With London’s restaurant boom showing no signs of slowing down, it seems more and more eateries are streamlining their efforts by specialising in certain dishes. Newly opened Blacklock Shoreditch is no different, offering the ‘Best of British’ chops. Vegetarians look away now. We headed down over the weekend to see how their grill fared and to save anyone holding their breath, Blacklock lived up to expectations and then some. Simply put, it’s a complete knockout.
The third Blacklock to open after success in Soho and the City, Blacklock Shoreditch carries on the meat feast in one of London’s trendiest areas – just a few strides from Old Street Station. Given its location, it should come as no great shock that Blacklock’s latest act takes place in a grand old furniture factory stripped back to the original warehouse features. It’s actually the restaurant’s biggest venue and we’re comfortable stating it’s their most compelling with the character of exposed brick and timber frames meeting the opulence of black leather seating and fancy lighting.
For starters, our fantastic waiter Adrian kindly served up his picks from the menu – essentially everything. And who could blame him? The ‘Pre Chop Bites’ of Cheese & Pickle, Chicken & Horseradish and Egg & Anchovy (£3) get you in the mood, while the Welsh Rarebit Nuggets (£4) and Lamb Scratching (£3.50) from the ‘Bar Food’ menu were as indulgent as openers get. But it was the Pig’s Head on Toast (£5.50) served with Bone Marrow, Gravy and lashings of Fresh Chilli which really stole our heart. Tender and succulent with the perfect amount of kick – reason enough to head back to Blacklock for a quick lunch.
If you’re as indecisive as we are but know you want all the meat and nothing but the meat, Blacklock’s menu couldn’t be more suited. While you can opt for a large cut of pork, beef or lamb for Mains – a chalkboard in the middle of the dining room lists everything from Porterhouse to Lamb Rump in the available sizes – their ‘Skinny Chops’ menu is well worth a browse. Everything is £4 and more than enough to keep you satisfied with Beef Rump, Lamb Cutlet, Lamb T-Bone, Pork Loin, Pork Rib and Pork Belly on offer. But if you really can’t decide – as we couldn’t – do yourself a favour and get the lot with the ‘All In’, with each cut accompanied by Coal Flatbread and two Sides of your choosing. Speaking of sides, the 10 Hour Ash Roasted Sweet Potato was the most flavoursome sweet potato we’ve ever tasted. We’re not sure if a sweet potato can be sexy, but if it can…
All of the restaurants’ meat comes from Cornwall’s oldest third-generation farmers and butchers, who’ve been going since 1880. And while we won’t profess to know exactly what it takes to rear cattle, we do know a good steak when we taste one. And Blacklock’s Rump Cap (£15) will go straight into the Top 3 we’ve had in London. There’s also a selection of sauces to have with your meat and we’d recommend some refreshing Green Sauce/Salsa Verde (£1) and Chop Sauce (£3); the restaurant’s signature peppercorn gravy which was (again) the best we’ve ever had. Rich and deep, it’s perfect for Beef Dripping Chips-dipping (£4) and beef-mopping especially.
The ‘Pudding’ menu at Blacklock may look small but given most diners won’t make it that far thanks to the portion sizes and value of the Mains, that’s not a criticism. What is on the menu is delicious too. The White Chocolate Cheesecake (£6) was the lightest we’ve ever tasted (we promise we’re not going overboard here) and we also loved that it was served straight from the tray as if you were at your mate’s house for supper.
Which leads us on to maybe our favourite thing about Blacklock. Despite its obvious gastronomic quality, everything about its Shoreditch location is geared up to make you feel at ease. There’s an inner confidence. Every single waiter/barman/worker at the restaurant gave us a smile and welcomed us warmly without ever straying into fuss. Many restaurants try and fail to hit that sweet-spot between creating a genuine experience and making their customers feel completely at ease. Through service, setting and importantly pricing, Blacklock will have no trouble in attracting both those who want one of the best steaks in town and those who’ve just walked in off the street. There’s no pretence here – purely because there doesn’t need to be.
We should also give Blacklock’s booze line-up a shout out here too. While their very own Lager (£3.60) and Pale (£3.80) are well-worth a sample, the cocktails at Blacklock are to shout about. Having teamed up with famed New York cocktail gurus Slowly Shirley, the menu features some classics as well as some innovative concoctions which won’t break the bank. We’d recommend the English Riviera (£5) and the Telegraph (£8) but then we do like our gin…
Our experience at Blacklock was nothing short of exceptional. When you come away from a restaurant eulogising that multiple elements were “the best you’ve ever had”, you know they’re probably on to something special. Special food and exemplary service in a setting befitting of its quality. Regardless of its undoubted value, Blacklock is one of the best dining experiences we’ve had in the capital for some time.
Check out the full Blacklock Shoreditch menu over at the Blacklock Website.