Bar Browsing: Made in the Shade, Hoxton Street
Imagine a cocktail lounge bar with an old east-end boozer vibe served with a big twist of Carribean flavour. Madness I hear you cry! ‘It’ll never work’ you’re shouting from the rooftops! Well imma tell you now, they’ve gone and done it down in Hoxton and it works a treat.
Made in the Shade is a new East London haunt, nestled in the middle of Hoxton Street. Every time I come to this part of town there seems to be some new bar or cafe that I ache to dive into, but Made In The Shade looks to be among the best of the bunch. Their name comes from an old 1950’s phrase meaning to have ‘everything you’ve ever wanted in the comfort of your own palm tree’ and boy did they provide. As you wander down Hoxton Street you can’t miss this place. The outside is like a piece of artwork in itself, all beautiful cobalt and midnight palm trees painted onto sheets of old iron and wooden facades. Step inside and you’ve got the easy feel of a cockney boozer mingled with the atmosphere of a tropical night spot.
Having been settled into our table by our thoroughly friendly and attentive waitress, we set to working through the best part of the cocktail list. All curated by international drinks experts Jeremy Thompson Jewitt, Jim Wrigley and Peter Lewis, it was exceptionally difficult to choose. However I believe in being true to oneself and opted immediately for a Shady Maid Lemonade, a GIN based cucumber concoction with a sharp old twist of lemon. Each ingredient in each cocktail is hand-picked and there for a reason, and that even includes the ice. Not just slung into your drinks, this stuff is hand-cut from huge slabs of the cold stuff into shapes to suit the drinks, be it a long shard (wheeeyyyy) or a rubix cube lump, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘On The Rocks’.
What’s so fab about Made In The Shade is the clear care and love that they’ve heaped into the place by the bucketload. Having had a chat with ‘Jim-The Drinks Guy’ it was clear he knew his tequilas from his Tia Marias, and he said the same of the chef, BBC favourite Patrick Williams- they both are very much ingredient focused. It’s a far cry from my usual M&S Pink-Gin-in-a-Tin I’m telling you.
Oh and yeah, the food. THE FOOD. Mr Williams has whipped up a short and succinct menu of British classics with a clear Caribbean influence. I always feel safe when restaurants have a short menu- it’s better to do a few things well than be overwhelmed with choice from a menu as long as my family’s Christmas booze receipt. I opted for the belly pork served with pickled onion mash and jerk sauce. AND BY JOVE I WOULD RECOMMEND MY PALS. Tender, generous cuts of pork that fell to bits at the mere sniff of the cutlery, creamy mash with a piquant edge (not a hint of monster munch picked onion here) and all topped by a slightly sweet but naughtily spicy sauce- if this jerk sauce was a person it would be a handsome lad who gave you a wink and called you darling.
The list of puddings looked so enticing that we couldn’t help but yield. As a slab of Death By Chocolate was dished up in front of us, our tastebuds went weak. Rich, indulgent and old school- this was like a hot school dinner chocolate sponge pudding on crack- just utterly delicious.
Having slurped our way through most of the cocktail menu (Mr Wrigley makes them just the way I like them- STRONG and with a massive punch of alcoholly attitude) we wobbled out of the door into the clutches of the night, having felt like we’d escaped out of the London madness, and stepped into the Shade for a bit. Next time you find yourself down in the East part of town, I’d highly recommend finding your piece of the Shade.
bloodyhellbrennan was a guest of Made In The Shade
Made in the Shade
177 Hoxton Street,
T: 020 7613 0477