There’s no shortage of great bbq joints around East London but I think I’ve now found a solid favourite, by way of Blacklock which has three locations in Soho, Monument and Shoreditch. Their restaurant in Shoreditch is their biggest site and it’s the one Conor and I visited for some late birthday celebrations.
You’ll find their Shoreditch chophouse based in one of those classic Shoreditch ex-warehouse spaces, complete with exposed brick walls, large industrial-style windows and polished concrete floors. They have completed the renovated the old furniture factory with dark leather banquette seats and mid-century furniture.
For those unfamiliar with Blacklock, they serve chops. You can opt for them ‘skinny’ at a mere £4 a pop, or ‘big’ served in increments of 100g. They come in various forms, think lamb cutlets, lamb t-bones, beef rump, beef rib, pork belly, porterhouse – I could go on, the list is endless.
All their meats are sourced from The Warren Family Farm in Cornwell whose animals are allowed to roam on the moors and live on a natural grass-fed diet. At Blacklock, they cook all their meats over charcoal and they sear them with an antique Blacklock Foundry clothes iron from the 1800s.
But first, let’s talk about their drinks. They have a decent selection of cocktails for a fiver, namely the Gimlet, Negroni and Beefy Mary, and then they have their more ‘expensive’ cocktails priced at £7.75 (although in London that’s an absolute bargain) with 25p from each cocktail being donated to End Youth Homelessness.
Anyone who knows me knows I can’t resist a Bloody Mary and for a woman who loves her meat, the added beef jus was a massive bonus and is the perfect accompaniment to the chops.
To start, we opted for the pig’s head on toast and burrata on toast. For me, the burrata wasn’t runny enough, when you cut into it, it should ooze all over your plate and bread should be used to soak it up. Mine was served already cut in half and solid, like standard mozzarella. Don’t get me wrong, it still tasted creamy and delicious and paired beautifully with asparagus ribbons, radishes, fresh peas, pea shoots and spring onions.
But the clear winner was the pig’s head. The fatty meat from the cut coated the charred slice of toast and topped with (a rather generous amount) of sliced red chillis, which cut through the oiliness of the meat perfectly. The best way to enjoy this dish is to pour liberal amounts of gravy all over it – I swear Conor and I would have drunk it straight from the jug if we were in the comfort of our own home.
After the starters, we decided to go ‘All In’, which is the best way to go at Blacklock at a steal for just £20 per person. First, you receive three varieties of pre-chop bites – they’re basically little canapes. We were served a mix of egg and anchovy, cheese and pickle, chicken and horseradish, atop of circular crispbreads. I wish egg one came with more scrambled egg because the anchovies sure packed a salty punch and drowned out the rest of the flavour from the small bite. The chicken was by far our favourite, the unconventional pairing of horseradish was surprisingly delicious.
Next up comes the pile of perfectly cooked beef, lamb and pork chops sat on top of two thick slices of flatbread, which help to soak up all those meaty juices. The meats are perfectly cooked, with the pork belly being the highlight from the platter. The fat was well rendered and starting to caramelise. Be prepared to use your hands here, otherwise you’ll miss out on all the scavenging possibilities.
With the deal, you also receive two sides. We opted for the beef dripping fries and charred broccoli, sugar snap peas and asparagus (this is probably you’re only opportunity to get some greens in). The chips were crisp on the outside but tasted like they had been reheated – dip them in béarnaise and you won’t notice.
Blacklock is a meat lovers paradise and makes a meat feast so much more affordable than your traditional steakhouses. Come from a plate of chops, it’s bound to put you in a food coma.
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Blacklock Shoreditch, 28-30 Rivington St, Hackney, London EC2A 3DZ