Working lunch in the City: Tonic and Ready

Our guide to the best places to eat during office hours in the City and Canary Wharf
WHAT? Don’t be fooled by a name that brings to mind medieval lotions and potions, Tonic and Remedy is a bitingly modern Hoxton restaurant from Gary Rhodes protege Paul Welburn. The Hoxton eatery, located on the first floor of the M by Montcalm Hotel in Hoxton, serves up classic dishes with experimental flourishes.
WHO? Welburn was head chef of Rhodes’ Michelin-rated W1 restaurant by the time he was 26. He appeared on the 2014 series of the Great British Menu, where he achieved a coveted 10/10 score for his main course, which was inspired by his home in the north east of England. Historical recipe books are an inspiration for the menu at Tonic and Remedy, with Welburn taking a particular interest in the use of herbs throughout the centuries.
WHERE? When Hoxton established a reputation as one of London’s trendiest areas, it had nothing to do with City Road, the unloved and often congested thoroughfare leading from Islington into the City. Tonic and Remedy sits at number 157 on the first floor of the M hotel, its colourful food a welcome addition to an area so dominated by glass, steel and heavy traffic.
ORDER THIS... Like every self-respecting fancy restaurant these days, Tonic and Remedy has a section of the menu devoted to things cooked on a Josper grill. On this evidence, the £18,000 they forked out for the indoor super-barbecue was worth it: my steak was melt-in-the-mouth tender with crispy charring around the edge. The suckling pig belly was also a winner: rich and succulent with a refreshing accompaniment of green veg.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? The website says “vibrant... relaxed and friendly” but it’s definitely quieter and more formal than that suggests. It has that quiet, almost sombre atmosphere you get in hotel restaurants, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’ve got serious business to attend to.
NEED TO BOOK? Yes, to be safe. Though it’s unlikely to be full, it’s definitely the kind of place worth reserving a table, if only to be near the window.
THE VERDICT.. Delicious food in an unlikely setting. Everything seems to conspire against Tonic and Remedy’s attempt to generate an atmosphere – from the exterior of the building to the traffic outside to the jet-lagged clientele – but the food and the cocktails more than make up for it. Welburn’s approach to cooking is genuinely original. All of our courses were enjoyable.
ONE MORE THING... If you want an interesting cocktail, go for the sazerac, made with cardamom-infused Makers Mark, absinthe and candy floss – the best drink I’ve had all year.
The details: 151-157, City Rd, London EC1V 1JT, to book, visit

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