The Rock Star’s return from a two-week sabbatical down under was as good a reason as any to head out for drinks. Friday night lights saw us going back to the Golden Heart, the unassuming little boozer that is a mecca for East London hipsters. And us of course. Friday night hummed as fashionable young things influenced by but clearly not witness to the New Romantic movement of the 80’s, worked themselves into a collective frenzy as wine, lagers and vodka flowed with abandon. One of the groups of pretty young things near us even honoured that time-old tactic of producing a litre bottle of vodka from her bag to top up her gang’s OJ’s and tonics. Quality. The Rock Star and I unintentionally grabbed the attention of the local junkies, who seemed attracted by the fact that we were paying for our own drinks and therefore clearly in the money. After humouring them for five or so minutes whilst trying to work out exactly what they were on (I thought Heroin, the Rock Star thought Crack – like we’d actually be able to tell the difference) we ushered them on their way and headed inside. One of them actually pointed out that I dressed / looked like one of the Blues Brothers. Worse still I think she meant the short fat one.
The Northerner showed up and after a couple more drinks, her and I ambled on down to the Hoxton Apprentice in Hoxton Square. Set in a Grade 2 listed Victorian primary school building the Apprentice is a charitable restaurant set up to help the long term unemployed back into work. A predecessor to the Jamie Oliver gig, it is not as flashy and pretentious as Fifteen, albeit equally as well-intentioned. Given the setup the food can be mixed, and the cocktails a tad on the ‘sweet’ side. Nevertheless as ever our school dinner on the night was pretty damned fine, and a cracking bottle (or was it two?) of Pinotage more then compensated for any inconsistencies in the menu. It certainly made assembling flat-pack furniture the following morning rather difficult.
I’m not normally one to promote ‘good cause’ entertainment ventures, but one I would support is the Hoxton Apprentice. Superb location, warm service, and in the case of the Northerner’s main and my dessert, some very good dishes on the menu. And if you want to carry on drinking there are plenty more venues dotted around the Square a mere stumble away, some of which will no doubt feature in this blog at a later date.