30 March 2015

Saved by the Hubbard & Bell

UPDATE. Hubbard & Bell has now closed permanently.

On Friday, I had a rare day off to spend in London and the first activity on my to-do list was a proper brunch. I had a date with the ICA, which meant I needed to pick somewhere fairly central, and Hubbard & Bell — the restaurant in the Holborn branch of the über-trendy Hoxton Hotel — stood out on my Instagram feed. The Hoxton, Holborn, opened late last year and has the same cool but relaxed vibe as its Shoreditch sister. As well as a place to sleep, The Hoxton also has a cool lobby café, a nail bar and even a branch of Chicken Shop; what more could you want?

Hubbard & Bell is small but immaculately decorated in shades of teal and mustard. There are a handful of comfy distressed leather booths, some long sharing tables and a few seats at the long bar, which was where I perched as I watched the chefs prepare the day's lobsters.

I had heard that the coffee was pretty good, so I ordered an Aeropress brew (£4), but they also serve Chemex, Sandows cold brew and the usual range of espresso-based drinks. The hand-drip coffee of the week was an Ethiopian coffee (this one, I think) from the Cornish-based Origin roasters, which had a nice fruity acidity.

I also treated myself to a glass of red juice (beetroot, carrot, ginger, pineapple, orange, lemon and apple; £4). I had sneaked a peek at the breakfast menu online and although both the eggs Benny and the smoked salmon bagel sounded great, I was always going to have the avocado on sourdough toast with a poached egg and pistachio (£8). Although I love avocado and/or eggs on toast, the pistachio was the selling point for me — an unusual but delicious-sounding topping for a breakfast classic.

The food came beautifully presented on an Instagram-ready flowery plate. Naturally, it didn't stay that way for long and that beautiful poached egg oozed all over the toast. The avo had a nice lime kick and the pistachios worked really well as a garnish.

Hubbard & Bell is a great place for brunch — or, indeed, any other meal. It's open all day, and you can grab a coffee in the loungey café area near the stylish white La Marzocco machine, or stop by later in the day for a burger or steak and a cocktail (Prof. Jerry's Peppers & Cherries sounds particularly good).

Hubbard & Bell. 199–206 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7BD (Tube: Holborn). Website. Twitter.

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