Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A Very, Very Long Dinner: The Chop Shop, Haymarket

A very good friend of mine has recently returned to London and so we set a date for a long dinner and a much needed catch up.

The Chop Shop opened last month and is a meaty heaven for carnivorous people. It sounded right up my street so I booked us in.

Haymarket is just off Piccadilly Circus and we got caught in the hell hole that it is on a Friday night. After eventually finding the right road, almost getting hit by a bike, and going round in circles we burst in the door 20 mins late. I was worried, as it was a friday night and the restaurant had only been open a month that they would have given away our table, but they hadn't. Huzzah.

The entrance was cool, judging by the name Chop Shop, thats the theme they were going with. I liked it.

We were shown downstairs to the main restaurant that was fairly empty, which was a bit of a worry, but it was unfounded as it filled up around 45 mins later. We were just the early birds! The tables were rustic wooden ones of various sizes, there was a big party of boys behind us and napkins were a bit like butchers aprons, a lot of thought had clearly gone in all of the decor.

Tilly (a human one, I didn't go for supper with my dog, I'm not that sad quite yet) and I perused the menu and got a little confused over the the starters. There were bites, and jars and platters. We asked the waitress and she threw us some suggestions. In the end we opted to share a jar and a bowl to start off with. A jar of duck liver pate and a bowl of meatballs.

The pate was divine. So rich and buttery and it came with a little apple something something on the side which was just beaut. The bread had been chargrilled instead of toasted which is not something I'm usually a fan of but Tilly and I decided the smokiness was a good accompaniment. 

I think the meatballs were actually made of pancetta and they didn't have a huge amount of taste against the tomato sauce which was a shame. It was pleasant but I'd recommend you give something else a go on the menu, like the wings. 

For mains we opted for the hanger steak. Although it was the cheapest option its actually a really tasty cut of meat, so it was almost a double bonus. A hanger steak, otherwise known as an onglet steak is a french cut of beef from below the rib. Due to the way it's cut (along the grain as opposed to with it or something like that), its best cooked rare and certainly no more than medium rare as it becomes tough as boots. Most chefs wont cook this above medium rare due to how tough it can become. 

The steaks come with a choice of sauces but nothing else, so you need to order a side. A tad cheeky perhaps? 

Hanger steaks, cooked rare with a red wine bone marrow sauce and a creamed horseradish sauce. 

Really well cooked, tasty bit of steak. However, we both said as it was put down in front of us, why was it sliced? Are we children? No, we are capable of slicing our own steak. LEAVE. IT. ALONE. 
I feel strongly on this, also you begin to doubt how much steak you are receiving out of the whole steak... if you know what I mean. 

That aside, it was really good. The sauce was divine. 

For sides we ordered mash and chips. 

The mash was awesome. I love mash, and this was good mash. Creamy whilst still having lumps of potatoes and skin in it with a big dollop of sour cream on top. I wonder if they mashed the potatoes then stirred extra skin and lumps into it. Either way, it was bloody awesome. 

The service wasn't particularly speedy but that was ok as we had plenty to catch up on and were not in a hurry but it might be a little more annoying if you wanted a quick bite to eat though. We had to ask for water at least 3 times before it arrived but they were prompt on the wine which was much more important. 

They do do a range of house cocktails but none of them particularly tickled our fancy so we skipped them out. If they had a bar menu with other options I may have been tempted but I find it can be a risky and expensive business just ordering cocktails. At £19 for a house bottle of wine and £9 for a cocktail a bottle of wine was defs a better bet. 

All in all. I would go back. Despite my niggles, and its just me being really picky, we had a great meal and they allowed us to sit there until 11.15 which is far longer than the usual 2 hrs they allow you for a table anywhere. Big thumbs up for that. Plus I'd like to eat more of what they have to offer. 

Well done Chop Shop. Ill be seeing you again. 

Square Meal

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