Sunday, 28 May 2017

Blacklock City, Foxlow Soho and Bellanger

Blacklock City pre-chop bites
I'm not deliberately moving the blog towards more reviews, it's just been working out that way. This past week I have eaten out an unprecedented three times. Well, it may not actually be unprecedented but I can't remember the last time I did (while not actually being away from home). And now I am coming to think about the three meals, I think they are quite representative of the way I prefer to eat out in London. Independents or small chains. Not stuffy or fussy, not enormously expensive but good ingredients and generous hospitality.
All in. Why not?
On Monday I had lunch with Mimi and her lovely baby son at Blacklock City. We originally planned to meet because Mimi was embroiled in an imbroglio, as Wodehouse would have it, over the appropriation of Burmese culture and I'd offered to be moral support in her meeting with the unrepentant appropriator. But then Mimi decided that he wasn't worth the time, so we just had lunch. I'd been to Blacklock Soho for their (exceptionally good) Sunday lunch, but this was the first time I'd been to the new City venue. While the Soho branch on a Sunday is pretty mixed, a chophouse in the City on a weekday might as well have "NO GIRLS" on the door: some of the suited and booted diners looked slightly horrified to see women with a pram.

We went "all in" - pre-chop bites, chops piled on grilled flatbread and a couple of sides, for a very reasonable £20 a head. The pre-chop bites, int the same vein as the anchovies I had at Foxlow recently, were Peter's Yard (probably) rye crispbreads topped with salty, delicious toppings. The nicest of the three was topped with egg and anchovy - so good we ordered another round of those in lieu of pudding. The chops (beef sirloin, pork belly and lamb t-bones) were delicious, the chips perfect and the salad just what was needed. A couple of £5 cocktails and extremely friendly staff going above and beyond to accommodate the baby made it just about perfect.  
Lenny Henry as a Depression-era gangster
On Wednesday I had a quick, early dinner back at Foxlow before seeing the excellent Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui at the Donmar. We had a table towards the front of the restaurant, which was a reasonable height so my feet were able to touch the floor comfortably.

I almost never order chicken burgers, because the chicken is so often woolly and bland, but with the memory of their delicious fried chicken fresh in my mind I felt confident to have the chicken burger, with an optional kimchi topping. Messy. Very messy. But absolutely delicious. The service was a bit scatty - my friend had specifically asked if there was mayonnaise on the Foxlow burger, had been told no, and then it arrived with a massive load of mayo on it. She complained, and the staff member complained to went to get the staff member who'd taken the original order, who said it wasn't mayonnaise it was KEWPIE MAYONNAISE. And it then took much longer than it should have to bring a replacement, mayo-less bun.
Chicken burger with kim chi, fries and cherry tarragon sorbet
I decided that I couldn't forego ice cream on a very hot day, so I ordered a scoop of salted caramel ripple and a scoop of cherry and tarragon sorbet, both of which were gorgeous. Then we strolled off to the theatre.
Rose weather at Bellanger
And finally on Friday I had dinner at Bellanger before a dance show. Turned out to be a slightly less good idea because the show wasn't at the venue we thought it was at, so we ended up having to hustle to get there in time. But Bellanger is a Corbin and King restaurant, and I love what they do so, so much, so it's never going to be a terrible idea, even if it results in a more expensive Uber. The Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel, Fischers - all good food, professional service, some of the nicest loos in London and reasonable prices. You know you are in safe hands.

It was a really hot day, and I couldn't quite bear the idea of choucroute garnie, or even one of their huge, delicious schnitzels. The salad section of the menu appealed but it was a bit tricky to fathom what size the salads were. The waitress advised us that the crab and smoked salmon salad, at £13.95 was a starter size, and the beef, endive and roquefort salad at £14.50 was a main course size. Which was slightly confusing. We took her advice and ordered the salads, with a tarte flambee to share. The portion size was perfectly judged to leave space for dessert. The last time I had a knickerbocker glory it was a tragically disappointing waste of calories. This one restored my faith in them, with strawberry and vanilla ice creams, not-too-jammy berries and whipped cream.
Crab salad, tarte flambee and knickerbocker glory


leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Chicken burger with kimchi sounds like a winning combo!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Oh leafy it was SO good! We put kimchi on regular burgers and hotdogs often, but it works ridiculously well with fried chicken.


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