Restaurant review: Tramshed, Shoreditch

15:11 30 October 2012

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst's Cock and Bull in the Tramshed restaurant in Shoreditch, photo credit Damien Hirst 2012

Archant

Wanting to see first-hand Damien Hirst’s pickled cock and bull was my primary motivation for visiting Tramshed – but it was a pleasant surprise to devour the best steak I’ve ever eaten once there.

The “sculpture” by Brit-artist Hirst, who is famous for preserving creatures in formaldehyde, has certainly given Mark Hix’s Shoreditch restaurant more than its fair share of publicity.

The large centrepiece tank dominates the cavernous and vibrant open plan former tramshed which dates back to 1905, and the two animals inside represent the only two main course choices on the menu – steak and chicken.

Even more of a novelty, there is no choice at all for starters.

Priced at £7.50 per person, a set selection of three included a crunchy and light celeriac remoulade as well as Fraserburgh smoked mackerel with a Cornish potato and green onion salad – both of which I would happily have eaten a whole plate of.

A massive Yorkshire pudding was also part and parcel of the selection, and was served with horseradish mayonnaise.

My dining companion and I were not so sure about the effectiveness of this adaptation of the roast dinner mainstay to cold starter, but it was certainly unusual.

For my main course I chose the 250g Mighty-marbled Glenarm sirloin steak and chips, priced at £20, which comes in further 250g increments, up to 1kg priced at £80.

Coming from a family of cattle farmers, I am no stranger to a very nice succulent steak, but the Tramshed offering is possibly the best to have ever passed my lips.

I can still fantasise about its fatty tastiness and melt in the mouth tenderness – this was not one of those beasts which left you endlessly chewing, never making it past the gristle.

My friend meanwhile took the other option, the roast Woolley Park free-range chicken, just so we could say we had tried it all.

It came on a spike with its legs and claws poking up in the air – according to the modernist way of cooking, the best way to keep the bird tender.

Spring chicken with chips for one costs £15.50, but if you want to share between two to three, a whole chicken with chips is served at a very reasonable £25.

Puddings meanwhile are priced at £5.75 and the Oakchurch Farm strawberries with Jersey cream were as good as strawberries get.

No tasteless supermarket monoculture here, but true British seasonal fare – simple but just what my instincts tell me is best.

The place was packed, and the bustling vibrant buzz in the open plan industrial building added to the evening’s enjoyment.

For more information see www.chickenandsteak.co.uk

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