46-48 Commercial Street, City, London, E1 6LT
When we found HotBox in the late morning, it was already buzzing. The decor is sleek and the menu meaty, featuring American barbecue and soul food with a bit of a Cajun kick along the way. We perched on one of the busy communal benches, eager to tuck into a late barbecue brunch. Judging by the packed tables, it seems like the word is already out about the quality of this place’s menu. It all began on the streets of East London, when HotBox was part of the street food scene. It would have been rude to turn down the bottomless drinks option, which included an array of Bloody Marys, mimosas and Prosecco, as after all we were enjoying a day off in and around Spitalfields. There was also a range of craft beer and delicious cocktails we couldn’t wait to work our way through; the basilbased gin cocktail with passion fruit and spicy Ancho Reyes chilli cocktail with smoked salt sounded divine. My partner went straight for the trademark smoked selection: it came served on a large wooden board laden with pork ribs, jalapeño chicken thighs, pulled pork sliced brisket and to top it off, a large traditional US hotlink spicy sausage. A super-charge of smoked meaty goodness; it’s not for the faint-hearted. A combination of kiln-dried hickory and oak is used in the rotisserie smoker, and the meat is cooked low and slow. The result is tender, succulent meat that has maximum flavour. I had the more modest yet generous portion of 18-hour-smoked beef brisket slider, which came with chillies and onion, alongside the pork belly Benedict on a bun with spiced Hollandaise topping. We couldn’t resist desserts of deep-fried Oreos with cornflake ice cream, and grilled pineapple served with rum ice cream – we couldn’t have wished for a better way to end our feast. We left, eventually, ever so slightly merry and with a warm glow, ready to enjoy the rest of our day, and planning to return to HotBox soon.