A weekend in June: Hotbox, Dinerama & Dinosaurs

Well, June has been hectic. In fact, wait a minute, it’s JUNE? And it’s July IN TWO DAYS? When did this happen? I have no idea where my time has been going lately. It seems to be slipping away faster and faster (along with my money). Just this Friday I’m moving (again) to Bow Road, so if any of you are East Londoners, mine is a Gin & Tonic (no cucumber, god help you if I find cucumber in my gin).

Secret Cinema - Force Choke

Force choke – Photo by Arthy

But why has June been so busy I hear you ask? Well I’ll give you a snapshot of just one weekend to really hit it home. It started with a gig on the Thursday, the Movielife to be exact, at the Electric Ballroom. A whole heap of my friends were down from Leeds as well as a bunch of people from London. The Movielife are one of those bands that helped shape half the people I knows music taste. They got big in the early 00’s before breaking up and continuing with various endeavours (Vinnie, most notably in I Am The Avalanche). This meant that while it was a Thursday, a rather large amount of booze was consumed, and by the end of the set I had no voice left.

Secret Cinema

Galactic Explorer

This geared me up nicely for Friday, which was work (yawn) followed by Secret Cinema presents: The Empire Strikes Back. Once I finally got over my hangover, it meant getting into fancy dress (as a Galactic Explorer no less). I don’t want to give too much away with this as the name suggests it’s “secret”. I will however say that it’s a thoroughly enjoyable evening and if you’re going, get down early to make the most of the experience.

Rough Trade

Rough Trade Photobooth

I got back to Walthamstow in time to be home before my friends arrived from Leeds. They’d decided to take an impromptu trip a little earlier in the week so that one of them could escape Leeds for the weekend to cheer her up. This then lead to an even more packed weekend than I’d already had planned. Beginning with Brunch at Hotbox in Shoreditch. Hotbox has been on my list since it was bought to my attention by my friend Natasha. They are known for their bbq’d meat as well as their meaty twists on brunch. So basically, two of my favourite things. We got down early on the Saturday (about midday) and it was still quiet enough for us to easily get a seat. We were shown to our tables and opted to start with hot drinks (I grabbed an Earl Grey while the others got different sorts of coffee). Our waitress was helpful when I asked her to help with my choices (I was hungry and hungover and basically wanted to eat everything on the menu). She pointed out that one of my choices (the smoked meat hash with fried egg, would make the perfect sharing dish so we grabbed that between us). I opted in the end for Fried Chicken Waffles and both of the others grabbed Bacon Pancakes.

Hotbox London Earl Grey

Earl Grey

Hotbox London Conor

Conor

Hotbox London Lucinda

Lucinda

The chicken was tender but had a wonderfully crispy batter, the only real downside being the small helping of Maple Syrup (come on guys, I want to drench my food in it). We were bought both of Hotbox’s homemade hot sauces to try and both went great with the chicken as well as the hash. I snuck a bit of someone’s pancake and can attest to their fluffiness (but hey, if you’re messing up pancakes you shouldn’t be doing brunch full stop). The hash was a great sharing option and added a good change of pace to the other dishes.

Hotbox London Pancakes

Pancakes with Bacon and Syrup

Hotbox London Smoked Meat Hache

Smoke Meat Hache

The rest of the afternoon was spent pottering around east London before heading to Dinerama, ran by the guys behind Street Feast and Model Market. It’s another one of their semi-permanent street food markets which is going to be running throughout summer. This one, unlike the others, will be open Thurs-Sun and all day as well as just the evenings so it’s definitely worth popping down. Even in the rain it was pretty busy so in the sun I’d expect it to be heaving.

Hotbox London Chicken Waffles

Chicken Waffles

Hotbox London Chicken Waffles
Chicken Waffles & Syrup

On offer was BBQ Lab, Yum Bun, Busan BBQ and a number of other stalls. Taking up camp in the seating at the center we spent the evening grabbing bits and pieces from around the different vendors and sharing them out between us. We were at this point joined by Erica and Char and the gin started flowing a bit faster.

Dinerama

Dinerama

Chicken Wings

Wings from BBQ Lab

We tried: BBQ Labs wings (all 3 kinds) which, while small, were well balanced, well battered and tasty (absolutely loved the Miso ones, so get them if you can. We were also recommended the ribs but I was fancying some other stuff), Prawn steamed bun from Yum Bun (standard Yum Bun, great as usual), Gyoza from Rainbo (the only real disappointment of the night, a bit soggy and just not that great) and finally some Doughnut balls with salted caramel and chocolate ice cream from You Doghnut!. Others tried tacos (Breddos Taqueria), burgers (Busan), ribs (BBQ Lab), a Duck Bagel(Duck & Roll), but I was happy with what I’d already eaten and resisted the urge to stuff myself further. Dinerama is a more than welcome addition to the summer street food markets and is a good option in both rain and sun. After a quick visit to Mother’s Ruin in Walthamstow for a few more gins we wound the night down with cards agaisnt humanity (in which I bought out my inner demon and slaughtered everyone).

Doughnut balls

Doughnut Balls from You Doughnut!

Tourists

F*cking Tourists

The quiet end to the night was intentional as we wanted to be in South Kensington bright and early to go and see the Dinosaurs (trips to the Natural History Museum make me far, far, too giddy for a 27 year old man). We wanted to avoid the queues plus L & C had to make the journey back to Leeds (with a fairly knackered car no less) and I had wrestling to go and watch in Highbury.

Natural History Museum

Dinosaurs

Natural History Museum

More Dinosaurs

Natural History Museum Pals

They should be in a band or something…

That was just one of my weekends in June. I have a much quieter July ahead, and I think that after moving, I’m going to need it. How’s your summer been so far?

Natural History Museum