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  • 5.0 star rating
    13/8/2013
    1 check-in

    We were supposed to have dinner here but ran out of time before the babysitter had to go, so we settled for 2 delicious cocktails--I loved my Great Gatsby--and a fried chicken appetizer, which I could have had another and called it dinner. It was delish.

    I had never been to Hoxton Square but found it to be a great spot with a lot of outdoor seating which is fantastic and hard to find in London.  We sat on the deck, sipping our cocktail, with pleasant music in the background.

    Our server was super--can't wait to get back there for a fully loaded dinner--and we will bring friends next time--because after all, a great meal should be shared!

  • 3.0 star rating
    6/10/2013
    1 check-in

    Stopped in for dinner last night.

    This is a nice looking place inside Hoxton Square yet was quite empty 8:30pm when I arrived. It did start to get busy later in the evening.

    So onto the food, nice. Yes, I wish I could say more compared to the last time I was here which got yummy reviews. I shared the mussels with my companion and they were very good, cooked well (not chewy); actually seemed to melt in our mouths, however, the cream sauce tasted a bit..well milky. Not sure what happened or if they used a substitute or even just had a slightly off night.

    I had the Gnocci and that was good too. Earthy flavour with wild mushrooms. My date had the risotto and well, look you will not please a real Italian on that score, he said it was just ok. The risotto was not creamy (so he said), nor seasoned except for the squash.

    The atmosphere is cool in here. It has a low buzz so you can chat without shouting, the service is efficient and helpful.

    Anyway, we were satisfied and that set us up nicely for the rest of the evening.

  • 5.0 star rating
    17/7/2013

    It has a big bus on the inside!  And black pudding scotch eggs! And Great Gatsby cocktails with gin and grapefruit! And outdoor seating (we're in the middle of a heatwave).

    I came with a large group of friends, and we luckily got two tables outside. They were more than happy to accomdate a "bring some of everything" order from the starters, which we very much enjoyed. Capnoata, cold, with amazing goats cheese (amazing). Scotch eggs with black pudding, but not those little round ball scotch eggs, oh no. Whole eggs wrapped in a thick layer of black pudding then panko breadcrumbed and fried. Oh yes. The steak starter was also delicious, and the steak main which I managed to have a bite of was chargrilled and perfectly medium rare.

    The waiters were all so friendly, the cocktails were delicious, and it wasnt too rushed or mobbed as I perhaps unfairly expect of popular, delicious London places.

    I loved the square it resides on and if I were back in London, I would seek it out again, and seek out those Scotch eggs.

  • 4.0 star rating
    4/6/2013
    1 check-in

    Monikers. It's like high school, but cooler.

    I wanted to sit in the 'bus' (upstairs), but unfortunately that section was closed. I came in with a friend around 6PM and it was completely dead. It was empty. Although this may deter some people from dining somewhere, I think it's great (as long as the staff gives you their full attention as there is no excuse for bad service at that point).

    The menu is unique. There is a wide range of interesting items and they are meant to be shared among the table. My friend and I split everything so it was nice being able to sample multiple items from their menu. The service was perfect, I have no complaints. Our server took the time to explain the menu and make some great recommendations. Good cocktails, unique and tasty food, with a great atmosphere!

  • 5.0 star rating
    17/2/2013
    6 check-ins First to Review

    I can seriously vouch for the new kid on the Hoxton Square block.

    And I'm very thankful its arrived -- HSQ needed a shot in the arm.

    After all, I think I qualify as their one and only regular...having pulled up a seat both Friday AND Saturday nights. What can I say? I like the place.

    I walk my dog in Hoxton Square Park and had noticed the (sad) shuttering of Hoxton Apprentice (never got a chance to try myself). Quickly work began and I waited each day to see what would be opening. Finally a large chalkboard appeared last week with the message "Guinea Pigs wanted! Make a reservation." And some nice signage bolted up (non-garish, departure from the rest of the restaurants on the square) and a "follow us on Twitter" @MonikersHSQ. Done and done.

    And Guinea pigs are surely rewarded: half off the food bill on our Friday reservation, and we provided feedback via the cheekily composed "report cards." There is a subtle school theme going on here -- not too overdone, really cool. There's even a Midlands bus dissected and hanging from the upstairs balcony. The restaurant is in the former gymnasium space -- this is actually, a former primary school.

