Sunday, 20 January 2013


Went for dinner at Tramshed tonight. I nearly didn't make it as it's actually quite difficult to find with a street level sign on the wrong side of the road the only sign of its existence. I guess having to "hunt" for your dinner is all part of the experience in uber-trendy Shoreditch. It's the Mark Hix joint that only serves roast chicken or steak; so not for the non-meat eaters.

The dining room is impressive. A vast cavernous space with exposed metal and white walls filled with plenty of gun-metal and wooden furniture all presided over by Damien Hirst's "Cock and Bull" - a huge tank of formaldehyde preserving a cockerel piggy-backed on a bull. It's actually a welcoming space to eat in, once there are a few people to give a little background ambiance.

The sparse menu is easily accessible, but it does mean everything has to be spot-on. We had all three of the starters on offer. There has been some hubbub about the whipped livers served with Yorkshire pudding. The livers are lighter than a pate but not as substantial as a parfait more of a mousse. It's actually very tasty, definitely the pick of the bunch: the Yorkshire pudding, crisp exterior hiding a billowy inside, the perfect foil to the light livers.

There was a chorizo and butter bean dish which was good more due to the ingredients than a high level of creativity on the kitchen. Who doesn't like chorizo? The artichoke and Cox’s apple salad with celery and walnuts was nothing more than that: the ingredients simply assembled on the plate.

The choice for mains was pretty simple "Roast Swainson House Farm chicken and chips" or "Mighty Marbled sirloin steak and chips". We had both.

The chicken came whole up-ended in a pool of chips with its feet still on (I really don't understand the need for that although it did add some "theatre"). The best thing about it was the chips: thin, crispy and salty. The chicken was pale and nothing special. Far from the greatest chicken I've had. As for the steak, much is made of the dry-ageing in the only Himalayan Salt Chamber in Europe. But I'm not sure I could tell what a difference it made. Again, the steak was OK, not the best I've had. So benign were the mains that I really can't find anything more to say. My over-whelming reaction was "Meh".

My pudding of rhubarb and apple pie with custard ended the meal on a high. Delightful crispy pastry encasing a filling of sour fruit. Lovely.

This place was voted Best Meat Restaurant in the Time Out Eating and Drinking Awards 2012 and I have no idea why. Perhaps I haven't got the taste of other critics, but there's simply nothing special about it part from the imposing surroundings and the art (which do give it some appeal). However, as a gastronomic destination I simply don't get it.

Do yourself a favour book a table at Hawksmoor, dig into a porterhouse and then tell me that The Tram Shed is better. I dare you.

Tramshed on Urbanspoon

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