The Ace Hotel/Hoi Polloi, Shoreditch
100 Shoreditch High Street
by Haulin' Oats
The first thing you notice upon walking into the Ace Hotel is that there’s an awful lot of stuff for sale. Ace Hotel branded T-shirts, baseball caps and two-tone duffle coats are all available, though the staff are kitted out in these, so you’d have to be careful wearing them on site - someone might ask you to do something. Or sell them something,
There are brand new vintage bikes dotted around, replete with faux leather saddles, which you can buy. There’s vinyl tiling the front of the reception desk that you can buy (things like the Easy Rider soundtrack and Fleetwood Mac albums, of course). There’s an old school photo booth which maybe you can’t buy. The chairs at one table are mid century vintage, at the other Swedish minimal. One wall is exposed concrete, another opaque wired glass. The strategy seems to be; if it’s hipster, or kind of arty or sort of design - chuck it in. Perhaps the vision was to achieve a type of maximal, characterful ambience but it just feels confused, contrived and a bit crap.
My friend said it sounds like an East London theme park. He’s good at summing things up.
Unable to find a menu I’m pointed to a thin fanzine with Hoi Polloi printed on the front. It turns out that I’m actually in Hoi Polloi, an ‘English Modernist Brasserie’ from the people behind the cross-dressing and dining stalwart Bistrotheque. It drapes itself across the Ace Hotel reception meandering into a coffee shop area and subsequently through to a more dedicated restaurant.
My latte arrives warm and not extra hot as requested (perhaps satisfying a coffee Nazi responsible for its creation that "the flavour of the milk has remained unimpaired").
The granola has a home-baked feel, a lovely dark colour, but isn’t sweet enough. And in a rare granola switcherooni there are actually too many nuts. I know! But there are.
The compote is 3 strips of rhubarb, which has an incredible perfumed flavour balanced perfectly on the sweet-tart axis. However, its not compote-y (gooey) enough. You can’t divide the stalks with your spoon to get the desired proportions for your mouthful. And there’s not enough of it. The overall amount, is reasonable. Not generous, but enough.
I was really hoping for an Ace-hole in one for this granola experience. I thought the hype and big hotel success would help deliver it. However, mildly satisfied, a couple under par, I move on.