Still in London, there were more meals to be had while we did the responsible parent thing of helping the daughter settle into her new university life. Having done a quick scroll through the internet, I noticed that Blacklock constantly popped up in various restaurant listings, so we made a booking there for lunch on Saturday. They were known for their grills, but it was their £5 cocktails that was our siren song. It spoke to our parched souls and was too seductive to resist.
We made a 12.30 booking at its Shoreditch outlet. Here it is.
Its entrance lies halfway down a smallish back road, curving past newly refurbished Victorian houses and industrial-chic shop facades. Inside the restaurant was dark but suitably hip, blending edgy and old and irreverent in some ways. It was empty, but the weekend lunch crowd would come later, the manager, a friendly chap from Budapest, told us. We weren’t worried – that meant we had better service, more attention, and in this case, a free platter of nibbles which he took the liberty to treat us to.
It was little canapes topped with chicken and horseradish (not too bad), egg and anchovies (a nice, easy combination) and cheese and pickles (a bit too sour and clumsy to navigate). If not for the free treat—for which we were most grateful—we would have ordered the pig’s head on toast (£6), something brave and British. But we were saving our stomach space for their meats.
The All-In (£20 per person) was an excellent platter laden with a bit of everything, from lamb chops and pork chops to little steaks and ribs. The lamb was excellent, and all very flavourful and drippingly juicy. The beef dripping fries were delightfully more-ish — thick cut, crisp outside and fluffy inside. But the kale and parmesan, though enticingly pretty, was…well, imagine chewing on roughly shredded, slightly tenderised cardboard lifted with the umami of cheese. Note to self: don’t order the kale next time.
How about drinks? The English Riviera (£5) was a citrusy, refreshing gin-based concoction with a good dose of bubbly—not my usual profile, but since it was a sunny warm day, it seemed more suitable than a darker spirit which I generally prefer. I was told the negroni was potent and complex, and the daughter’s Floradora (£7.95) with gin and raspberry was suitably fruity and enjoyable. To make things even better, Blacklock has another list of cocktails which support a charity for homeless youth. Drinking for the greater good!
But what really took the cake for me was the Delaplane coffee (£7.75) which was recommended as an ending to “soften the walk home”. And indeed it did. It was wickedly potent, deceptively smooth and creamy, just nicely sweet and thinly disguised as a token coffee. It smoothened lots of other things beyond the walk home– the brain, better judgment, tolerance to sunlight, life’s challenges, hopes and dreams. It was divine. If you just broke up with someone, don’t worry – a glass of this elixir and all will be well with the world. We had it with a fabulously indulgent dessert of deconstructed white chocolate cheese cake. Joy of joys.
Well softened, we tottered off with the daughter who now had to lead the way back to the tube station. We were completely satisfied, and pleased as punch with the bill of £122 for the generous repast. So pleased that I tottered off a few days later to its sister outlet – once a brothel – near Piccadilly Circus for dinner.