I shuddered slightly on my way into The Book Club in Shoreditch (just across the road from the Great Eastern Dining Room), because it used to be home to Home – one of the wankiest restaurants I’ve ever been to in London. I may have judged it a little harshly as it was my first meal in London after moving from Brussels where restos served great food on the cheap. I couldn’t believe how much we paid for crap service and mediocre food, but then again I was spoiled…
Anyway, its now The Book Club, run by the same guys who do the Queen of Hoxton, and with a much nicer, friendlier atmosphere and a lovely bright and airy venue. The kind of place you can order a bottle of wine and Monopoly and chill out.
The real gem of this place was the ping pong room. Yes, not just a table, a room. We went there on Tuesday night for Pippalippa’s birthday when they hold a ping pong league there. You can just rock up and play, but by the personalised bats and serious faces, the league isn’t really for tipsy amateurs like ourselves.
Once the league games were over (about 9pm ish), filled with wine and sharing plates of fajitas and nachos, we managed to get on the tables. Pipalippa and I have something else in common – a previous history of taking ping pong very seriously. Aged 10-ish, I was enrolled on a week-long ping pong course in the Summer holidays (I have to thank my mother for imaginative yet random school holiday ideas), which meant I’m actually pretty shit-hot at smashes, backhand lunges and similar. Although I now realise that my 10-year-old sober self can probably play a lot better than my 30-something self after a few glasses of vino, oops. The photo below is typical of our games – which were mostly spent rescuing the ball from the floor/roof/people’s pints etc. I had lots of fun and would certainly return for a few more games – and you can hire the ping pong table if you’re in a group.
Oh and btw while writing this post, I mixed up “book club” with “hat club” and landed at the website of the Old Hat Club supper club in Angel which looks fab and which I’m going to try to go to in October. And I also passed the Cineroleum petrol-station-come-cinema on my way through Clerkenwell to Shoreditch and it looks fantastic – hoping to see a random film there sometime in September.