Touch-screen menus. Japanese electronic toilets. Table-top CCTV coverage of the chefs prepping your meal. These are some of the many ‘quirks’ I’ve seen in restaurants over the years, which aim to ‘wow’ hungry visitors and leave a lasting impression. Some people love it. I …kind of see those things as being gimmicky, try-hard extras which act as distractions from the things which matter. Service. Atmosphere. Interiors. Food. Drinks.
We ate in a special little place recently which ticks all those boxes by using the oldest trick in the book: Less is more. It’s stripped all that nonsense away and focused on those five aforementioned golden rules which result in the perfect, neighbourhood local eatery. Foxlow.
It was the newly-opened Stoke Newington branch which we visited – the second Foxlow restaurant from the Hawksmoor family. There is so much weight to that previous statement. A ‘second’ restaurant, to me, says they’re doing well, but not selling out by opening a branch on every street corner. Their essence hasn’t been diluted. Their priorities and standards remain strong. It’s a bit like the joy of having twins versus the nightmare of having triplets. Then there’s the Hawksmoor reference. Something of a London restaurant landmark, but one which sits comfortably in the high-end bracket, in terms of pricing. Maybe you don’t want to be spending that amount of money on dinner on a Thursday night, but you still want something special? Foxlow’s your man.
It’s the Fred Astaire of restaurants. Timeless. Classic. Suave, but understated. If Foxlow were a person, we’d want him to ask us out, we’d want to be seen with him, we’d want him to meet Grandma. The interiors channel a subtle nod to the forties without being ‘themed’. Everything about them are rich and stylish; the heavy wooden bar, the soft pools of light from the ceiling, the beautiful furniture and the antique accessories which adorn shelves and dressers. The atmosphere is chatty and relaxed and the wait staff wear their own casual clothes, so the whole place feels special and upmarket, but comes with a side-serving of grounded and down-to-earth. Yes, Foxlow.
Then there’s the food. An eclectic mix of original recipes and classic dishes with a twist. Ingredients are carefully sourced and mulled over by those in white. We recommend the house-cured salmon which came beautifully presented and dressed with spices and pepper. We also adored the presentation and taste of Foxlow’s fried chicken – yes, you read that correctly. See? Grounded. It arrived in a little mesh fishing basket and was to die for. The ten hour beef short rib was also excellent. In short, nothing about the food disappointed. Quite the opposite, in fact. We washed it all down with a beautiful bottle of red, as recommended by our waiter. Foxlow pour their heart out over finding incredible, unique wines, which they store in their in-house cellar. My goodness, we were in good company.
It was one of those wonderful nights. We took everything slowly, we chatted and sipped wine and enjoyed the food at a leisurely pace and then left Foxlow to head into the night. It’s located on Church Street; our favourite street in London, so the cycle home had that extra bonus.
This place is an ideal place to take the parents, or a great place to eat with friends. It’s a reliable, strong contender in this overly-saturated restaurant scene in London and one which we cannot recommend enough.