The Holy Birds is an interesting name. I am sure it is steeped in history or is a great story to tell, but having worked for restaurants for years in marketing, I tend to ignore these tools of the marketing trade and head straight for the offering. What is the food and drink saying? With Holy Birds, there is much more to say than just about the food and drink. So, you happen upon a forgotten part of Spitalfields. It is not quite Devonshire Terrace and not quite Bishopsgate. But hey, that’s a good thing. Its ‘space’ individuality ensures the crowd are carefully curated. No drunkards working their way down a high street of venues, no flashy city boys keeping in with the in place, just a super slick secret tucked away nicely.
You enter the entrance and you are immediately drawn to the row of colourful phones. It’s like being a kid at the supermarket check out, all those sweets you want to touch. You try to curb the urge, but you want to know if they are working or take a quick selfie with these cool objects straight out of a 1960’s TV set. The fear got the better of me and I chose not to touch it and I am not one for selfies, so I just opted for a instagram worthy shot my friends and followers would dig. The ground floor space is big with an open kitchen and dining space to the right and a large lounge bar to the left. This is the tip of the iceberg, but let’s start at the beginning and work our way through. The restaurant is a good size with well spaced tables. I must say I am not a fan of tables where you are almost on top of the person you are no actually dining with. There is something to be said for personal space and the fact that this place honours it, is a big plus. Built for couples or small groups, the room gives you a good view of everything that matters; the kitchen and the bar. Partner that with a wicked funk soundtrack, you are really onto a good start.
So onto the food and drink menu. There is a cocktail menu which I imagine the bar team have worked tirelessly on. A solid amount of classics versus new fusions appear to wet the palete before dinner or seal the deal as a digestif. My recommendation is that you dine in the restaurant and take yourself into the bar, so you can see firsthand as the gorgeous boys translate their passion into drinks making theatrics.
Having played it safe with a glass of wine, we ordered our starters which was for me, a cheese lovefest. I love cheese. In fact, to be more precise, I love blue cheese. So my starter of Shirred Hen Egg, Beenleigh Blue and Spinach was divine. All hot and bothered with chives sprinkled on top and a side of sour dough bread. If I was certain i would not be returning someday, I would have dipped my finger in it. Oh the sensuality of this dish. Yum. I felt for my dining companion who ordered Heritage carrots, roasted parsnips, curd and curry oil salad. It appeared like hers would be bordering on boring in comparison to mine, but apparently it was a wee unassuming salad which packed some punch. So fresh and so clean clean (that’s a song lyric). I was excited, not because of the sensual cheese experience but because the bar was set for the mains. It would have been so easy for me to go for chicken, it is my go-to dish after all, but as is the case recently, I shook things up with duck. Roast duck breast (tender and pink), butternut squash (lush) and chicory tatin (a welcoming bitter partner to the sweetness of the butternut). Miss thang went for a half rotisserie chicken with hand cut chips and gravy. The moistness of this birds meat was on point (I am talking about the chicken).
You see a theme here (not the sexual inuendo), but the appreciation of what The Holy Bird has granted us with. I pray this will never end, but it did. Table cleared and a pukka old fashioned later, we went on a tour. Yes, this is where the ‘more than food and drink’ comes into play. Underneath this ground floor fabulousness is a groovy lounge bar which is not dissimilar to a members lounge where you would hope you are part of the in crowd. Not because it’s elitist, as this vibe was majorly inclusive but because its that cool place you search for which not many people know about. You walk down some stairs in the quiet, then they open the doors to a hype of activity. Cheeky chicas and funky menfolk stand around with cocktails, perch on chair arms, lounge on sofas and pretty much look like they are here for the eve. As if that wasn’t enough, there is a wee private dining room which may well be where I celebrate my 30th (cough).
This is probably the longest review I have written in a while but it’s because I am sold. I dig this spot to the max. It is near home and work. My mates would love it. It ticks a lot of boxes. A big yes from me!! Please pretty please, do not become that packed place
The Holy Birds
94 Middlesex Street
London E1 7EZ