One Sixty

Smokehouses are the in thing at the moment. We aren’t quite at that burger phase yet, but Londoners are really hot on their smoked comfort food. With Big Easy Covent Garden and Smokehouse adding to my yearly summer gut in recent weeks, tonight it was the turn of One Sixty to add on the pounds. It was the first time I’ve been to West Hampstead, mainly because I didn’t expect anything to be cramped between Kilburn and Finchley Road, and so it was about the last place I expected to find a trendy high street lined with nice bars and restaurants.

IMG_2455

One Sixty fits the vibe with it’s scruffy-chic black walls and school furniture. This is the bed-hair of restaurant decor. By that I mean it looks like it has just been thrown together with no effort, but really, as with all those Southern tosser students who plagued Newcastle and sent me south, it is all very deliberate. A lot of time goes into making something look this way. Why? Well that’s another matter. This sort of style is the fucking toast of London at the minute. Some bastard must have seen it working in New York and brought it over to plague our shores. Please London hurry up and get it out of your system. There’s only so many splinters in my arse I can take during a meal.

IMG_2456

What makes up for the splinters is the beer list. This will please any craft beer fan. There’s plenty of local stuff, all the American heros, and some micro breweries I haven’t come across before. This all makes for a cracking tasting session as you work your way through dinner. It also fits with this whole hipster/Yuppie vibe, in other words for those pretentious bastards (me included) who pride themselves on knowing their IPA from their standard pale ale. From being able to comment on the level of hops. It sure as hell is an elite crowd to be part of.

IMG_2457

The menu keeps things simple with a few starters/side nibbles to go alongside belt-slackening classics. If you aren’t licking your chops at the prospect of 8 hour smoked ox cheek or pork ribs then you’re nobody I want to know. We settled for some cracking little hot wings (£6) that had enough heat and an addictive sour, salty and cheesy dipping sauce. A mac and cheese was good, but not sticky enough for me, and it could have done with some crumble on top to give extra bite.

IMG_2459

Then it was time for the Smoked pork ribs (£14) that really were smoky. They had a smokers-jacket taste to them, and I mean this in the best way possible. They were like having a cigarette at the end of a drinking session. Something you crave again and again no matter how bad it is for you. Plenty of salty goodness and enough pink meat to get stuck in all your teeth.

IMG_2460

The Smoked Lamb (£17.50) we liked less, but only because it was all a bit neat and tidy, and a little small when compared with the ribs. Thought had gone into the presentation, and even though the meat was delicious, it was just a bit precise for the type of food I was after. Stick to the ribs and you can’t go wrong. A side of mash and gravy and chips (£4 each) were spot on, and needed to fill you up.

IMG_2461

To finish we shared the drunken banoffee jar (£5) which was a bit of a lightweight on the booze but bloody tasty regardless. I’d have wolfed 3 of them no bother.

IMG_2462

The bill came to around £35 a head with a couple of great local beers and a solid smoky meal. If this is the new craze London is getting off on, then I’ll be one happy punter.

Food: 8/10

Service: 7.5/10

Atmosphere: 7.5/10

Value: 7.5/10

Overall: 6/10

291 West End Lane, NW6 1RD
One Sixty on Urbanspoon

Standard

The Lockhart

When I think of southern soul food, I imagine a greased-up, smoky shack serving huge sloppy portions. Something like Freddy’s from House of Cards. A guilty pleasure sort of place where you get your fingers dirty. The Lockhart couldn’t have been further away from this. Set just off Edgware Road on a trendy little side-street it is clean white walls and chic vintage furniture. It all verges on being a bit cold and boring. What doesn’t help its cause is that the whiskey bar is downstairs and the open kitchen is hidden in the back corner.

IMG_2419

Once seated I couldn’t resist a bottle of Lone Star (£5) after being hooked on True Detective. It’s the type of beer that deserves to wash down spicy finger food. The food here is too refined for that. To kick things off we were given a slice of decent bread and butter made from rendered pork fat or something like that (although it just tasted like normal unsalted butter to me) was good brioche-like stuff. Then came the starters. Literally within 30 seconds of ordering them they came. This really pisses me off, and is the third restaurant in London in the last few weeks that have fired out the food. The Wedge Salad (£8) was a big old thing with plenty of boiled eggs. It only got interesting when I got to the bottom though and got all the creamy dill sauce. The rest of it was basically just iceberg, eggs and crispy bacon bits.

