The Sir Alfred Hitchcock Hotel, despite feeling like an ancient watering hole, only opened on Whipp’s Cross Road in 1981, a year after the director died. But, with its quirky movie memorabilia, cosily wood-panelled interior and Leyton Flats location near the famous Hollow Pond, it’s always seemed a venue that should be more destination than it is. On a personal note, it was also the first pub I ever visited in Leytonstone, back in 2004, on a date with the man who went on to become my husband. Awww, shucks.
Fast forward to 2021 and, with renovation work in full throttle, first impressions are strong. The terrace is now a huge reworked space with benches and tables, as well as a raised shaded section to escape the hot afternoon sun (remember that?). Manicured globe-shaped hedges line the perimeter, allowing a narrow entrance and inevitable queue as people filter in.
You can’t currently take a peep inside the actual pub, still under wraps, but when I spoke to Ruth and Will – the latter at the helm of the original Ivy in West Street until recently – they filled me in on some of their plans.
They’re excited about the launch of the new Rear Window Restaurant, named, of course, after the classic 1954 film starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. Its menu will be similar in feel to The Ivy’s roll call of British comfort food classics, while adjoining Alfred’s Bar, also unveiled on May 17th, will offer cocktails and other libations.
They also hope to throw be one-off events, parties – and even, fingers crossed – LGBTQ+ nights with East London acts like Sink The Pink sashaying in for the occasion.
Currently there’s a short menu for bar snacks and light lunches from their ex-Ivy head chef, including a cheeseboard, roasted peppers, BBQ chicken wings, red pepper hummus, foccacia with olive oil and a plate of proscuitto, salami and bresaola.
I devoured the best Scotch egg in recent memory (above), all creamy orange yolk and tender Cumberland sausage from the local butcher, with a pool of mustard mayo. A bowl of salt and pepper chips were crispy and skin-on, deep fried and served in a pepper and salt mix with spring onion and chilli. And, while I schlurped down a hangover-friendly lime and soda, there are typically on-trend cocktails, East London craft beers and more.
The duo are also considering a little coffee cart on the terrace, for morning walkers to grab a cup and hit the Flats: a long overdue idea, methinks. In all? Definitely a case of watch this space, with or without your Jimmy Stewart-style binoculars.
The Hitchcock Hotel, 147 Whipps Cross Road E11, follow @thehitchcockhotel and @therearwindowrestaurant