I love BBQ’d meat, especially ribs, so you can imagine that Hotbox on Commercial Street has been high on my ‘Must Eat’ list for a very long time! I tried out their bottomless brunch a couple of months ago. It was very good but nothing compared to the ribs on offer on the main menu. Let me set the scene…
After attending the christening of our friends beautiful little baby girl we all went to the Gordon Ramsey pub The Narrow in Limehouse for some celebratory drinks to wet the baby’s head. All in the name of tradition, of course. By the way The Narrow is a gorgeous venue. You can watch the sun set over the River Thames which is just beautiful. Also we we’re eying up the food coming out as it looked really good. I will definitely be going back in the Spring to try the food and see the lovely views again.
After a couple of glasses of prosecco and no lunch you can imagine we began to get rather hungry (ravenous some might say!). We jumped in a taxi down the road heading for Som Saa because this has also been on my list since it opened. We arrived at 6:30pm and there was a two hour wait for tables! A massive boo. And so we walked across the road to Hotbox! There was still an hours wait but with the promise of lots of meat the boys were very happy to wait a little.
The great thing about Hotbox is they take bookings (hurrah!) but if like us you don’t think that far ahead and just wander past they have a cosy bar downstairs that you can wait in. It’s quite dark down there so you may need to use your phone to read the menu (ha we felt old when we did this!) but they serve some great snacks so you can keep yourself going until the main event!
The mac and cheese balls went down a treat as did the ever-so-moreish fish glazed chicken wings. The tangy glaze was made to be mopped up with the sweet potato fries!
When we gave the waitress at Hotbox our order she questioned whether we wanted it all… I asked if it was too much and she said ‘well you’ll definitely be full!’. With two very hungry men we weren’t worried about food going to waste. But wow, we did order a lot of food and boy do you get your monies worth.
We went all-in for ribs. It was a glorious meat feast!
We ordered two beef short-ribs and two portions of scotch bonnet pork ribs with a selection of sides. In hindsight, 3 portions of ribs would have been more than enough.
Now these short ribs at £22 each are big enough to feed two. They are ginormous! The meat is actually served off the bone. You get a 28 Oz Black Angus beef rib which is dry rubbed and slowsmoked for 8 hours. It is unbelievably tender and the phrase melt-in-the mouth was made for this rib. The meat is very rich and so I thought the tangy and fresh tasting pickled jalapeño slaw was the perfect partner for these ribs.
The pork ribs at £16 are also great value in my opinion because you get four rather meaty dry-rubbed ribs which have been smoked for 6 hours with a beautiful scotch bonnet pepper glaze. These were utterly delicious. I liked the spice to the glaze and of course the meat was tender. They do know how to cook their meat at Hotbox!
I know it’s all about the meat but they do bring it with the sides too. I loved the tangy coleslaw, but the beet salad was also a great fresh tasting addition to the order. And they do serve perfectly crispy sweet potato fries that are fluffy on the inside.
As I’ve said before, dessert has a separate stomach, and so obviously I had to order the deep fried oreos! Oh my, these were so naughty and so good. Served with vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce, I smothered them and dived in. The oreos had almost melted in the light batter that surrounded it. All I can say is if you have any space left, order them!
I think it’s very safe to say we had a great meal at Hotbox. At first glance the ribs might seem expensive but you really do get what you pay for – a whole hunk of meat that is cooked to perfection. And we definitely didn’t need to order 4 portions of ribs for 4 people! Though we very much ate it all as it was just too tasty to leave a morsel. They also deliver on the sides too and that jalapeño slaw is the perfect type of tangy to go with the rich meat.
I will most definitely be returning to Hotbox, the burgers look epic and I really love the sound of the blackened cauliflower steak. And yes I will be ordering that as a side to my meat!
Do you have a favourite place in London for ribs? Is there anywhere else I need to check out!?
46-48 Commercial St