IMG_2421

The catfish gumbo (£9) had plenty of going on with a good hit of heat. This was more like the food I’d been expecting. Just a shame it came so quickly.

IMG_2420

For main the pork belly was hardly the biggest cut and I would have preferred a bit of crispness on the skin. The sauce was too sweet for my liking, making the whole dish a bit maple-syrupy and just a bit sickly. IMG_2423

The fried chicken was 2 legs that had a great crispy coating and were succulent. But really only 2 legs? This was part of a set 3 course deal, but it was still around £17 for the main course. A side of coleslaw was decent and the collard greens were tasty but it didn’t blow me away.

IMG_2422

The cornbread (£6) is probably the most fattening and indulgent side order in London. It’s basically a Medeira cake with extra butter melted all over it. For a few bites this is a great thing, but it’s a bit too close to cardiac arrest territory for me. Still wolfed the lot though.

IMG_2425

I wasn’t given a dessert menu, instead my partner’s dessert (from the set menu) came straight away. It was a ‘deconstructed’ (how very modern of them) lemon merignue pie, and was top notch. The meringue was like the best marshmallows cooked over a fire and then that sharp tang of the lemon sitting beneath it.

IMG_2426

So the meal came to an end within an hour. This absoloutley ruined the meal. I’ll begrudgingly accept this whole 2 hours turnover time, but for £50 a head I want to be in there for longer than an hour. It was also overpriced. Some bottles of beer were around the £7 mark and wine soon shot above £40 a bottle. Even the food, which wasn’t exactly Southern sized portions, didn’t merit the price tag. I wanted to love this restaurant, but sadly it was all a bit forgettable.

Food: 6.5/10

Service: 3/10

Atmosphere: 6/10

Value: 6/10

Overall: 6/10

22-24 Seymour Pl, W1H 7NL
Square Meal

Lockhart on Urbanspoon

Standard

Big Easy, Covent Garden

Getting to the Big Easy on a Friday night reminded me why I always try to avoid eating in Covent Garden. It’s a certain type of tourist who crowds to this part of London. A bit like the ones who go to Camden. What exactly is it they are going to see? The central arcade is boring after 2 minutes, just like the trashy Camden market is. Instead they all just crowd around snapping photos of everything and getting in the way of the unfortunate Londoners who have somewhere to get to. Big Easy fits perfectly into the Covent Garden mould. It’s huge for one, and also the perfect mix of completely false with quite trendy. It’s very much like Balthazar in this respect, another restaurant in the area which is trying to be the authentic New York-French brasserie, and has spent millions trying to achieve this look, but in the end just falls short.

IMG_2346

We were given the worst table in the restaurant. It was essentially hidden from the eyes of any waiter. Well that’s the only reason I can think why they ignored us for the first 35 minutes. That’s right, 35 minutes before we got a drink. I had to ask 3 waiters for a drinks menu before one came, and 4 different waiters for water, which didn’t come until we had finished the meal. And of course they employ that 2 hour rule, which would be fairer if they didn’t take nearly an hour to take the order. To say the service was a disaster would be an understatement. This was comically bad.

IMG_2345

But in a group of 4- this place is made for groups, not a quiet date- once the beer was flowing we stopped caring about the useless staff, and enjoyed the brash vibe. A huge sharing plate (£19.50) kicked things off. How this could possibly be for 2 people as it recommends on the menu, I do not know. You’d have to be American to finish these portion on your own. It wasn’t anything special. I mean it was perfect, but only because everything deep-fat-fried is. Chicken wings, big battered shrimps, calamari,and Hush Puppies (deep-fried cornmeal batter and chilli jam). It tasted exactly like the sharing platter you’d get at somewhere like Sports Cafe in Leicester Square. Something that big kitchens churn out all day without thought or effort. But with plenty of beer (which hits you at £5.50 a bottle here) this is the exactly the type of food you want.

IMG_2341

Next up things got considerably better, and considerably bigger. The Bar.BQ Blow Out(£17.95 per person) was Flinstone size portions of meat. There was enough meat to see you through the week. The ribs were stunning. Big fat juicy things with plenty of flesh to dig into. Then there was 2 giant hunks of chicken with charred crispy skin and juicy flesh. As if there wasn’t already enough pork, there was a pot of pulled pork, that was a good attempt, but didn’t have enough smokiness for my liking. The cornbread was rich and fatty, and the side of coleslaw and pit-smoked beans did a job.

