Knife to meat you… | Chop Shop, 66 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4RF
Sometimes you look at a menu and it stirs such excitement, only for the food itself to be a let down. The menu for the Chop Shop bought joy on all levels. Thankfully the food delivered on all levels too.
The former director of Rowley’s, a young and fresh-faced Will Guess, has collaborated with the acclaimed New York based restaurateurs the Altamarea Group, alongside Michael White bringing a much needed quality restaurant to Haymarket. A road we often walk down with feelings of sadness, mostly mediocre chains line this central London street. From what we spotted during our visit, Chop Shop is not just luring in Londoners but tourists too. Finally!
Not just another steakhouse, the Chop Shop specialises in meat on the bone (the name’s a bit of a giveaway). The menu offers ‘jars’ of meat and fish pâtés, ‘planks’ of cheese and charcuterie, and ‘crocks’ of baked meatballs and gratins. Of course the decor is industrial, but with unique touches too. Looming studio film lights hang above, a butcher shop inspired ‘climbing wall’ of meat cleavers and knives is a pretty cool, yet slightly frightening focal point. But the atmosphere couldn’t be more relaxed. This is the first time I can remember feeling overdressed in a steak restaurant, I almost slipped out of my heels back into my sandals.
Choosing from the menu was a serious matter, there was so much we wanted to try. Deano – one of the most wonderful and friendliest waiters we’ve ever come across, offered help and guidance on portion sizes. You’ll know him if you see him, he’s an untainted, better looking version of Rylan from the X Factor. Cocktails are all £9, the Celery Gimlet made a great change and turned out to be a good palate cleanser. The Masala Mai Tai delivered just the right amount of kick, whilst the bourbon laced Haymarket was a fine gentleman’s drink.
Cotechino scotch egg with salsa verde £4 from the ‘snacks’ section put us on good stead – a faultless ball of heaven with a fresh almost floral salsa verde. The genius dish of Cottage pasta pie £9 (which we ordered without cheese) was pure comfort food. Baked gnocchi with braised oxtail and a sprinkling of crumb. Gorgeous.
A couple of perfect slabs of meat arrived next. Middle white porchetta, grilled peaches and crackling £14 was beautiful with the sharpness of the peaches. A generous amount of crackling cubes, clinging to the edges of the succulent meat. The Rosemary brushed beef rib chop £26 was one of the best steaks we’ve had for a long time. Seasoned and cooked to perfection. A sauce of vodka, bacon and peppercorn came at no extra cost – a heavenly combo. Sautéed spinach £4 and hot crunchy Chips with rosemary sea salt £3 completed the meal.
A breather was required before desserts, we had that ‘need-a-walk-around-the-block’ feeling, if only that was possible! My Butterscotch custard – salted caramel, crushed shortbread cookies with Chantilly cream £5 was a pimped-up angel delight, with a dusting of shortbread. I absolutely loved this, but couldn’t help feel it would have benefited from bigger chunks of biscuit. It didn’t stop me devouring the whole lot though. Ade’s Chop Shop brownie sundae - fudgy brownie, vanilla gelato, warm peanut butter sauce, salted peanuts £5 could have been made for him. It was a combo of all of his dessert favourites – big chunks of moist brownie, gooey choco-fudge sauce and thick seams of smooth peanut butter.
Coupled with the superb service this was without a doubt a stand out meal. One that we’ve thought about often since, even salivating over friend’s subsequent experiences there. Even though we left with swollen bellies and spinning heads, I still wanted to turn around and do it all over again.
London SW1Y 4RF
Telephone: 0207 8428501
Opening hours: Noon to midnight
Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus