whilst many a london bar has experimented, perhaps exhausted the 1920s speakeasy theme, few have attempted to conquer the decadence of the golden age of exploration. all aboard hoxley & porter - somewhere between the late victorian invention of steam train travel and the egyptian treasure hunting escapades of the 20's with a dash of art deco thrown in for good measure, the bar-restaraunt centres around the fictitious mr hoxley and his hunt for the priceless 'porter' diamond. enter the venue through a theatrical walkway styled like an old fashioned steam carriage and you're transported back in time on your own adventure to a luxotic destination - paris, cairo, istanbul, cape town, timbuktu? stacks of vintage luggage line the deco-papered walls whilst candle-soft lighting bounces off the angular, architectural mirrors. on to the menu.
imaginative cocktails with fantastic names are the star with gin and rum the celebrated spirits. we opted for the my daddy owns a yacht concoction, well worth it for the boozy cherry at the bottom alone although we could have gone for the whatever doesn't kill you, a colour changing cocktail garnished with an absinthe-coated scorpion. the food menu is delicious although largely european-based and we'd hope to see it evolve to reflect a more global cuisine in-keeping with the travelling theme. start with a perfect goats cheese and beet salad or seared scallops and celeric, then head for a hearty pie of the day, cider-braised pork belly or roasted cherry tomato and halloumi tart. finish up with the chocolate crème brûlée with popping candy or sundae with salted caramel and peanuts before taking to the bar for a night cap and dreams of adventure in faraway lands. location: 153 upper street [islington].