While a train journey from Cape Town to Cairo may have landed Master Hoxley with a jubilant jewel and an infamous disappearance, a stroll down the road in Islington and a three course meal landed me in none other than unadulterated colonial bliss. Slap my thigh and call me Virginia, it's no wonder that Master Hoxley sauntered off, when such hidden gems are afoot....
Hiding its colonial cool behind a fun facade of mahogany, Hoxley and Porter may be easy enough a destination to miss. But for the the love of all things elegant - just don't. Walking through a train carriage corridor, leather handles and the like, and landing inside the venue is nothing but a trip back to 1890's colonialism. Split between dining area and luxe liquid lounge, Hoxley and Porter's rich and broody tones are to be admired. Sprinkled with vintage trinkets, you're spoilt for choice between gilded, golden pineapple lamps, Cole & Son-esque palm print wallpapers, shield back mahogany dining chairs and plush green velvet loungers. The complete antithesis to an Ikea jaunt, Hoxley and Porter have not only mastered a theme, they've done a Master Hoxley and ran away with it.
The Food & Drink:
Kicking off with cocktails, as any good reviewer should, Hoxley and Porter's suitably themed selection inspires. Tucking into Aunt Jemima at £8.50, 'she flirts with your boyfriend, and can't handle her drink', I was met with a deliciously tart punch that blended pisco and campari with prosecco. But ladies and gents, it was Liquid Gold that stole the show. A luxe cocktail of rum, saffron, vanilla and lemon, this gentle yet rich cocktail almost melted in the mouth.
Dinner was next, and following a somewhat morbid but oh so sensible discussion on death row meals, I think I may have found mine. Starting with a baked Camembert box doused in prune chutney, the party upon my palate had begun. Pairing my already robust starter with seared duck breast, wild mushrooms, bok choi and sauteed potatoes at £14.50, this dish tasted like home; hearty, prolifically buttery on the tongue and warming. And no, my home is not a block of butter. Finishing with a chocolate, hazelnut and poppy seed brownie, my finale was as grand as the start. All accompanied by an Argentinian Malbec at £22, our entire meal was as rich as the enviroment we were eating in.
The Atmosphere & Clientele:
Wednesday may be the woe for many a liquid lair in the city thanks to a case of the mid-week blues, but not so much at Hoxley and Porter. While the restaurant area was bound by a charming and gentle buzz of dining couples and friendly catch-ups, barely was the bar quiet. Mixed between local business sorts and further cocktail cavorting couples, I do love a bar that can generate its own atmosphere from clientele and cleverly curated lighting alike. And while i'm not so sure on my current romantic prospects, any future dates getting a look in to this review will probably have an idea of the restaurant bar i'm set to suggest: it has just the right amorous air. You know, if you wouldn't mind kind sir. Pair all this with a smashing background playlist of Miles Davis, Otis Redding and more, and you've got yourself one rhapsodic atmosphere.
While you won't be needing to invest in a lace parasol or Williamsburg-inspired wares, Hoxley and Porter will transport you to a destination you'd barely thought to book yourself in for. A damned delicious meal entwined with rich interiors and lovingly curated cocktails, Hoxley and Porter are most definitely going on my Christmas card list.