    Friday: popped in around 8pm with a group of 4 for dinner and drinks. Many bottles of red wine and a sampling of ALMOST everything on the menu had us stuffed and tipsy. The standouts included the short rib (on special), Scotch egg (my first with black pudding!), scallops, ox tongue...and the list goes on. They really are looking for genuine feedback here, which I REALLY appreciated and admire. Good way to start things off! My only regret is that my group was into the wine and I never got a chance to go after a cocktail...the list looked tempting. And at 7.50 -- on the inexpensive side for London.

    Last night (Saturday), we wanted to have "one more drink" before calling it a night. Popped into a swarmed Happiness Forgets, spun around and walked right out. Where to? Oh, that new place across the way -- probably has a seat or two since they are new.

    Right-o. Four drinks later (each, not combined!) we toddled home very happy with our choice. I tipped a Greta Garbo, a Clover Club, something the incredibly talented bartender surprised me with and a French 75 to cap the night. My drinking buddy/v-day date had the "In Ade of Lemons" (special of the evening) + 3 'extra peppery' She's So Fresh --- delightful! The bar experience was fantastic, I'd surely return just to drink!

    Staff gets high marks: A+ all around. Very friendly, working hard, no pretense, really enjoyed speaking with many of them.

    Welcome, Monikers! I'll continue to be a regular.

  • 5.0 star rating
    4/5/2013
    ROTD 16/6/2013

    Really, really liked this new spot in Hoxton Square. Decor pays homage to the venue - a former chemistry lab of a secondary school, incl. beakers and a school bus!

    I came here with a friend on a Thursday evening, and, to our surprise - it was fairly quiet. Not what you'd expect from a trendy new Shoreditch establishment on a Thursday evening - but we decided to venture inside anyway to try it out. We grabbed a comfy spot by the door and ordered up some delicious craft beer and bar snacks. I highly recommend the beer sticks!

    The staff were extremely attentive - in fact, it might actually be the friendliest London service people I've ever met since my move from Canada. They were like a merry band of beer-serving elves.

    I'll be back - and next time for a proper dinner!

  • 3.0 star rating
    4/8/2013

    Two or three? Two or three? Okay 3!

    The three is only because they serve Monmouth Coffee!

    I can admit that my lower-ish score is based on two things (1) I'm a vegetarian (2) my ethnic palate.

    British people will truly dig this place! Don't get me wrong the atmosphere is dope and the location is in a really cool part of London.

    But for the food, I had two sides the tomato on toast and sharp express potatoes and for me I just wasn't completely feeling it :(

    Maybe the meat dishes are delish? Maybe I should have tried a main dish? Maybe it's just me?

  • 5.0 star rating
    10/3/2013
    1 check-in

    It's got potential! Moniker is the classy new upstart on the Hoxton Square block. Open a wee 3 and a half weeks, it's already been recommended to me twice. You can keep your Byron burgers and your Red Dogs - there's a new sheriff in town.

    After eyeballing them at the We Feast event, we decided to celebrate my sister and I's pre-birthday dinner here. Rather naively I booked because I figured, east-London newcomers are always rammed. But Monikers was fairly quiet at 7.30pm. Everyone was probably still at We Feast. It has a lovely intimate vibe and I enjoyed waiting for my friends to arrive in the quiet calm.

    I started off with a French 75 cocktail, which was good but not amazing. Then onto buttermilk chicken, hmmm. But didn't blow me away. Then the pork belly starter - hellloooooo. Monikers doesn't need to mess around with trendy fried chicken, not when it does pork belly this good. Tender, flavoursome and just gorgeous drizzled in gravy.

    An eensy weensy plate of quail's eggs to follow. They take forever to peel but are delightful.

    Onto the mains, the pigs cheek's with mash was phenomenal. So hugely tender, it was like butter in your mouth. And I practically devoured the whole mash myself.

    However, I felt my rare steak salad was the outstanding winner and I HATE rare steak. It was light and refreshing, the steak had so much incredible flavour. I fell in love with it and maybe be converted from a medium to a rare fan.

