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Gigi’s Hoxton

12 July 2019 | Billie Manning

Gigi’s Hoxton provides good drinks and good times. The new bar-cum-restaurant-cum-music venue on Hoxton Square has an edgy, industrial vibe with a large open interior decorated variously with unusual deer statuary and provocative paintings. The classic rock soundtrack adds to the atmosphere, and it’s easy to see how Gigi’s could provide the basis for a fun night out.
 
There’s a small but attractive terrace which faces on to the square, which has the advantage of being both in the middle of Shoreditch but away from the main hub of the action – perfect for a summer tipple after work. Staff are friendly and attentive, and two glasses of wine arrive at our table in no time – a rosé and a white which both exceed expectations of a house offering, particularly the well-balanced rosé.
 
The venue is also now a restaurant, with chef Antonio Mollo heading up a diverse but largely Italian-inspired menu. The menu leans towards sophistication - there's certainly no pizza here - and starters fall between the £7 and £10 mark. Some choices have further-flung inspirations (whole mackerel wrapped in banana leaves) and some lean towards more traditional Italian dishes like burrata and crispy squid. The squid is delightful, with light, homemade batter that lives up to its crispy moniker and avoids any greasiness, coming with a good tartare sauce, but the burrata isn't as fresh as it should be.
 
For the mains, which average out at around £14, there’s more of a seafood influence than you might find at most similar eateries (and certainly no pizza) but there’s a wide selection of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes, from creamy gnocchi to sea bream. However, a long wait post-ordering is followed by a food mix-up and another long wait for the correct dishes. The crab linguine with courgette and cherry tomato, plus a chilli kick, is generally good, with the perfectly cooked pasta you would expect from an Italian. But the whole grilled aubergine with panzanella salad, when it eventually arrives, is far too garlicky and not properly cooked.
 
Back in the realm of drinks, cocktails are unusual, fun and tasty – particularly enjoyable is the ‘Frida’, named for the Mexican artist and including a sweet combination of Mexican flavours: silver Patron tequila, raspberry Tia Maria and fresh fruit. Gigi’s has got it down when it comes to its drinks and its vibe, but don’t make food the focus of your visit, or you might come away disappointed.

Gigi's Hoxton, 11 Hoxton Square, Hackney, London N1 6NU
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