IMG_2342

The Lobster Fest (£20) is either a 1 lb lobster roll or a full lobster, with fries, salad and a pint of beer. Choosing the lobster roll this was one heavy thing, packed with juicy lobster flesh. It wasn’t as good as the Burger & Lobster version, but still no let down. It was just a bit heavy, as if they thought packing in more and more meat would make it better. Something like this needs a lighter touch. And 2 portions of chips? Who’s getting through all them.

IMG_2343

The Lobster Bake (£19.50) was another huge dish, this time packed with seafood- Half 11⁄2 lb Lobster, Peel ‘n’ Eat Jumbo Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws & New Potatoes, with Hot ‘n’ Spicy or Garlic White Wine Sauce. Just reading that tells you there’s a load of food. I’d hate to see how much food gets scraped in the bin here because nobody on any of the tables was finishing. Some people will love this, but I wish they’d just cut back a bit and spend more time making sure it all tasted great.

IMG_2344

It would have been impossible for us to try a dessert. We were so full that we had to cancel the night out we had planned. There’s no easy way to do Big Easy. No way to cut back here. It’s the most American sized portions I’ve seen outside of America.There’s a lot to love and hate about this restaurant. It’s obviously not for everyone, and isn’t somewhere you’d come often, mainly because you’d likely die if you did. It’s very in-your-face loud and brash. But at times I love this. The food was as good as it gets for this type of cooking. It was also great value given just how much you get- the bill came to £45 a head with 3 pints each. Given the rest of the restaurants in Covent Garden, you can do a lot worse than just accepting Big Easy for what is is, and coming here.

Food: 6.5/10

Service: 2/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Overall: 6.5/10

12 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NA

Big Easy on Urbanspoon

Similar: BodeansFlesh & BunsBurger & Lobster

Standard

Bodean’s

This has been my Soho saviour on many occasions. With so much to choose from in the area, sometimes all you need is the safe option of a pulled pork sandwich, a pint of Sam Adams and thirty minutes of watching some American sport you don’t understand but convince yourself that you really care about. Bodean’s gives you all of this. Today it was USA vs. Russia in the Winter Olympics ice hockey. There was whooping and hollering in true Yank style from plenty of the diners. It’s hard not to like the place, even if you do find these people bloody annoying.

IMG_1967

Bodean’s specialises in BBQ meat , especially pork, so don’t be tempted into going for anything else. If you come here and order the grilled veggie sandwich or Caesar salad, then you’re no person I ever want to meet and you should take a long hard look at yourself. You can come here for a more formal BBQ meal and sit downstairs, but for me it’s all about the wolfing a deli sandwich with a good cold beer. When you’re hungry and not in a mood to look over a menu of small plates with ingredients you haven’t heard of before, then what better than something that promises mounds and mounds of pulled pork stacked in a sandwich.  At £7.95 for the large version, they really aren’t lying either. This is a great value when you think that it comes with fires, a paprika or chipotle mayo, and a great choice of sauces to lube things up. A Subway sandwich wouldn’t set you back much less. The only complaint I have is the bun, which is a standard floured bun, the type you buy in a 4 pack from Warburton’s. It doesn’t ever hold and disintegrates in your hand, and it makes things a bit dry. A brioche bun here would be a real treat.

IMG_1986

I had the Boston Butt (£7.95 for 200g) which is pretty much the same as the Pulled Pork, except it has coleslaw in as well. Again you really get a lot for your money. The pork had a great smokiness to it, and was really juicy. A side of Nachos (£1.95) with Chilli con Queso (£1.75) was a little boring, but then again how can you make nachos interesting. These just felt a little too close to the kind you get at the cinema.

IMG_1988

IMG_1985

Today the sandwich once again did the job that was required of it. It might not be the best BBQ joint in the area, try Pitt Cue Co for that. But the atmosphere and the cheap price makes it stand out, and it’ll always be a spot I come to for a quick fix. It’s also a great place to come if you want to catch some American sports, and it beats all the themed sports bars that serve flat beer and are full of tourists.

Food: 6/10

Service: N/a (it’s basically self-service, but the staff on hand are always friendly)

Atmosphere: 8.5/10

Value: 8/10

Overall: 7/10

10 Poland St, London W1F 8PZ

Bodean's on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Standard

Goodman

Where better to take three women for dinner than a place that proudly serves pretty much nothing else but steak. This was my first experience of Goodman, having remained a loyal fan of Hawksmoor for the last few years. What tempted me to jump ship was Hawksmoor’s Air Street venture which felt too impersonal and big, almost like they’d buckled under the commercial pressure and finally taken that step from independent British steakhouse to a huge corporate beast. Given Goodman’s Mayfair location I was expecting it to be a real stuffy affair, but walking into the confidently masculine dining room, I was surprised by how laid back it felt. It was filled with post-work suits, but had anything but a corporate atmosphere, and even in the back private dining room where we were seated it had a constant warm buzz.

