For this week’s date night, we took ourselves out in Shoreditch and sampled Hackney’s Dirty Bones diner, though not before dropping into the Nightjar for a cocktail or two.
The look: Marco De Vincenzo Squirrel-Print Crepe Dress (MatchesFashion) teamed with Saint Laurent Thorn Pointed Patent Pumps (Luisaviaroma), Alexander McQueen Cat-Eye Sunglasses (Net-A-Porter) and the Lanvin Black-Glossed Leather Box Clutch (Harvey Nichols).
The bar: Nightjar
When you have to book in advance for a place, you know either not going to be worth the hype or seriously worth its salt. Nightjar is definitely the latter. Low lighting, sultry decor and a long list of cocktails divided between America’s pre and post prohibition eras, Nightjar provides the whole package. The Shoreditch speakeasy is famed for its cocktail expertise served up with smooth slice of live jazz and blues — the ultimate place for pre-dinner drinks. One reviewer claimed Nightjar ‘don’t just make drinks, they make dreams.’ *mic drop*
The restaurant: Dirty Bones
Decked out still in seventies attire with faux columns and neon lights, Dirty Bones really has taken the bare bones of this Shoreditch Grade II listed building and injected it with the ounce of shabby chic it really needed. The plush original fittings and the comfy seats clinging to the sides of the room, makes Dirty Bones an impressive American-diner experience.
After its success in both Kensington and Carnaby Street, the restaurant found its true niche location tucked off Shoreditch High Street. If you’re out for a few drinks in Brick Lane bars, this is the place you’re going for a classy dive bar dinner. Choose from burgers dripping in gooey mac and cheese, dogs doused in Sriracha, beef short rib in sticky barbecue sauce, or the signature Dirty Bones chicken and waffles.
On arrival we opted for an aperitif. Like many places, the menu is host to cocktail specials including Dirty Faves and The Candy Shop selections but they’re more than happy to whip up a classic if you ask. The Dirty Mary, if you’re feeling delicate, is topped off with a sour cream Pringle rim, while our Lavender Martinis offered the floral flavour we thought we could only ever smell.
The mac balls are the go-to starter, they’re served up with sweet chilli sauce — we never dreamt up that combo but it truly worked. Foolishly I couldn’t get enough of that mac-cheese action so followed this with another super cheesy Mac Daddy burger, excellent though perhaps limit your mac-cheese quota to one dish! Fortunately not everything on the menu is that dirty. The spiced roast veg salad with sweet potatoes and the grilled aubergine and parmesan side are delicious options if you’re if you’re fancying something lighter.
If you’re planning on ordering dessert maybe skip out on the starter as the dishes are all super filling. The waffles with caramelised banana and Toblerone chocolate sauce are the ultimate dirty dessert, while a boozy digestif or double chocolate shake is just the sweet treat you need to round off this devilish dining experience.
Visit mid-week if it’s date night, otherwise we hear rumour it can get pretty loud at weekends with their resident DJ – but hey, that’s what you want at the weekend, right? Cheese and tunes! Otherwise, call in at the weekend and sample their brunch menu. The music is pretty chill at brunch-time, so ease yourself into the day and call it Sunday.
For more London date night inspiration, click here.