    No meal is complete without a decadent dessert and the chocolate marquise is that. Salted caramel icecream and a heavenly chocolate pudding. Hmm.  I only wish I had gotten to try the Neal's Yard cheese board.

    Apparently Moniker are going to be doing breakfast, coffee and pastries and brunch soon, so I can't wait to enjoy that in these surroundings. A former gymnasium, it has huge open windows for the sunlight to stream in. Shoreditch is in dire need of a decent new brunch spot, so can't wait!

    The staff are highly knowledgeable about their menus and not afraid to give you some good recommendations.

    Didn't like the ladies/disabled toilet situation though. That could use some work, I generally like more than one bathroom in restaurants I frequent as I hate to queue.

  • 4.0 star rating
    4/3/2013
    2 check-ins

    A great meal right from the welcome at the start.  I like the school room theme with specials on the roller blackboard and changing room benches with coathooks behind and a big illuminated globe. Just quirky enough and not too much.

    Foodwise its the small plates theme here but varying prices and portions to match with some appealing menu options on the modern mostly British theme.
    Our selection included Buttermilk chicken, potted clams with pickled cucumber and sourdough toast, a rare skirt steak salad with radish pea shoots and crispy shallots and a dish of gnocchi with buttered chantarelles and truffle oil which came with parmesan shavings and was more of a main portion size vs the other dishes which were starter size.

    The steak salad was a real standout for me and had a good savoury almost truffle like flavour and perfect tender texture. The crispy shallot strips and small greens complemented well and think it could have had even more greens and shallot on top.

    The potted clams and pickled cucumber (served in mini kilner jar - of course!) was a nice and interesting variation on the theme that worked well.

    The gnocchi was also super good and flavourful. In fact we had some chips on the side to mop up the rest of the sauce.

    For desert I sampled the quince, almond and polenta cake with calvados cream. Seemed to be freshly warm from the oven and just moist and light enough with a small dab of cream (perhaps a bit more cream would be good, in fact I always just want to pour cream all over something like that).

    Wine, beer and cocktails are available. There seemed to be a steady stream of cocktails coming from the bar but we stuck to bottled beers (a few Camden Brewery and others on the similar theme) but slightly on the pricey side for the beers.

    Water comes in a chemistry conical flask at the table and they provided a school report card feedback form which is a great sign for a new place wanting real feedback. Also appreciated the friendly and attentive service, straightforward and friendly atmosphere and overall concept, in addition to the great food.

  • 3.0 star rating
    14/5/2013
    1 check-in

    I liked Monikers as soon as I walked in. The décor was interesting and made me feel right at home (being all scientific/school themed).

    We came on a Sunday lunchtime but unfortunately were too early for Sunday lunch - they only serve that from 2pm, way too late for lunch for me. So we had to go with the other items on the menu.

    I went for the chicken pie. £9.50 and I do like a good pie. From the sides menu (chips, mash, salad) I opted for some mash. Now correct me if I'm wrong but judging from that sides menu would you not assume that the pie came with some sort of seasonal veg on the side**? I did, or at least I assumed it would be a pretty hefty pie. Anyway, it didn't. It was just a small pie. It wasn't even an amazing pie, it was just nice.

    A small, nice, £9.50 pie with only a small pastry lid*

    I ate the mash and the pie in mins. Still hungry I went to Pret with my partner who was also still hungry after his full english.

    Would I go again? Yes because it is nice, but only if someone invited me there. I can get meals bigger and better than this for the same price all over hackney in gastropubs and restaurants.

    I did like the décor though.

    *lid only pies, why? why? why? the pastry is the best bit so why give us less.

    ** I checked their menu online and they appear to have more sides in the evening. I didn't see them on Sunday so will have to go back and check for verification.

  • 4.0 star rating
    26/2/2013

    I was loured in with an invite to be a guinea pig for a new menu and 50% discount. It was well worth it. Old school decor, literally, including old classroom and gym equipment and parts of a bus! Great service, unusual European tapas
    Including scallops and larger main meals, a nice beer list of local Camden ales and a very nice atmosphere. All in all a pretty nice place! Not cheap even with the discount, but great quality all round.

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