8 Hoxton Square is another one of those restaurants that I’d been trying to go to for ages. I would have friends visiting, and I throw it out for a suggestion. And either I couldn’t get a booking last minute or it was the holidays and they were closed or someone just wasn’t interested in it. Thanks to my husband having work near Old Street, this time I managed to book us in to it for a meal after work. Since we weren’t exactly sure when he was going to be finished, we agreed to meet at nearby Casita for drinks beforehand as he still hadn’t tried the famous Tequila con Verditas that we of the Boozy Bunch are so very fond of. (Turns out he’s a fan too. We are now required to figure out how to make the delicious green chaser at home.)
After some drinks, we arrived at the restaurant. When we arrived, it was practically empty, so I wasn’t sure why I booked, but it definitely filled up as the night went on. 8 Hoxton Square is the sister restaurant to 10 Greek Street which I’ve actually not been to. Mostly due to the fact that they don’t take dinner bookings there. This is not the case at 8 Hoxton Square, so it’s already better in my eyes. We were shown to our table, handed menus and given a selection of what turned out to be very delicious breads. My favorite was the focaccia, as it was nice and oil, almost crispy on the outside. My partner’s favorite was the brown bread. The chorizo bread was incredibly tasty too with bits of chorizo baked into it. As my husband knows his wine, he also decided the best wine on the menu was the Rioja, but it only came in the magnum. Which ended up with us ordering an entire magnum of wine for two people, and the waiter didn’t even bat an eye that. (The name Boozy Bunch seems really apropros now.) The wine was absolutely phenomenal.
The things that really jumped out at us were on the small plate menu. This menu definitely seemed to be on the Spanish tapas side of things. There was one starter that seemed really great: the lamb heart with pumpkin, so we knew we were going to get that. My husband also really wanted to try the risotto with mushroom, burrata and truffle, and we decided we should split that as well. That left quite a few small plates to try out. Or so we thought. Turns out they had a Manx Lamb special on served with anchovy parfait and root vegetable gratin. It completely ruined our plans, as we knew we were going to have to have it as soon as it was mentioned. We decided to get two of the small plates (padron peppers and cuttlefish) and the lamb hearts to start. We reserved a lamb as there were only a handful of orders available and decided to see if we would need another small plate or two before having our main courses.
The small plates were great. Padron peppers are always a win with us, and this time there wasn’t the shockingly spicy ones: all mild and delicious. (Although I do love the spicy ones!) The lamb heart was perfectly cooked and paired very well with the pumpkin and the yogurt. And the cuttlefish with squid ink just melted in the mouth. Wonderfully cooked and offset just enough with the bitter chicory. We decided we needed one more small plate (gorgonzola custard) before having the risotto and the lamb mains.
I’ve never had gorgonzola custard before, but I really want it again. It was a deliciously savory, blue cheese flavored, warm, set custard. There was bread to eat it with, but it was great by the spoonful as well. The risotto was really well done for a restaurant risotto (I’m picky about them, as they are usually too dry and stodgy) with a nice mushroomy flavor and a real bite to the rice. The lamb was perfectly pink and the anchovy with it was just fabulous. So far everything we ate just left me wanting more. Finally, we had to go for dessert. My husband ordered cheese (of course), and I got the cointreau panna cotta with pomegranate and pistachio.
The panna cotta was seriously good. It had just the right amount of wobble and a really rich flavor. The pomegranate and pistachio added nice texture, and I was incredibly happy with my choice. The cheeses were very nice as well, although the creamy cheese that was a blend of goat, sheep and cow was a bit too goaty for my husband. (I think he ate it anyway though). He also decided to give the port and rum Negroni a try before leaving. I took a sip and it was less sweet than I expected (given the port), and had that nice bitterness a good Negroni should have.
I’m incredibly glad I finally made it here. There wasn’t a bad thing I put in my mouth, and I’m sure there are other things I’d want to try (the beef for two looked great, but we had beef the night before). Any time he’s back in the area, I may have to book it to give it another try. The service was incredibly friendly and laid back, and we didn’t feel rushed to leave. Kudos to 8 Hoxton Square for giving us a lovely evening.
8 Hoxton Square
Hoxton, N1 6NU