Blacklock City – This one isn’t an ex-brothel

Blacklock Soho has a broad-shouldered reputation for serving-up blisteringly delicious plates of chops and steaks that once moo’d, baa’d or indeed oinked. On Sunday’s they do a an “all-in” roast platter where hunks of wood grilled animal make friends with a plate sized Yorkshire pudding and a variety of condiments including a gravy that shouts reduction and encouraging lubrication. All this in a basement where lady’s of the night once served-up their own chops to make ends meet. Blacklock City (est Match 2017) has a lot to live up to. It might be based in the City but the inside is very “now”. You get duck egg coloured walls, distressed bricks and a customary pillar with “be nice & get trolleyed” written on it, an arrow beneath that points to the booze trolley. As if we need instructions to get “trolleyed”. It’s blueprint of the Soho stalwart, but that’s not a bad thing.

Pre chop bites include pleasing cheese and pickle, chicken & horseradish and my favourite are egg and anchovy. They come in at £3 for three. Avoid the cheese and pickle one if strong cheese makes your skin crawl like mine.

Pig’s head on sour-dough toast £5 was a slow-braised savoury stew of all the hard working muscles in the animal’s jaw. The hardest working cuts have the most flavour – fact. It was a beautiful thing. A side of sweetly pickled cucumber and a topping of chilli slithers treated to the same acidity balanced out the richness.

Then came the “all in”. It was a mix of burnt wood imbued lamb and pork chops for 4 (£20 per head) as our waiter advised it this was all we needed. It was good advice. More on that in a sec. It was a meat mountain that our keenest of will and cast iron internal mettles were keen to conquer – even the chargrilled flat bread that got a good soaking with all of the caramelised meat liquid was descended upon. The salinity levels was what made this plate of protein off-putting, as if someone unscrewed the salt grinder and emptied it onto our tonsils. Good quality meat doesn’t need industrial amounts of seasoning in my humblest.

So our plucky waiter who encouraged us to order less “all in” earlier was for the very reason that we could fit more of everything else in, he deserved our props as the quantity on our table could easily feed a hungry family of ten. There were five of us. What followed from the chops was the 750 gram prime rib £60 cooked to a gratifying mid-rare. But again it didn’t stand a chance, nor did our tonsils from the salinity.

What came next was from what I could remember so vividly at the Soho branch as one of the sweetest cuts of beef I’ve ever had. The “sixth rib” or the cut of steak sectioned from number 6 of the animal’s 12th rib is deeply tender, has a good hit of minerality which adds to the glory. But somehow it didn’t hit a swoon-worthy moment like how a remember. The salt was heavily over prescribed and turned the charred cow really bitter.

A side of chips that came with the “all in” had a nice rustle and more salt for good measure to punish out palate even more.

Roasted sweet potato was part of the “all in” deal too and was all about smoky sweet flavours with a hefty pelting of dried savoury herbs.

Kale with parmesan £4, if in doubt add parmesan.

BBQ baby gems £4 were a nice rest for the palate.

For desert we went for the soul soothing white chocolate cheesecake with summer berries £5. It was the kitchen’s nostalgic interpretation of how Granny used to do it, served table side. That night we were gluttons for punishment and this was the final nail in the coffin before we surrendered.

Somehow we forced another portion down, they felt sorry for us as if we had enough self-inflicted force-feeding and scooped this one off the bill.

Verdict

When did I go? Jun 2017
The damage: Expect to pay £50/70 per head with drinks
The good: Well butchered animal which the farmer was on first name terms with is what Blacklock is great for. The simple formula of protein, burning wood and sides done right is a winning one.
The bad: What was an obvious problem was the chef giving it several renditions of Salt Bae on every piece of meat we got served. The cardiologist in London would have a field day here. We look back and laugh now, but at the time, the sleepless night that we all endured involved chugging back countless pints of water with weird dreams every hour to boot. It rendered us useless the next day, that wasn’t funny at all.
Rating: 2/5
Would I go again? Still hasn’t happened
Address: 13 Philpot Ln, London EC3M 8AA
Web: https://theblacklock.com/city/

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