With family visiting from the north I thought this would be a perfect excuse to try out somewhere new for brunch. Hoi Polloi is inside the ACE Hotel and we were rather confused when we arrived as to if this was actually the restaurant or if it was a canteen for hotel guests! The decor is sparse with a bit of a 1960’s twist shown with the lamps and the seating (and the pink toilet seats…). In my opinion this isn’t pulled off particularly well… the gold ends up looking trashy instead of Mad Men the tables reminded me of school instead of an old, upper class eatery. It almost feels like the restaurant hasn’t decided on what the theme is going to be and has mish mashed together lots of little bits from different eras and styles. We did enjoy the string quartet which played music including the likes of Nirvana and Katy Perry though!
The menu was rather limited and quite overpriced although I did like that it was in a newspaper style, it kind of added to Mad Men theme. There was some confusion as to which part of the menu we should be using as we had arrived at the cut off for breakfast and the start of brunch, the transition of which seems to be a major operation. I went for a small eggs benedict, my sister had eggs florentine and my nephew chose the eggy bread with bacon. The egg dishes were both around £6 and when they arrived my sister audibly gasped. Half a muffin was served with one poached egg and whilst I had a fair amount of ham she had a rather pathetic couple of leaves of spinach. The meal was absolutely delicious though and I was satisfied at the end of my meal. My sister on the other hand had finished her brunch before I was half way through mine and whilst she admitted the poached egg was good the muffin was too small for her to appreciate any part of that. If you go a large you get 2 eggs on 2 half muffins but at £9 it’s not the cheapest.
The coffee was good and whilst not the size you usually expect from an english restaurant it was fitting with most european coffee sizes. It was also a relatively good price, although I didn’t particularly like that it was called “posh coffee” on the menu… adds to the statement that they haven’t quite decided on a theme.
The eggy bread was to fluffy for my taste but my family quite enjoyed it. It comes with 2 pieces of bread and around 4 small rashers of bacon. It is also quite expensive at around £9. We did some people watching whilst waiting for my nephew to finish his meal and saw that most people who order the eggs benedict also end up ordering something else to go with it. They’re clearly already in the know!
The staff are the main redeeming feature of the restaurant. Every single one of them was polite and friendly in a non pretentious and quite uplifting way for an early Sunday morning.
To conclude, if you are out with hungry northerners this is not the place to take them. Nor is it the ideal place to go on a date in my opinion as you can go somewhere much quirkier with more of a choice. However, it is a girly weekend where you want a pastry and a coffee before spending the day leisurely shopping, it’s quite ideal.
100 Shoreditch High St
020 8880 6100