Things got off to a solid start with Beef Carpaccio (£8) which wasn’t doused in a dressing,  allowing the flavour of the beef to come through.

IMG_1913

The Tiger Prawn Tempura, with Avocado, Mango and Cajun Mayonaise (£12) was a solid starter, but a little on the safe side. The batter was light and crispy but they could have been braver with the cajun spice, as more of a hit of heat would have worked perfectly with the cool freshness of the mango and avocado.

IMG_1959

I had the Buratta with grilled sourdough and olives (£13), although I don’t remember the olives. This was the first time I’d the this soft Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream and I wasn’t expecting the flavour to be so subtle. The only complaint was that it was all a little too mushy, and would have benefited from the sourdough being crisp rather than soggy. It just needed some bite to compliment the smoothness of the cheese.

IMG_1912

The Pan Fried Foie Gras, Roasted Fig, Oyster Mushroom and Truffle Honey (£15) sounded incredibly indulgent, but sadly there just wasn’t much of it. There were a lot of figs which were delicious covered in the truffle honey, but only a tiny amount of the Foie Gras, and not enough to justify the price tag.

IMG_1911

The Goodman 400g Ribeye (£34) was a stunning caramel brown and had my meat juices flowing as soon as I saw it. It was as tender as they come and absolutely packed with flavour. Was it as good as the Hawksmoor ribeye? Not quite. There’s no way to explain this other than that the British beef at Hawksmoor just has a deeper flavour to it. The Béarnaise sauce was great, but the real star was the Stilton sauce. This had an incredible depth of flavour almost like a meaty stock that had been reduced down for hours.

IMG_1957

The 250g Fillet (£34) was slightly overdone in both cases. Fortunately this didn’t have any impact of the taste and it was still a juicy steak. As tends to be the case though, it was some way off the tastier ribeye cut. Also it seemed a little heavy on the price even for a fillet.

IMG_1917For sides the Truffle Chips (£5.50) and Beef Dripping Chips (£5.50) were perfectly crunchy. The Mac and Cheese, Truffle Sauce and Parmesan (£5) wasn’t sticky and cheesy enough for me. The Creamed Spinach with Gruyere Cheese (£4.50) was the pick of the bunch, basically because there really wasn’t any way you could kid yourself that you were having a healthy portion of spinach. The only disappointment was the Carrots with Honey and Ginger Glaze (£3.50) which were overcooked and too sweet.

IMG_1915

We shared the New York Cheese Cake and Berry Compote (£7) which was about as heavy as a cheesecake can get. This wouldn’t usually be a complaint, but after putting away two bottles of red and a 400g steak I’d have preferred something a little lighter. Of course I cleaned the plate though.

IMG_1921

Just as heavy was the Cookie Sundae (£7) which was easily enough for two. Plenty of cookies, caramel and cream. This was a real a belt loosener.

IMG_1920

Overall the food was solid, but didn’t quite live up to the £70 per head price tag. What made me forgive this though, was the service, which was flawless throughout. Our waitress really was as good as they get. I find Hawksmoor can be a little bit like a conveyor belt where the staff are all just part of that steak churning machine. Here the waitress was incredibly relaxed and gave us plenty of much-needed time to let the kilo of food settle. There’s a lot to love about Goodman and I’ll definitely come back, but if like me, you can only convince your partner to go to a steakhouse on a rare occasion, then I’d sooner return to Hawksmoor.

Food: 7/10

Service: 9.5/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Value: 6.5/10

Overall: 8/10

24-26 Maddox Street, Mayfair, W1S 1QH

Goodman on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Standard

The London Burger Scene

The London burger revolution started a couple of years ago during the recession when people just needed that cheap and fatty friend to help them through the day. Burger restaurants were popping up everywhere, making it suddenly trendy to be eating and talking about burgers. There were burger vans, pop up stalls, and even burger events. It started a new culture, where people suddenly had requirements over how a burger should be cooked and what the bun should be like, they even wanted to know how long the beef had been aged for. We’ve come a long way from the 99p McDonald’s stalwart.

My burger rules are simple: 1) The bun must hold its shape and it should be soft, preferably brioche, and never a crispy ciabatta bun.

