Anyone who’s sauntered around Hoxton Square in East London, or tipsily navigated from bar to bar on a night out, will know of Zigfrid Von Underbelly. This staple of the Hoxton scene is renowned for being a great place to listen to awesome DJs, upcoming bands, and generally have a damn good time. Many a night out has culminated with shots at the bar, or moving your feet to the music downstairs in the Underbelly.
There’s a cool, eclectic and slightly tongue-in-cheek vibe inside Zigfrid itself; the kind of place you can imagine meeting people with a story to tell and making new acquaintances. Absolutely nothing stuffy, and that extends to the staff, who are charming and luckily absent of that East London swagger some bartenders of the area have.
Admire the gleaming be-signed back-bar, resplendent with all the neon of a nineties rave, or glance around at the random curios such as surfboards hanging from the ceiling, nostalgic rocking chairs, or a cheeky totem grinning out from amongst the décor. The furniture is suitably eccentric, such as high-backed throne chairs that might have you feeling as if you’re dining at a tea party in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.
This is food to feed your soul – from hearty classics such as sausage and mash, to the famous Big Ziggy Burger. The latter item is an absolute revelation – better than any chain variety you might get in the area. It’s nestled in that decadent example of seductive, slightly slutty baking, the brioche bun – we see it as the Nigella of the bread world - and man, is it absolutely stonkingly good. The patty is cooked to perfection (we like it as rare as a Kardashian’s modesty), and is served with Parma ham, smoked cheese and loads of extras.
Other must-tries include the ribs – prime pieces of meat-cushioned pork ribs, slathered in tangy sauce, and the chicken wings. Oh, those chicken wings or ‘Big boy Buffalo Wings’, as the menu proclaims. Dip the crispy skinned blighters in cheese sauce and snack away like you’re at a 4th of July party. Ziggy is doing Americana food as well as our cousins across the pond, and if you like nachos, then this is the place to come. And we love nachos. Especially when they’re topped with generous toppings such as this. There are also pizzas, brunch and sharing plates to get your teeth into.
So what about drinks? Local breweries are supported, such as ales from Hoxton Square Craft Beer Co, and the Hoxton Cider. The wine list has everything you could wish for, but, most importantly, the cocktails – sorry Rocktails - have to be tried. We began with a delicious Margarita, followed by a thirst quenching Mojito made with Havana Rum.
There are some pretty groovy summer libations as well, such as the Hoxton Square Summer Martini (Hoxton Gin with hints of coconut, shaken with Cointreau, pineapple and lime), or the Ziggy Sungria, which is an exotic mix white wine, lychee liqueur, passion fruit puree and a dash of apple. But our favourite? Probably the Negroni. Whoever was whisking it up at the bar has a darned good taste for this classic cocktail, and we could have sipped on the amber goodness of this herbal, strong aperitif all night.
And the best bit? When you’ve filled your belly (and possibly started on a skin-full) then there’s no need to head off in search of entertainment. The Underbelly of Zigfrid has a reputation as being a prime location for new bands, exciting DJs, and generally awesome music prowess.
So, whether you’ve passed Zigfrid before, found yourself in its depths, or never heard of it – this should be your wakeup call. For feel-good atmosphere, delicious food and expert cocktails, there should only be one choice – so go ahead and get Ziggy!
Edited by George Cheley