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Blacklock City: Underground Meat

SEEN had the good fortune of dining at Blacklock City recently. Just off East Cheap in the heart of the city, it was packed with city workers enjoying the chop-based menu. Indeed there was so much meat that SEEN felt positively Falstaffian, half-expecting her meal to be borne to the table on a trencher.

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The menu features a selection of cuts sourced from Cornwallโ€™s award-winning farmer and butcher, Philip Warren, as well as starters, such as Pigs head on toast with gravy, Lamb ribs and Coal roasted scallops with black pudding and, much-loved classics including All in chops, Meaty bread, 6th rib eye, Aged rump cap and the incredible Maple bacon chop. There were lots of paltes for sharing.Blacklock

SEEN went straight for a main meal of three skinny lamb cutlets (80g each) with a garlic and marrow sauce and an ash-roasted beetroot side. I had a glass of Malbec and lots of water to accompany the food and got stuck in, only just resisting the urge to pick up the cutlets with my hands and gnaw at them. I was surprised at how nostalgic they made me feel. As a child of the sixties and seventies, I grew up on my mumโ€™s lamb chops. I mentioned this to the friendly waitress, who said that diners often said that to her.

The meat was tender and juicy, the garlic and marrow sauce delicious and the ash-roated beetroots were sweet. A very happy combination of flavours and textures. The Malbec was rich and sinuous cutting through the unctuous meat. The dessert, which pleasingly came to table in a vast baking dish, was cheesecake (made every two hours, such is its popularity). I asked for a small portion but what I got was as big as my head. I ate it all anyway, hating waste. The waitress talked me into an Irish Coffee with cherry liqueur, again a lovely combination of flavours, the cream complementing the bitterness of the coffee and the sweetness of the cherry liqueur.

I staggered out onto East Cheap feeling very well fed indeed. Blacklock City boasts a suitably historic pedigree, having been an electricity sub-station and a mediaeval meat market back in the day. The cheerful basement interior consisted of exposed brickwork decorated with antique mirrors, pale green walls and chalkboards with specials, dark blue leather-covered rosewood chairs, distressed concrete, parquet and an old mosaic tiled floor, granny chandeliers and Art Deco lamps, a bespoke brass-topped bar and above, the tallest ceilings ever for a basement.

Despite the talk about mergers from surrounding tables, it was all very relaxed. Blondie was on the sound system, but not intrusively so. SEEN worships Debbie Harry but you know what I mean. Over-loud music can be a curse in restaurants. I had the feeling that this was the sort of place where much business is discussed over the food. I found it splendidly British, bustling and friendly. The perfect place to take overseas guests exploring our cuisine. Recommended.

Blacklock City
13 Philpot Lane
City of London