2) The patty is the star of the show and the meat should always shine through.

3) It should always feel like a dirty and naughty treat, never a light bite.

Let’s start with the staple- the reliable Byron burger. This is the Volkswagen of burgers. Never let’s you down and is everywhere you look. They’ve basically become the new Starbucks with one on almost every street in Central London.

IMG_1891

Inside they are always trendy with good music and half-hipster staff. The Byron burger (£9.25) is consistently good but with a side of fries (2.95) is at the upper limit of how much a burger should cost. The Oreo milkshake here is unbelievably good, served up in the huge shaker, and easily enough to keep you from moving after the meal. Byron is the ideal place when you just need a quick fix without the queue.

7/10

Then there’s MEATliquor, MEATmission and MEATmarket. These are the one-night stands of the burger world. You love it while it’s happening but you have to promise yourself not to do it again for a while. MEATliquor is the flagship, and it’s a hell-hole of a burger joint. It’s how Satan would design a restaurant, and probably the last place my partner wanted to go after a nice shopping day in Selfridges. With graffiti all over the walls, blasting rock music and the stench of meat in the air, this is about as dark and meaty as the burger world gets. MEATmarket is my least favourite of the three, only because you can’t go there in winter because it gets so bloody cold and because it took me three attempts to find it.

IMG_1898

The Dead Hippie (£8.50) is as good as it gets. Two beef patties, minced onions and Dead Hippie sauce. This really gets the fingers and chops dirty. A side of cheese fries (£4) are absolutely covered in cheese and salt as well. This is what going to a burger joint should be like. Fuck all this California bunless crap they’ve introduced at B&L to appease the waist conscious yummy-mummies.

IMG_1899

9/10

Next up Burger & Lobster. I do love the concept, but the more I think about it, the less it merits that £20 price tag. Yes it’s top notch meat and it’s a big old burger that comes with killer fries and a good little side salad, but this is a hefty note to hand out for a burger. The bun always seems to disintegrate as well. I’d always stick with the lobster here.

IMG_1661

7/10

Honest Burger is my personal favourite. It’s definitely the most chilled of all the burger joints, and it keeps things simple with a few things to choose from that are all great. The Honest Burger (£9.50) is the pick of the bunch. Caramelised onions, a great brioche bun, bacon and a perfectly cooked patty. All of the burgers come with rosemary fries and this pushes it up to the next level.

IMG_1890

IMG_1889

Always go for a pot of the Chipotle mayonnaise (£1), as this stuff laughs in the face of the shite they serve at Grill Shack and Jackson + Rye. A bottle of the Hawaiian Big Wave beer (£4.75) is a great choice to wash things down. My favourite thing about Honest Burger is they let you go elsewhere for a drink and give you a call when the table is free. Something all no-reservations places should do.

9.5/10

Dirty Burger is probably the hottest burger joint in town, and thankfully they’ve opened up in Kentish Town, saving me the trek to the deep south of Vauxhall. The name says everything you need to know. If MEATliquor is the one-night stand then this is the brothel. You go there and get a simple choice, hand over your money and tuck in. The Cheese burger for £5.50 is exceptional value, and is the best of its kind. This is the real in-the-know burger lovers choice.

IMG_1895

IMG_1893

9/10

Five Guys isn’t for me. It just looks like an even shittier version of McDonald’s. It just feels too commercial and there’s not that passion put into it like the other places. Burgers here are churned out just like the constant queue of Covent Garden punters looking for a quick fix. Even the website pisses me off with it’s option to see the nutritional value in the burger. What’s the about? As far as I’m concerned a burger should be a heart stopper, not have anything to do with nutrition. The bun’s just not that good either.

5/10

Shake Shack is another US import and exists within the touristy central arcade in Covent Garden. Maybe it’s because of this that I don’t love the place. It just isn’t cool enough, and again lacks that passion. The burgers are decent value at under a fiver, although you do need to double up to get your fill. The Double SmokeShack (£9) is the pick of the bunch, but it came overdone and a little on the dry side last time I tried it. A cardinal sin in the burger world. But the crinkly fries are spot on.

IMG_1900

6.5/10

Haché. Well for a start it’s a crap name. I passed this place about fifty times before I realised it was a burger joint. Inside doesn’t pack too many punches either, it was all too nice and clean looking. There were  even fairy lights. This was a big No-No. I’m about to tuck into a meaty feast and the surroundings should reflect this. Also there’s just too many things to try on the menu. A burger joint should keep the menu paired back and only offer a few things. I don’t want to see a Steak Milano burger on there, whatever the hell that is. And the bun was crispy ciabatta; which is no friend of mine.

