Boondocks (American) – Hoxton, London
Our decision on visiting them was motivated by the recent update to their fully Halal food menu, with a number of vegan dishes added to offer more variety.
This American-inspired restaurant is actually part of the Feed Your Soul umbrella-brand which also houses sister site Stax, in Carnaby’s Kingly Court, as well as the London dessert cafe Butterscotch.
After all, where else will you find music sheets for wallpaper, and fairly lights interwoven with whispy branches overhead that produce a quirky ethereal effect.
There’s also a basement area where the restaurant holds various events from time to time, which can be accessed via an impressive spiral staircase.
The Virgin Mojito certainly needs some tweaks. Not only did the lime fail to properly come through, but the mint had a bitter aftertaste to it.
As for The Roy Rogers, then it reminded one Lion of the classic Vimto drink, with its syrupy-sweet cherry taste, except that it lacked depth and intensity.
But it was the fruity burst of The New Yorker, with the hint of ginger beer and mint, our pick of the mocktails.
In spite of the valiant attempt at presentation, the two shakes tried didn’t have that body one looks for in a well executed one.
As such, while the Fudge Brownie Swirl was milky, and thus quite insipid, the S’mores was thicker, with the chocolate coming through. Overall, however, these aren’t really worth it.
Wasn’t quite the hit with everyone this Boondocks Nachos. Despite one Lion describing this as “basic” and “traditional”, and considering it a “soggy mess” which comprised of the “same flavours”, the other two enjoyed both the assortment of flavours and mixture of textures.
The combination of the beans, the fresh salad, the gorgeous sticky beef, the heat generated by the jalapenos, and the sweet piquancy of the nacho cheese sauce, went really well with the large and crispy nachos. Be sure, however, to work through this with haste so as to avoid the inevitable soaky mess courtesy of the vicissitudes of time.
This Cajun Popcorn Shrimp Bucket wasn’t so much a bucket as it was a pot full of small nuggets of battered shrimp, which had more of a breaded texture than a crispy one, and which, while having a hint of herb to them, came with a cajun sauce that was far too mild for its own good.
Similar to the above, these crab fries were encased in that unappealing bread-like batter. And though a quick squeeze of the lime helped to cut through the gentle spiciness of the sriracha, we weren’t entirely bowled over by these so-called fries.
Yes the cooking of the crustacean was spot on, but that distinct aroma of the crab was barely discernible, and the accompanying sauce all quite meek. We wouldn’t recommend parting with £8.50 for these, that’s for sure.
These Corn Tacos are gluten-free and come as a set of three with the options of either flat or puffy taco breads.
We really enjoyed these attractively presented tacos, particularly the BBQ Jackfruit, which didn’t pale at all in comparison to its seafood cousin, the Soft Shell Crab.
Hence, with the former having that soft and tender pulled texture, with the sweet-cum-smoky barbecue strongly apparent, the taste of the sea certainly came through for the latter, with the lime providing a sour kick towards the end.RECOMMENDED
We’d definitely recommend the ‘Puffy’ option for this deeply rich and beautifully glazed Chipotile BBQ Braised Shortrib taco.
It was a pleasure munching into this softly chewy mouthful whose sweet and sticky marination, with just that touch of heat and tanginess, was offset by the familiar earthiness of the crispy slices of radish.
Yup; we’d definitely recommend trying all four of the tacos.
FRIES & CHIPSRECOMMENDED
Jackpot baby! This has to be one of the better messy fries we’ve had in quite a while, made special by the generous topping of soft and stringy chunks of tender pulled BBQ shortrib.
With an equally generous serving of cheese sauce, all drizzled in a sweet and smoky BBQ sauce for good measure and tangy comeback sauce, the skinny fries were rendered partly crispy and partly soft, and were delightfully good. Loaded to the brim!
We’re assuming this dish makes sense in Nashville, Tennessee; but as Limeys, we were desperately struggling to make sense of oily and bland, crispy chicken wings, topped with thin slices of pickle, and paired with a bread roll!
