Chops Away! | Blacklock, 24 Great Windmill Street, Soho, London W1D 7LG
I felt I’d given ourselves enough time to recover from the last no reservations restaurant we visited before heading to another* – Blacklock. Founded by a few ex-employees from one of our favourite places – Hawksmoor, it had been on our list for ages. I was sick of staring at other people’s pictures on Instagram, our FOMO was getting out of control.
I had a date night with a friend and was looking to try a cheap eats restaurant, one with a short menu so we could get on with catching up (AKA having a good old gossip). There’s nothing worse than struggling with a gigantic menu (in size and content) whilst attempting conversation and telling waiting staff that you’re still deciding and will be a few more minutes, three times. Blacklock was looking like a good contender.
I arrived at 6.30 just before my friend, anticipating a bit of an ordeal getting a table, especially as I spotted on Insta that Gordon Ramsay was there the night before. Instead, I walked in, got a table straight away with no bother whatsoever. Weird, a good weird though. I sat enjoying the 80’s soundtrack whilst waiting for my friend to arrive. She was about ten minutes late and I almost wished there was a long menu to read.
A Nettle gimlet (£5) kept me company for about five minutes. Their list of cocktails for a fiver was just daring me to try them all. I didn’t, but I could have. With my friend arrived, seated and settled with a glass of Black Sheep Sauvignon Blanc (£4.50), I convinced her that we should order the All in (£20pp).
It’s amazing, you get three Pre-chop bites – little Peter’s Yard crispbreads with toppings such as Duck rillete and apple kimchi (£3) and Dripping ham (£3). Then the best bit – all the skinny chops of the day, piled high on flatbread with two sides.
My friend is married to a vegetarian, so whenever we go out I make sure that she has enough meat to make up for all those days she goes without. Yeah, she has chicken at home but thanks to me, she had pork, lamb and beef all in one night. This was possibly a step too far though, the poor woman looked totally overwhelmed when our stack of meat arrived.
Our waitress pointed out which chop was which and advised us to eat from the bottom up to ensure tenderness of the meat. They were mostly tender, the odd chewy bit and some of the cuts didn’t provide enough meat, but they are skinny chops after all. I probably could have done a plate on my own. Probably.
We balanced out all the meat with some of the lighter sides – Barbecued baby gems (£3) and Coal roasted beets with horseradish (£4). Cooked lettuce was a revelation to my friend, I guess it does sound a bit random but it so works. Although what we ate was delicious, in hindsight, I wished we’d gone for the more gluttonous choices like Beef dripping chips or Ten hour oak roasted sweet potato (£3.50) because there was only one dessert option, it was of course a cheesecake, so I couldn’t have it. They do a roast on Sundays, looks epic, bet a dessert wouldn’t be needed after that.
As we watched a little drinks trolley being wheeled about and cocktails knocked up at tables (not ours, a great regret), my friend compared being at Blacklock to going round your granny’s house for dinner. My granny (God bless her soul), would have had cream soda and dandelion and burdock on her drinks trolley. She wouldn’t have blasted out 80’s hits, we had Nelly The Elephant on the record player.
She certainly wouldn’t have messed around with the toilet signage. Two stick figures on the wall signified which entrance to use, but not really, neither was male or female, how 2016. If you’re heading to Blacklock with someone on the dull side, ask for a seat facing the loos for endless cubicle confusion for entertainment.
The Basement, 24 Great Windmill St,
Soho, London W1D 7LG
Telephone: 0203 441 6996
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 12.00-15.00 / 17.00-23.30
Sunday: 12:00-17:00 (Sunday roast, no chops)
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (3 mins walk) Leicester Square (7 mins walk)