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4 September 2012

A Cock and Bull Story: Tramshed Review

For most people, restaurants whose menus only offer one or two choice dishes must be a bit of a novelty--although growing less novel by the day. As a recovered vegetarian and mostly recovered picky eater, I used to find that it was rare enough that I found one thing I liked on a menu, let alone two. I definitely don't have that problem at Tramshed, the latest restaurant in Mark Hix's London empire, where the menu is: chicken, steak, er...that's it.

Just another Tuesday at Tramshed

BB and I went for dinner this evening and we were both impressed. It was a little quiet when we arrived at 7 pm, but by the time we left, the place was bustling with a combination of city types and Shoreditch hipsters. Oh, and us. As for the food, there are a few starters on the menu each day (we decided to hold out for a pudding), and then you can either pick your size of 'mighty-marbled' sirloin steak or roast chicken; both options come with fries. As BB ordered the steak, I went for the baby spring chicken. The meat was really juicy and flavoursome but former vegeterians don't make the most skilled chicken-carvers and as most of the other diners seemed to be keeping their poussin on the dish on which it was served, I felt I had to keep reaching into the middle of the table to try to get the meat off the bones. I suspect the sharing chicken for two to three people would be better value in terms of accessible meat.

Chicken 'n' chips, Hix style

With the chips and some of BB's side order of purple sprouting broccoli, I was still too full for a pudding. None of the puddings were that enticing anyway--they were mostly too fruit-based for my taste, apart from an expensive chocolate fondue to share for £12.50. It was a Mark Hix restaurant so the bill wasn't especially cheap but for a hair under £50 for our food, a couple of soft drinks (we went for a pre-dinner cocktail at Callooh Callay, further down Rivington Street) and service, it wasn't too bad, especially given the excellent quality of the meat.

It's art. Innit.

But what about the elephant in the room? Or rather, in this case, the Hereford cow and cockerel lovingly preserved in formaldehyde by Damien Hirst and displayed in a tank in the high vaulted ceiling of the restaurant, which did really used to be a tram shed. Art is important at most of Hix's restaurants, and 'Cock and Bull' certainly does get everyone talking about it, and photographing it. For a good-quality, meaty meal in a restaurant that mixes casual chic and tongue-in-cheek, I would definitely recommend a trip to Tramshed. They even do take-out, which is enough to make you wish you worked somewhere as hip and NYC-esque as Shoreditch.

Tramshed. 32 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3LX (Tube: Old Street). Website. Twitter.

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