The pure beauty of the chop should never be underestimated. Amongst all this (undeniably justified) chatter about steak, the majestic chop has passed by almost unnoticed. No longer! Thanks to Blacklock on Great Windmill St in Soho, chops are well and truly back in the game and crikey they are fabulous.
As per usual, I arrived with plenty of time to spare, given that the standard Soho no-reservations policy is being adhered to and queues will snake up the stairs. Don't fret, it's totally worth the wait to scoff your chops! (If you email email@example.com and get your charm on, you'll probably be able to wangle yourself a table at lunch time)!
Approached by Mr Charm Oozer, I was directed to the bar to await a table. Totally fine by me and I perched in front of the bartender who was mixing up £5 glasses of the expertly selected cocktails on offer, including a sherry laced Grandma's 'spiked' lemonade. Also available were bottles of Negroni and Old Fashioned for the whole table to share (£45) - adios 'just a glass of tap water please!'
Mr Schmoozington returned to lead us to our seats, it was time to get chopping! £20 all-in got us drooling at the thought of the approaching meat feast. To whet our appetite and to give us something to nibble on while was waited, a plate of the 'filthy ham' arrived. 3 Little curls atop a crispy flatbread later and we were ready for chops!
A plate laden high with a combination of lamb, beef and pork chops steamed over to the table. Sitting atop a salty, doughy flatbread that had absorbed some of the meaty juices, it took a surprising amount of self control to resist grabbing at the plate and turning full cannibal!
The sides were equally drool inspiring, with smoky, overnight grilled sweet potato and char-grilled kale sprinkled with parmesan. I'll be back for the charred courgettes, heritage carrots and barbecued baby gems in no time!
The meaty aromas wafted round the room from the open kitchen where the chefs were flattening the meat over a metal plate with steaming hot irons or ‘blacklocks’ (take a moment to mourn for the removal of the iron playing piece from modern day monopoly boards). The specials were scrawled on blackboard pillars around us and demand was high.
Next to us, a party of 9 were digging into a gigantic platter (note to self to return with EVERYBODY in order to be at the receiving end of a similar meaty monstrosity).
Blacklock has found a nifty little niche and it fits into Soho like a glove. With appropriately distressed walls and brickwork, exposed overhead piping and comfortably located in what used to be a basement brothel, the entire operation is a slick machine. This is unsurprising with Gordon Ker at the helm, (previously of Hawksmoor and the staff to match) who knows exactly how he wants the ship to be run.
There's a chance it also might help that the waiters are both devilishly attractive and delightfully attentive, both really useful qualities in distracting rumbling stomachs, although that might be Negroni talk.
Since it's all about the chop, this meat cavern is probably not appropriate for those of the vegetarian persuasion, but I'm sure Blacklock will get most of you licking your chops!