Situated on the former Grand Union site on Upper Road, the 28-cover venue is the brainchild of Costa Tofan, who also operates The Betsy Smith – a ‘Narnia-style’ bar in Kilburn.
“We wanted to bring something unique and fresh to Islington - at Hoxley and Porter you'll find inspiring drinks, fine food and the space to appreciate great company,” said Tofan.
“We have created somewhere you can stay all night and get lost in the story, somewhere you can come back to time and again and discover new elements to your surroundings.”
The theatrical features of The Betsy Smith are again prevalent in Hoxley and Porter, which forks into two distinct experiences. The restaurant area is influenced by one-half of the venue’s name, Hoxley – an explorer who ‘has broken away from his genteel English roots to discover the mysteries of Africa’.
It therefore takes a train theme, with staff adorned in train conductor uniforms and a carriage-styled design, with natural light provided through leaded glass, wicker seating and gilt-edged tableware.
Diners can expect a modern British affair, with traditional cuts of meat and fresh in-season vegetables. Dishes include crisp cider-braised pork belly accompanied by glazed baby vegetables, parsnip puree and fondant potatoes; and pot-roasted rabbit with herb-baked butternut squash and crispy bacon.
Daytimes cater for brunches, business lunches and family groups while evenings will evolve from dinner service to late night private gatherings.
The cocktail bar is then themed under the name ‘Porter’ – ‘a diamond so exquisite that since its discovery in 1880, has inspired riches, ruin and royalty’. It’s interior is designed under the theme of ‘lost kingdoms’ and the walls are made up of a collage of diamonds, scarab motifs, flora and fauna.
Heading up the bar team, Michael Pendergast brings together seasonal and home-crafted ingredients for the drinks, with nods to ancient cultures and exotic flavours, presented in a theatrical style.
Signature cocktails include the ‘Caribbean inception’ - with fried plantain fat-washed gold rum, lime juice, overproof white rum and molasses syrup; and ‘Whatever doesn't kill you’ - garnished with an absinthe-coated scorpion which changes colour from blue to bright purple.
The venue will also house The Crypt downstairs, a ‘hidden flavour laboratory’, offering many of Hoxley and Porter’s own ingredients such as ginger ale and more edible scorpions.
Hoxley and Porter is currently under a soft launch and will officially open on Islington's Upper Road on 13 September.