Gordon Ker who previously worked at The Hawksmoor, opened his solo venture on the 16th of February 2015 on 24 Great Windmill Street. This former brothel thankfully only specialises in chargrilled chops now, be it beef, pork, lamb or veal cooked on a custom charcoal grill made from antique 18th century irons made by the Blacklock Foundry from America’s Deep South which are used to press the animal against the grills. (An obvious choice for the restaurant name I guess!). The result is a marvel – well seasoned chops, skinny or big with the most beautiful char and flavour with a juicy pink middle. Come to The Blacklock and be a ravaging professional carnivore, meat eaters WILL revel here, keep your vegetarian friends far, far away! (We did as party of 8 to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday).
There is no reason to complicate a menu with unnecessary items that serve no purpose – Blacklock keeps it straight forward and follows this ethos. Skinny chops or big chops with some sides. Take my advice on this and arrive armed with an empty stomach!
Cloudwater Eureka Lager (£5.5). Crisp and refreshing, quite possibly the perfect the accompaniment for the evening.
Here are the pre-chop bites: Cheese and pickle / Duck Rillette & Apple Kimchi / Egg & Anchovy 3/plate of 3. They took no time to arrive and each one came on a rye crisp bread. The egg one was akin to good egg mayo (in a good way) and reminded me of pintxhos in San Sebastian (more to come later this year on that trip) where I ate similar toppings on bread. The sweet shallot and salty anchovy worked well to lift this one. The duck rillette was a tasty little bite too, it reminded me of duck confit. Without apology, I struggled with the cheese one, the smell was enough to swerve me into the other direction. Strong cheese and I tend to clash.
This is referred to as the ‘All in’ on the menu – 3 pre chop bites (above), all of today’s chops piled high on chargrilled flatbread with a side each. All for £20 per head. Seasoned beautifully and caramelised on the iron charcoal grill, is a meat lovers heaven. Doesn’t meat on the bone always taste better too? All of the meat juices meaty seep into that smoky bread as well.
Blood orange and meat radish (£3.5). So called as the flesh of the radish looks like meat.. Don’t you agree?
10 hour ash roasted sweet potato (£3.5). The result is a smoky intense sweet potato. I loved it.
Kale and parmesan (£4). My first time trying this combination and why wouldn’t bitter and salty work together?
Beef dripping chips (£3.5). Golden and crisp exterior fluffy centre, enough said.
Coal roasted beets and horseradish (£4). Earthy sweetness accentuated by coal cooking, there is nothing not to like here.
Green sauce / Chilli hollandaise £1 a pop.
Prime rib (£88) 8/100g and Pork Tomahawk (£47) 5/100g. The beef’s sweet aged flavour was immediately apparent after the initial smoky char, lot’s of flavour going on here. The same could be said for the pork tomahawk, juicy, bouncy in texture and the qualify shone through.
No more prime rib
Sixth rib bone in sirloin 7/100g (£49). The highlight of the meal was this piece of meat, I can imagine it to be well marbled with rivulets of fat pre-grilled as it was mouth-wateringly juicy and packed the most flavour compared with the other cuts we had. I could shamelessly divulge in recreational eating with this sirloin. Blacklock are playing to their strengths here.
Vanilla cheesecake with rhubarb. Creamy & fluffy and generally rather good combined with that rhubarb compôte.
When did I go? April 2016
The damage: £40-£60 per head with drinks.
The good: Everything was consistent, when you find it hard to stop eating you know you’re in safe hands. My favourite was the 6th rib and the sides aren’t just hole fillers, they are genuinely sublime too.
The bad: You can only book from lunch till 6pm, aside from that you can only do so with 6+ people, so I would suggest getting a group together!
Address: The Basement, 24 Great Windmill St, Soho, London
Closest tube/train station: Piccadilly Circus