Master & Servant, 8-9 Hoxton Square, London

Amol Rajan goes nose-to-tail in the heart of Hoxton

I know what you're thinking, because I'd be thinking the same thing. You've seen from the top of the page that this week's restaurant is in trendy east London, in heady Hoxton of all places, and you're thinking, "Oh hell, here comes another article about the most urgently cool place in London, hip and happening bloody Hoxton, crammed full of artists and graphic designers and fashion slaves, and people who work for Vice magazine."

Well, relax my friends. This page is devoted to gastronomy, not geography (well, at least until my final paragraph). So let's just concentrate on the food, shall we?

Master & Servant is very much in the domain of what I have indelicately called Hendersonism. This is named for Fergus Henderson – he of the pinstriped penguin suits, circular glasses from Cutler and Gross, St John's stardom, and enemy of vegetarians the world over. Happily, Hendersonism contains all the letters, in the right order, of "hedonism". Nose-to-tail eating. All the bits of the beast, boiled and fried and sautéed and what not, to make sure none of it goes to waste.

There are so many places in this mould now, from Hereford Road in west London to Brawn in the east, that you could reasonably ask what on earth is the need for another. My answer: there is no "need" for most restaurants, in that the Earth would continue to orbit the Sun if they didn't exist. But there is a demand, indeed a growing demand, and satiating demand is the need of a growing economy. As it happens there is a lot of demand in trendy Hoxton – oopsy! – and so Master & Servant has its place, and will, no doubt, be successful.

Matt Edwards, who bills himself on the website as "owner and agitator" – and why not? I'd do the same if I'd set up my own business before I was 40 – is a former MasterChef semi-finalist who worked in Henderson's St John Hotel. Luke Cleghorn, head chef, worked in the same establishment, as well as St John Bread & Wine, as well as The Real Greek and Selfridges.

The menu they've come up with changes constantly and is heroically short: six starters, six mains, four sides and four desserts. I go a bit nuts and order six Carlingford rock oysters (£2.50 individually), and these have just the right degree of slurp and saltiness. Then back fat and radishes (£4) looks like it's been borrowed from the set of Ghostbusters, but goes very well together. The jellied ham on sourdough (£5.20) is good, albeit over-toasted; and the half crab with chipotle mayonnaise (£7.50) is fine, if unexciting.

The mains range from £14.80 for baked greens, Ogleshield (an unpasteurised cheese from Jersey cows) and Jersey Royals; to £58 for a Hereford Porterhouse steak for two. In other words, these are your standard London prices, and as such, are too high for most middle-class punters, or anyone saving up for one of their thrice-a-year blow-out meals – the type of punter, incidentally, that I think all the best restaurants delight and surprise.

There is a decent turbot with wild fennel and salt lemon, but it is just way too expensive at £19. The smoked Middle White shoulder with white-cabbage 'slaw for £16.50 is a tale of two halves: the pork is much too dry, but the cabbage is a completely delicious juxtaposition of crunchy vegetable and smooth cream, which does the disappointing pork a big favour.

All of the desserts are excellent: rhubarb posset with spiced biscuit (£4.90); chocolate éclair (£5); pistachio doughnuts and honey syrup (rather Turkish and £6.10); and peanut-butter ice-cream (£4.20). I should add that the wines are reasonable, and there is a fixed-price lunch menu: two courses for £15 and three for £18.

I couldn't say there was a really memorable dish, and the prices are too high, but I have a feeling, for reasons already stated, that Master & Servant will do well. This is not- half-bad Hendersonism in a part of the world where appearances count for more than substance, so if you're under 35, have some dosh going spare and need an excuse to visit Hoxton, this is yet another.


Master & Servant, 8-9 Hoxton Square, London N1, tel: 020 7729 4626. £110 for two, including one bottle of wine


This oasis near City Hall has built its reputation on accomplished (and offal-heavy) British cuisine.

152 Tooley Street, London SE1,

Great Queen Street

Quintessentially modern British, offally fare. A good ambience, though it can be extremely noisy.

32 Great Queen Street, London WC2, tel: 020 7242 0622

St John Bread & Wine

Awesome small plates of gutsy British fare – not least the legendary bacon buttie.

94-96 Commercial Street, London E1,

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?