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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

How the mac ’n’ cheese met the truffle oil

Christian Huhnt recounts an evening of rock ‘n’ roll at the opening party for Hollywood Road’s latest venue, Honky Tonk

 

When you hear about the opening of a London-based “underground NYC inspired rock ‘n’ roll restaurant,” the last thing you expect is to find it in the very heart of an area that estate agents now call “Little Chelsea.”

 

Honky Tonk, 6 Hollywood Road, London, SW10 9HY

So, my companion Steffen and I headed off to determine what this mystery may be, and to learn what the owner, who is supposedly involved in The Supper Club, was willing to reveal that night. As soon as I arrived, I found myself sipping a chilled drink, while listening to some Screamin’ Jay Hawkins vibes. “The Gringo,” a mix of tequila, juice and wheat beer is described as “a delectable intertwining of Mexican and British” on Honky Tonk’s drinks menu and it is just such.

 

As I was pushed deeper into the venue, away from the bar at the entrance, I felt I had been left alone in the middle of Shoreditch, with a 60s-inspired retro-American “highway diner” flair interior of unrendered walls, raw lightbulbs, Formica tables, and pierced and tattooed modern-hippy looking 20-somethings; only the pretty waitresses reminded me, that I was in fact not in a greasy US-diner, but at an opening in Chelsea, West London.

Guests enjoying Honky Tonk’s opening bash

Honky Tonk’s bar staff creating cocktails

One of Honky Tonk’s waitresses serving cocktails

When it came to the food, served as canapés, it again became clear, that I was in SW10. The “not” fried chicken, as the waitress educated me, is only coated with a “special recipe” and then oven-baked. It has as much crispy pleasure as it would have had fried, but it is far healthier and plainly designed so as not to dispossess the figure conscious guests of this elite neighborhood.

 

Almost finished with this delight, I tasted the next dish on the menu: New England crab cakes in a chili-mayo sauce, followed by little potato skins loaded with chilli con carne and sour cream. As I wasn’t sure anymore if this food could be solely called “good old-fashioned American bites,” the next dish was most definitely the tip of the iceberg: the macaroni cheese, apparently the “Baked Beans of America,” the synonym of cheap grub, the epitome of total culinary absence. Here at Honky Tonk, though, they controversially served this with a porcini béchamel and truffle oil sauce, along with roasted wild mushrooms. Believe it or not, it worked and it was bloody good.

 

While getting in the mood with another fancy drink, one of my favorites by the way, I tried a rum and ginger beer concoction topped with a slice of lime and listened to Elvis Presley’s Mystery Train playing in the background. Whilst enjoying this, I realise that the Chelsea boys and girls have arrived and are mingling with the hip East London crowd. I have seen this lot at many other openings and can’t assume they were shipped in, but nonetheless the spot is suddenly buzzing and a great evening follows.

 

Examples of the humour of Honky Tonk’s management adorn the venue’s walls

Honky Tonk promises to deliver the New York vibe, bringing cool Blues, Jazz and Rockabilly tones with regular live music to the heart of posh Chelsea. Well done so far.

 

Rock on!

 

Honky Tonk, 6 Hollywood Road, London, SW10 9HY. Telephone: +44 (0) 207 351 1588. Website: http://www.honkytonkchelsea.com.

  1. Really well written. I love American-style diner food and an East London feel so I will definitely check it out. (Plus I love mac n’ cheese with truffle oil). Thanks Christian for your cool write-up! x

  2. This is absolutely one of the worst dining experiences i’ve had in ages. The food was a miserable excuse for american dining, the staff were utterly useless – it took 45mins to be served only for the wine to arrive minus glasses and be plonked on the table in front of us without being poured. Crab was a joke. Manager was pithy. It’s also got a really weird atmosphere – it’s a laugh because it’s not remotely genuine, and the fact the waitresses are walking around in Daisy Dukes with their asses hanging out is laughable. Not a good look if the whole restaurant can barely serve a meal properly. It’s embarassing, not cool nor worth the visit. There are millions of better places in the area that do a much better job.

  3. Dear Olivia,
    To your comments:
    Plonking bottles on the tables and not pouring it in the invisible glasses, while walking away and showing asses is exactly how it should be. Well done management! Or have you personally made a different experience in an American Diner? Furthermore, which one is serving wine bottles at all?
    Next: “There are millions of better places in the area that do a much better job.”
    This reveals that you don’t seem to know the area at all.
    NEXT

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