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Fugitive Motel, London

10/09/2019

Bethnal Green is not the most obvious place one would seek fugitive calm from busy London streets, but these are well known grounds for anyone who would gladly pause and settle into a festivity of craft beer or foodie delights.  

 The three main roads leading to and from Bethnal Green station lead to very different worlds; with the super trendy Nordic fashion ambassadors rushing towards Hackney, while pacing customers shuffle to the west Bethnal Greed Road to the fruit and vegetable market stools. In contrast, the southern Cambridge Heath Road, that we take to Fugitive Motel, is a community greenery and sports haven with Bethnal Green Garden.

Our first look on entering the Fugitive Motel takes in its impressive high ceiling space, that is airy and bright due to the almost full height windows that draw in both the greenery from the park and the graffitied brick walls as a background to the space. Fugitive Motel is an all-day open space where you can grab a coffee and breakfast, find a booth to tuck into your pile of emails over lunch or unwind after work through drinking one of their 14 draft beers.

The interior is inspired by 50’s American motorway motels with bright pop colours designed into the seating, Formica laminate tables and red cherry timber wall claddings. Long booths, seating 6, run at the front of house with the typical west coast USA vacancy sign hanging in front of the window. A white concrete block screen, usually seen around the swimming pools of roadside motels, serves as a partition for the open space, as well as running alongside the perimeter of the interior. The floor is cork and concert checker, which corresponds well with the retro objects displayed high on the walls. These features seductively complement the mint green counter at the bar that, when combined with the plywood storage units, create a fresh and hip look.

At the very back is a space to test the strength of your friendship, where you and your friends can get drawn into a game of Shuffle Board. This is a highly competitive -once you have your technique down- American table game, where two teams push weighted pucks across a table board in attempt to score points.

And now to the most delectable part of this blog, the food! We started with a sharing platter, which consisted of Parma ham, olives, sourdough bread, chargrilled vegetables, ricotta cheese with honey and rounded off with a selection of beers. The heavenly sweet drizzled cheese appears again on a white pizza, complemented with a mushroom tapenade, charred broccoli and truffle oil. Yes, you read it right, broccoli on a pizza, a highly unusual topping, and yet we were won over by the delicate sautéing of the broccoli that ensured its beautiful taste and texture. We also tried ‘The Smokey One’ with spicy sausage, chorizo and pesto, which was yet another interesting combination. All of the pizzas -made from scratch with a sourdough base- that were being carried from the kitchen looked and smelt incredible, and we will be back to sample them all!  

Although it does not actually offer any overnight shelter, Fugitive Motel is a laid-back space that is perfect for a long catch up with friends over a pizza, drinks and a good table game. The relaxed atmosphere is underpinned by a playlist of 50’s music, with occasional addition of Bombay Bicycle Club and others. The last and most important detail of this space is that it is dog friendly! No need to leave your best friend at home. This joint prioritisesfriendships, truly everyone is welcome at the Fugitive Motel!

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