Soho; a central hub for restaurants in London (that would be my definition anyway), is constantly changing with new eateries opening weekly. As a foodie, it’s almost impossible to keep up-to-date not only with new restaurants, but more importantly finding the time to visit them all.
Opened by ex-chef Gordon Ker from Covent Garden’s Hawksmoor Seven Dials, one of the newest ventures to the area is Blacklock which focuses entirely on chops; pork, beef and lamb if you want to be more specific.
Previously an illegal strip joint, Blacklock’s interior is far from what it used to be with it’s simple wooden furnishings and exposed ceilings and when entering at 6pm on a Wednesday evening did feel a little bare.
Regardless of it’s uninspiring decor, tables were fast becoming occupied filling the room with a casual, chatty atmosphere that felt much more cosy and warming than when we first entered.
On the evening of dining, we did experience confused service, with one of our servers having to confirm cocktail ingredients since he was new to the restaurant. With this minor hiccup aside, we settled on Nettle Gimlet (left) and Grandma’s Spiked Lemonade (right), reasonably priced at £5 each. If you’re a fan of sharp, strong alcohol you won’t leave disappointed.
The menu offers an ‘All In’ option at £20pp which includes pre-chop bites as a few nibbles to start, followed by all three chops served on top of flatbread with a side dish each. There is also the choice to order a particular meat chop either at £4 each or £15 for a stack, but the ‘all in’ option is by far the better deal which is what we settled for.
The pre-chop bites arrived swiftly with the first being filthy ham bites. A decent nibble with proscuitto rolled on to a cracker which didn’t seem very ‘filthy’.
Egg and anchovy were the better of the two nibbles with a more pungent flavour; salty, sweet yet creamy.
With 6 sides to choose from and unfortuntly only 2 of us dining, we were limited to picking only two and when all of them sound deliciously unusual, it was a hard task. Managing to narrow the options down, the first to arrive was the charred courgettes with chicory and stilton.
The stilton was generously scattered over the courgettes without overpowering the subtle sweetness and added a little greenery to the table.
The 10 hour roasted sweet potato was sensational and a great addition when paired with the chops. Beautifully smoked yet still sweet, the texture of the potato was a melt-in-the-mouth moment.
Arriving on a huge platter, the chops were piled on top of flatbread, soaking up all the juicy fat dripping from the meat. All were beautifully cooked with plenty of flavour and seasoning, although the lamb in partiular had a tad too much salt. The pork chop was my least favourite but then again I do find pork as a meat, can be a little boring but overall we were left feeling incredibly satisfied with our meat feast.
For £20 and with the standard of the food served, Blacklock is unsurprisingly brilliant. With an ex-Hawksmoor chef at the realm it has been marked as the ‘cheaper version’ of the popular restaurant, but there’s certainly no scrimping on flavour or technique. Although, this does mean you may have a fight on your hands when word of mouth gets out, so maybe Blacklock should be our little secret…
– Blacklock, Soho