Qbic positions itself as something of a revolutionary concept, grazing gently at the border where boutique hotel meets upmarket youth hostel, with a Dutch signature ethos centred around environmental awareness and community engagement. I had encountered their launch literature whilst searching for new and interesting places to stay, and thought it would be a nice idea to show my guest another part of town, as Whitechapel in the East End is somewhat more “real” than the City or Selsdon Park. In a bid to show London in it’s true colours yet without too much grit and grime, Qbic hit the mark. Our arrival happily coincided with one of various launch events which was attended by a stellar smattering of foodie press journos and bloggers, as well as entrepreneurs and luminaries from the food community including bagel and cake bakers and the gent responsible for launching Street Feast, East London’s pop-up answer to our equivalent of what the rest of the world calls street food. The event was branded “Future of Food” and as well as showcasing the venue, it also hosted food and drink from a range of producers and suppliers all within a fairly narrow radius of the hotel. I was particularly impressed by Pip & Nut’s warming honey cinnamon cashew nut butter and Sacred’s London gin with notes of cardamom: an excellent tipple.
To the right as you enter is a spacious lounge area with a quirky-cool retro-meets-modern feel to it: 50’s and 60’s Dutch furniture spread about to evoke a homely feel, an open fireplace, a vending machine that dispenses booze right around the clock (yes I did predictably get excited about this) and an open-plan kitchen and breakfast bar space, faced by a wall of windows onto Altab Ali park square opposite.
The panel discussion obviously focused on the future of food in London and at one point they were asked to consider which trends might surface in 2014. Further variations on the doughnut such as the cronut (hybrid of croissant and donut) and the dosant (a doughnut spliced with a croissant) were discussed. Blending foods seems a pretty hilarious method of evolving a culinary craft, but it made for playful chatter, adding a touch of jollity to the serious matter of launching a hotel. Why only yesterday, in this same spirit of blending two dishes to create one, I made a prawn and mushroom biryani omelette, which bizarrely, tasted great. What next? Caviar and chip surprise perhaps? Maybe a fruit salad kebab? Actually in Sweden of all places, I did have a meat pizza with curry sauce and banana on it, so perhaps we should all just hang up our fusion aprons and call it a day.
It was a fun event to attend, and the accommodation whilst relatively basic was perfectly acceptable, even including a wide screen tv at the foot of the bed, and a walk in shower, although, the floor leaked. The overall feel is that of modular, functional playfulness.
I would certainly recommend Qbic to anybody wishing to stay somewhere that is both trendy and economical, and only a short hop to some of the best attractions London has to offer, including hipsterville itself, Shoreditch and of course Brick Lane where you will find a plethora of Indian restaurants. The following morning, a breakfast bag containing a smoothie, cereal bar and an apple was hung on the button on the dado rail outside the room, giving us some sustenance for the day ahead, and we left feeling rested and rejuvenated. I am of the opinion that Qbic deserves the various high scores it has obtained on travel review sites since the launch.
Rooms at Qbic start at £59 per night; book here.