is very reasonable – much cheaper than the high class décor would suggest it should be.  Bistrotheque is also open for lunch and dinner.
Bistrotheque in London, E2 | Brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
A perfect example of my ideal kind of restaurant, combining great food, reasonable pricing and a fantastic interior and ambience – I highly recommend it.
Bistrotheque in London, E2 | Brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Bistrotheque
23–27 Wadeson Street, Hackney, E2 9DR
Book: Online / reception@bistrotheque.com
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Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch | London brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
#2 Hoi Polloi
Hoi Polloi is the all-day brasserie located inside the Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street.  If you ever need somewhere to stay, the Ace is a winner – I’ve stayed in New York (full details here), but the Shoreditch hotel has equally beautiful interior design…
Ace Hotel, London | Design hotel in Shoreditch, recommended by HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Ace Hotel, London | Design hotel in Shoreditch, recommended by HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Back to brunch.  Pass the plants (yep, there’s a garden shop on the hotel’s ground floor)…
Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch | London brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Enter the hotel…
Ace Hotel, London | Design hotel in Shoreditch, recommended by HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Walk through the hotel lobby and lounge areas…
Ace Hotel, London | Design hotel in Shoreditch, recommended by HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Ace Hotel, London | Design hotel in Shoreditch, recommended by HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Past the lobby bar…
Ace Hotel, London | Design hotel in Shoreditch, recommended by HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Walk through Bulldog Edition, the lobby café (a partnership with Square Mile Coffee Roasters)…
Bulldog Edition café at Ace Hotel, London | Recommended by HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
And finally you hit the restaurant, Hoi Polloi.  Another absolutely beautiful space, which features many design icons, from the lighting to the chairs to the teapots.
Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch | London brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Bistrotheque’s musical director has created Sunday Strings specially for Hoi Polloi, so you can enjoy your meal to the sounds of a string quartet (though I must say we were sat just that bit too close to the quartet, so it was a little distracting).
Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch | London brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
The menu (from same team as Bistrotheque) takes a fiercely seasonal approach to English produce.  Printed newspaper-style, it is split into sections for breakfast, daytime, wine and dinner.
Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch | London brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
I have only ever visited for brunch.  Most recently, we drank Lovage juices (£5) – Juliet’s Ruby cleansing smoothie, with beetroot, apple, cabbage and carrot, stained her lips red but I’m sure it was doing wonders for her health….!  My Banana & Soy smoothie also contained almond milk, dates, tahini, wildflower honey and pink rock salt, and was delicious and filling.  To eat, we ordered Eggs Royale (£11.50), which were a bit hit and miss – Juliet’s were perfectly cooked with runny yolks; mine and Holly’s were a tad too well done.
Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch | London brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
On my previous visit I’d eaten eggy bread with poached pear purée and walnuts (~£7) – a small portion (just a single piece of bread), but very tasty.  On that visit, with Chris, we were generously gifted a slice of the Rocky Road Chocolate Cake when our server brought the bill – she told us it was quite legendary and we simply must try it.  I’m so glad she drew our attention to it!
Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch | London brunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Hoi Polloi
100 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JQ
Book: Online / 020 8880 6100 / reception@hoi-polloi.co.uk
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Shrimpy's at The Filling Station, King's Cross | London lunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
#3 Shrimpy’sTHIS RESTAURANT CLOSED DOWN IN 2015
Shrimpy’s is rather unusually located in a disused filling station just north of King’s Cross station, beside the canal (once a notorious red-light area!).  It opened in 2012 and was a huge hit, with its trademark soft-shell crab burgers drawing the masses.  Now though, it’s set to close at the end of 2014, so you don’t have long to visit!
Shrimpy's at The Filling Station, King's Cross | London lunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
I visited for brunch/lunch with Emaad, Rory, Katie, Chris and Ciaran.  The menu (also masterminded by the guys behind Bistrotheque and Hoi Polloi – I see a pattern emerging…!!) is a journey through the Americas, and includes dishes that you might find in Peru, Mexico and the Deep South, with a few European flavours thrown in.  Katie had been tipped off about the Frickles (deep fried pickled chillies) – be sure to order some to keep you going while you browse.
Shrimpy's at The Filling Station, King's Cross | London lunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
This is probably the most expensive of my three suggestions, with all main dishes upwards of £12 (at Hoi Polloi and Bistrotheque the brunch dishes are sub £12).  So what do I recommend?  The soft shell crab burger (with bacon, rouille & provolone cheese, or avocado & chipotle – £13.50) is a must-try and is what Shrimpy’s is known for.  The Humita with fried eggs, chilli and chorizo was also strong – a Mexican-style dish I was not familiar with before.  Ricotta hot cakes with dulce de leche (£7.50) are a wonderful breakfast/dessert option, as is the banana & peanut butter sandwich (£6).
Shrimpy's at The Filling Station, King's Cross | London lunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Depending on your state of mind, you can drink anything from a bottomless filter coffee (£2) or a cocktail (~£9) – the Habanero Margarita (with tequila, lime, agave and hot Habanero sauce), Shrimpy’s Espresso Flip (tequila, Bailey’s, Kahlua & espresso) and Shrimpy’s Fizz (cachaca, pineapple, mint, lime & Cava) featured around our table.
Shrimpy’s has an outdoor dining area by the canal for the warmer months, or you can sit indoors (up at the bar or book a table).  A fantastic venue and a strong menu, I definitely recommend you visit before this places disappears at the end of the year.
Shrimpy's at The Filling Station, King's Cross | London lunch inspiration from HYHOI.com, Have You Heard Of It? blog
Shrimpy’s this restaurant closed down in 2015
The King’s Cross Filling Station, Goods Way, N1C 4UR