East London

Published on June 11th, 2015 | by Sophia Longhi


Zigfrid von Underbelly, Hoxton Square

Zigfrid von Underbelly, Hoxton Square Sophia Longhi

Summary: While you're pointing out Hoxton Square as a late night destination to burn some holes in your dancing shoes, come a little earlier to feast and enjoy some excellent East London hospitality


Hoxton Rebel

These days it’s pretty hard to find an original in East London – with each wave of whatever’s in fashion, every bespectacled and moustachioed hipster and the next latest Brooklyn-inspired beer and burger joint – but, hunched like a defiant leather-clad young punk at the corner of Hoxton Square, there it is…

Zigfrid von Underbelly

It’s been there since Hoxton became Hoxton and hasn’t changed much either. Proudly self-proclaimed as ‘the only Hoxton Square venue under independent Irish rebel ownership!!!’, it was created by a group of young punks – Goldsmiths graduates – as a space that artists, musicians and all kinds of free-thinkers could come and hang out. Kind of what the spirit of Hoxton is really about, then.

Primarily known as a live music venue, Zigfrid is a champion of independent music acts, who rock out most nights in the space downstairs called the Underbelly. Upstairs is a dedicated space for dancing late into the night – Ibiza-groomed DJs come from all over to play house, electro and nu-disco on the Zigfrid decks.

The venue itself is like an art installation. Designed by Paul Daly, who has worked on hundreds of venues, restaurants and bars all over the world, it is plastered wall to wall with crazy artwork, eccentric sculptures and zany neons. With totem poles, vintage sofas, animal skulls, velvet and leather, it is glam rock meets surf shack meets acid trip. And in the centre of it all is a rather sleek cocktail bar.

But, does it have beers and burgers, is what you want to know. YES – it does. And, with local ales and homemade grub, Zigfrid stands as a strong contender among the rest of Hoxton’s gastro destinations.

The menu is a medley of bar favourites: sharers, nibbles, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and old hearty favourites. We start with a few of the most popular – the nachos, wings and the vegetarian greengrocer’s board (got to have good veggie options in East London). The nachos were great – good sized portion, fresh guac and tasty salsa. With just the right amount of gooey cheese to stave off an argument with your dining partner, they went down a treat.

The wings are the perfect sharing nibble to go with a pint of Hoxton Square’s London Plane Ale, as they come in a portion of 20! They were sticky, sweet and lovely slathered in the homemade cheese dip. The stand-out, however, was the greengrocer’s board. Usually sharing platters are piled with anything and everything deep-fried, but everything on there was fresh and homemade. The marinated aubergine and courgettes were a big hit, as was the tofu and sun-dried tomatoes with focaccia.

Zigfrid is a place where you go big or go home, so we then shared the deliciously meaty BBQ ribs and the Big Ziggy. The Big Ziggy is how a burger is done, my friends. It is a homemade beef patty (cooked to your liking) with Parma ham, smoked cheese, tomato, rocket, onion jam, mustard and lemon mayo, all packed together in a gloriously soft brioche bun. It was so good. And it was only £9…£9!

This place is serious about their drinks too. With local ale from Hoxton Square Craft Beer Company and Hoxton Cider, they will satisfy the pint suppers among you, but the bar crew here really know how to make a cocktail. If you decide to deviate from their list of ‘Rocktails’ (the Mojito is a summer’s day dream), you are in good hands. I had an expertly mixed Negroni, which was an awesome pre-chow choice.

So, while you’re pointing out Hoxton Square as a late night destination to burn some holes in your dancing shoes, come a little earlier to feast and enjoy some excellent East London hospitality. I, for one, am making a pledge to myself to return for a Sunday Roast – I know it’s going to be another one of Ziggy’s many hidden gems.


Zigfrid von Underbelly, 11 Hoxton Sq, N1 6NU

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About the Author

Lioneye Media lionesses, Sophia and Rebecca, can tweet with one hand whist sipping an espresso martini with the other. Dedicated food, wine and cocktail connoisseurs, they love nothing better than scoping out London for its best bars and restaurants. Follow their exploits and breakfast pics on Twitter @LioneyeMedia

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