5.5/10

There are countless other great places in London, and still I haven’t tried Patty & Bun, which I’ve heard only good things about. But nothing is worth queuing over an hour for. As a burger lover I hope the revolution continues. It’s a good thing to have these places where you can get down and dirty and get your chops messy at any time of the day. Sometimes it is exactly what you need. The problem for me is I get this urger about four times a week. For more London Burger info check out two killer burger blogs- Burger Me! and The Burger Addict.

Standard

Jackson + Rye

As if Soho wasn’t already over-saturated with all-day American diners, now Jackson + Rye has come along; offering a real slice of New York. Whatever the hell that means. Just what slice of New York that is, I do not know. I can’t remember decor being this drab and food this bland last time I was in New York. It was nowhere near hip enough and the staff were just far too dull, somebody really should remind them that they can smile and chat to the customers.

IMG_1867

As soon as we were led downstairs to a wood-paneled, dimly lit basement, that already looked like it was in desperate need of a refurb, I knew I was in for a bad night. We were shown to a cramped corner seat, so that we  had to sit on top of our tank-topped neighbours and hear every word of their conversation. Why not put us on any of the other empty tables in there? The atmosphere was beyond flat, certainly one of the worst I’ve experienced in London. Not even the music that was trying to give it that trendy New York vibe could lift this graveyard.

I recently went to Grill Shack, which is the slightly more casual sister restaurant, and the food there was average at best. Here it is a similarly unimaginative menu and so it should be fairly simple for a chef to execute everything well. Sadly this wasn’t the case. Each dish was not only stingy with its ingredients and size, but was unbearably bland. The Reuben (£6.50) from the bar menu was a poor excuse for a sandwich. It should have been a thick, greasy, cheesy feast. This was all bread, and apart from some dry salt beef it was hard to tell if there was anything else in there.

IMG_1868

Just as disappointing was the Truffled Mac & Cheese with Rocket and Parmesan (£6.95). Christ this was bad. How can Mac & Cheese ever disappoint, especially with the added pleasure of truffle. There was basically no cheese here to stick it all together, and instead it had a thin, watery sauce. There also wasn’t any crunchy topping or any hit from the truffle. And why were three withered rocket leaves sprinkled on top? The chef needs to take a look at himself because university students make a more indulgent Mac & Cheese than this.

IMG_1869

Then there was the Squid and chipotle mayonnaise (£6.95); an overpriced starter for six deep fried tasteless rings of squid. Even the bland chipotle mayo didn’t take away the flavour of the deep fat fryer.

IMG_1870

There was nothing particularly appetising to choose for main, so I went for the Rosemary and Lemon Chicken (£12.95). The chipotle hollandaise it came with was undoubtedly the star of the show, with plenty of flavour that really helped the rest of the dish. But the chicken had no hint of rosemary or lemon. It made Nando’s look like a Michelin star. And to top it off the shoestring fries were soggy. I didn’t even know this was possible.

IMG_1871

The Steak & Eggs (£11.95) is the same that flat piece of meat that they serve in Grill Shack. It has literally had any life battered out of it, and the smoked butter needed much more smokiness. Again the shoestring fries were chewy and tasteless. At least they got the fried eggs right.

IMG_1873

My partner had the Buttermilk fried chicken with spicy coleslaw (£11.95), which was basically two chicken goujons in a flavourless, greasy batter, with a dollop of a spiceless coleslaw. Food this simple should never let you down. It’s comfort food, easy eating, something you don’t need to think about. At least be generous with the portions, maybe double up the size of the coleslaw, add a chicken leg in there, or even include some fries. Paying close to £15 for this dish with a side of fries is criminal.

IMG_1872

We passed on dessert and couldn’t wait to leave, which of course meant waiting another five minutes for the card machine. It really was a disappointing meal, and at £30 a head, sharing the house wine and passing on a dessert doesn’t make it good value. There are so many other restaurants in Soho that are much better than this in everything they do. Don’t even waste your time trying it for yourself. It is without a doubt the least enjoyable meal I’ve had in a long time. As my partner said, she would have enjoyed herself more at KFC.

Food: 3/10

Service: 5/10

Atmosphere: 3/10

Value: 5/10

Overall: 3.5/10

56 Wardour St, Soho, W1D 4JF

Jackson & Rye on Urbanspoon

Standard