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Now my previous review of Antidote decried the tyranny of hype, whereby the latest hot place to open gathers identically fulsome reviews through a judicious PR campaign and the occasional freebie for the right person. I generally like to visit new places once the bandwagon has moved on to see what a restaurant is really about. Having said that some places USP are too good to ignore and on a cold March night if somewhere is offering lots of good grilled meat you would be daft walking on past. I was up in town for a post work catch up with Big Matt who was up in town for meeting. We wandered into Soho with a vague plan of beers and food. As it happened we found ourselves in Great Windmill St spotted the circumspect doorway of Blacklock and headed down into the their atmospheric yet airy basement. Blacklock is one of the latest kids on the Soho block offering a stripped down menu based around grilled chops and other cuts. Everyone who is anyone has been raving about it so we tried for a table more in hope than expectation. With it being a Monday no queue and we were seated straight away in the already full dining room, good work as it was only 6:30! Big Matt joked that this was too easy and he wanted to wait outside in the cold for at least an hour. Though it is a basement the room benefits from a good high ceiling so it doesn't feel stuffy. There is a bar area to one side where you can grab a drink whilst waiting for a table. The kitchen is visible over the over side of the room where the chefs do their thing over the grills.
We ordered a couple of craft beers and perused the menu. It offered various permutation of chops (beef, lamb, pork) as well as some interesting sounding sides. However we decided to go for the All in which is £20 a punter for a bit of everything. Frist up is some crackers, mine topped with dirty ham, which was actually some very nice Bayonne like ham. Big Matt had the cheese and pickle which was pickled veg with some punchy cheese. It certainly woke our taste buds up. Next up the mixed grill, now back in the day this would have meant a big amount of dry, cheap cuts of meat, an ordeal to eat. Not here though out comes a pile of various chops, all beautifully cooked, moist and tasty. My favourite is the pork chop which is the best I have ever tasted. These are served on a bed of flatbread which soaks up the meat juices for a double meaty hit once the chops are disposed of. The sides are also good, particularly the roasted sweet potato which has a nice sweet smoky taste that goes well with the meat. I'm less sold on the braised little gem lettuce, not convinced we are at the point in human evolution where we should be cooking salad!
So we sit very contented, munching this very tasty meat washed down with craft beer and congratulate ourselves that we popped in here. It's a good dining concept and very well executed. There are a few teething issues during our visit, a leaky aircon duct and the draft wine dispenser is having an off day but most importantly the food and service are good. The staff are very friendly and eager perhaps a touch informal but there is a nice atmosphere in here where staff and punters all look happy. Our meal for 2 with 3 beers each comes to £75 which is good value for what we have had to eat and drink. For a new place this is pleasingly gimmick free, food served on plates, bowl for the bones, glasses for your beers and tap water bought to the table upon siting down. It shows that if you get the food and service right you don't need all that razzle dazzle. We ask the staff about how busy it gets and they say Monday is the best evening to get seated straight away but in the run up to the weekend queues can wind up the stairs as they don't do bookings. We leave extremely satisfied with our meal and dining experience, this is one place that more than deserves the buzz.
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Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9
Tuesday, March 17, 2015