No, don’t even try explaining the rationale behind this, coz you’ll never succeed!
The ultra-sticky glaze on these crispy-crunchy Korean Hot Wings was tremendous.
With a sweet and spicy marination, these were the best of the lot, and were presented on a bed of salad leaves.
Not quite with these Classic Buffalo Wings, which came with an extremely good and wonderfully balanced bowl of blue cheese sauce.
As such, while the marination sauce on these oily wings wasn’t as potent as it could have been, these were somewhat rescued by said cheese sauce.
Lastly, we felt as though the smokiness of these BBQ Wings wasn’t quite as intense as it could have been.
What’s more, the marinade was more spicy, with barely any sweet helping to balance things out. Thankfully its exterior was crispy making this a decent eat.
VEGAN, VEGETARIAN & SALADS
This vegan-replication at a Chicken and Waffles was quite an impressive one given the attempt. What we had here was a waffle which, while managing to achieve a crispy exterior, had a peculiarly red-brown tinge to it with an even more peculiar texture on the inside that was a cross between a sausage and West Indian sweet bread.
In terms of taste it wasn’t that bad, except that its lack of sweetness meant that you’ll probably require the entire contents of the small bowl of maple syrup, and probably some more (available on request).
As for the ‘chicken’, then the two fried pieces of sietan were also crispy on the outside, with a herb-infused batter that had a touch of heat.
Although it did have a weirdly soft, almost semi-sponge texture on the inside, it did, nevertheless, taste pretty good considering, especially when had with its two accompanying elements.RECOMMENDED
This colourfully crafted Chipotle BBQ Jackfruit Burger had us applauding even before diving in.
The sheer variety of ingredients, that generated the cacophony of flavours and textures, was enough to mask the fact that this was served at room temperature, with a number of elements bordering on the cold.
And yet, we enjoyed how the bun, with its cake-like firmness, helped to bring everything togther, particularly given the generous portion of the sweet and sour vegan coleslaw, whose pickled elements married so cleverly against the sweet-smokiness of the pulled jackfruit, which itself was relatively tender and thoroughly mixed in with plenty of BBQ sauce.
All in all, a large and attractive sandwich, and one which would be in our all time top-5 vegan burgers.
Of course it helps when you have a thick, juicy and textured patty whose quality is undeniable. In this case, the 28-day dry aged Sussex pedigree beef was seasoned so well that there was no denying the richness of its delicious meaty-umami taste.
Add to that the American cheese, which came through nicely, and the tanginess courtesy of the tomato, all encompassed by an equally good toasted brioche bun, and this was dangerously good.
So good in fact, that in the words of one Lion, this was “almost a perfect cheeseburger with classical smells and flavours”.
This dessert didn’t quite manage to deliver the rich chocolatiness of a well made cookie dough that’s baked in a skillet.
Although the dough was more soft than anything else, which was a pity, it was topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream that was quite smooth. Not bad, if you’re looking for a chocolate ending.RECOMMENDED
Another tick against another vegan dish by Boondocks! This Brownie Sundae didn’t quite have the texture down of a classic brownie, being very tough on the outside; however, once you get through that, the inside had a bizarre gummy-like feel and chewiness to it, which may sound unappealing, but really wasn’t.
Flavour-wise, it’s bitter chocolate taste was nicely tempered by the velvety soft ice cream, which itself was topped in a caramelised strawberry, and smothered in a good amount of strawberry syrup, while being surrounded by more warm strawberries.
Given its uniqueness, this is certainly worth a punt.
A well executed Flat White to wash things down.
And a fairly good latte too, which was more milky than anything else, and topped with plenty of frothy cream.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
We're happy to say that almost all of their vegan options impressed us, especially that jackfruit burger. The others had were a mixed batch, with the wings, mocktails and shakes prompting one Lion to suggest "serious improvement" required.
Otherwise, there's enough on the menu at Boondocks to keep things interesting, particularly for the vegan lot.
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