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For US/Altamarea Group inquiries, contact Jonna Gerlich: jgerlich@altamareagroup.com

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    Dining out in London is expensive at the best of times, which means many of the best steakhouses are only suitable for a special-occasion splurge or expense-account meal. However, if you know where to go and what to order, it is still possible to chomp on a steak without breaking the bank. Check out these London meateries where you can find a quality steak for under £25.

     

    Chop Shop 
    The butcher-shop-inspired restaurant in Haymarket is moderately priced overall, but the beautifully textured Creekstone USDA hanger steak (pictured above) is especially good value at just £17. If the 180g steak seems a bit light for you, add a fried egg topper, chips, mash or vegetables for a little extra. 

     

    Read here for original article. 

  • 66 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 

     

     

    I had a weird compulsion to give up meat at the start of the year. Not for any predetermined period of time, just a strange urge not to consume meat. Well that’s gone. It’s over. I don’t miss meat, but I’m moving to Spain to start a new life and I will definitely have to sample produce, including meat, so, the hardcore carnivore buffest slayer is back.

     

    Being re-introduced to meat after several months is a sort of go-hard-or-go-home scenario. If I’m going to break my new regime then I’m going to do it right – and suddenly, as if by some Harry Potter, in comes an invitation to visit Chop Shop. Damn, universe, you crazy.

     

    Chop Shop – as you can imagine – is a meat head place. Serious meat. I got pretty bored of the same old servings if I’m honest. Leaving meat wasn’t hard because everywhere you go it’s pulled this and pulled that. I’ve got nothing against it, done right it can taste like heaven. But some people don’t put the passion in. It’s just a fad to them. Knock something up on the cheap and chuck it on everything.

     

    Quite clearly a different philosophy at Chop Shop. They’re going to do you good meat and they’re going to put their grapefruits on the line. Fair play, I’m game for a hardcore meat fest after three and a half months. I’ll have a bash at, oooh, everything you want to throw at me. Here goes.

     

     

    One thing I did miss was scratchings. I replaced them with nuts or crunchy corn, yada yada yada…it worked. A return to meat through pork scratchings is a good path to take. These are more crunch than scratchings, if you don’t mind me relaying my expert knowledge on the snack. These are puffier like a quaver, but typically you’d have a lot of popped air bubbles, which can irritate the mouth during chewing because they’re sharp, but these are smoooooooth. And warm. And the hot chilli dip is insane.

     

    Big Mig got lured in by the crab cocktail jar served with sourdough toast. It’s great, absolutely nothing wrong with it. But I went crispy hot wings. And pulled pork sausage roll. And more scratchings.

     

    The crispy hot wings are just how you want them, a crunch to the first bite but soft and succulent inside. We did half bbq and half chilli. I know I can take heat, but their chilli is a serious butt-kicker. Worth having, but you ought to know your limits or have more stodge. Outstanding though. Cracking wings.

     

     

    Outstanding can be used for the pulled pork sausage roll. Not because I’m being lazy and using words that the sort-of lifeless PR campaigns use…all those buzz words of excellence…but, quite frankly, if you’re served what looks like a few large slices of a sausage roll that turns out to suddenly transform into a huge gobful of pulled pork that’s moist yet the pastry is still light and flakey, then there’s not many words to go for. Try it. Try and convey finding something that’s pure genius and tastes great. Like the day a cream egg was invented.

     

    Outstanding can be used for the pulled pork sausage roll. Not because I’m being lazy and using words that the sort-of lifeless PR campaigns use…all those buzz words of excellence…but, quite frankly, if you’re served what looks like a few large slices of a sausage roll that turns out to suddenly transform into a huge gobful of pulled pork that’s moist yet the pastry is still light and flakey, then there’s not many words to go for. Try it. Try and convey finding something that’s pure genius and tastes great. Like the day a cream egg was invented.

     

    I went for the 35 day aged rosemary brushed beef rib chop. 300g. Yeah baby. Got my meat on big time. Plus a side order of 12 hour USDA short rib to share. I’ve gotta dig deep for a second because it’s hard to let people know there’s a real recommendation to try somewhere through words. Everywhere can do a good steak. If they can’t, they’re fools. Going the extra mile for meat, so that you remember it, those places you ought to note down in the brain. The ribs are incredibly soft and really do melt. The sticky glaze is naughty. The apple & radish slaw completely cleans out the mouth.

     

    Chips. Great. Baked cheesy leaks. Creamy. Shoestring onion rings. Bargain. Fried egg on top. Perfect. Whole roasted garlic. Powerful. Caramelised onions. Tangy. And the chop shop salsa verde, steak sauce and vodka bacon peppercorn sauce are all bang on the money.

     

    For some reason I was feeling a bit full and wasn’t really up for a dessert. Sorbet would be nice. Oooh, and a coffee. You can sort of do both and have an affagato, which is a vanilla gelato, averna amaro liquer and freshly brewed espresso. So simple, so easy. And a lovely scoop of ice cream. I’m all boozy and hyper. I feel happy enough to continue on, but I’m also feeling like a serious pot-bellied porker.

     

    I’m going back again pretty soon. We were tempted to try the cottage pasta pie – basil gnocchi pasta, braised oxtail and parmigiano. But we were flying in a few hours and it sounded a bit filling. But the staff are great and the prices are just, normal, nothing outrageous at all and it’s in Haymarket? Fair play. Great night. Go for the ribs, stay for the scratchings.

     

    Original article here

  • So, What’s Cooking?

    CHOP SHOP

     

    Mention steak dinner and we’ll always be on board, especially if it means a trip to Chop Shop. This New York darling takes comfort food to new heights, offering a necessary upgrade to the tourist haven that is Haymarket. Blossoming between thorns, the Altamarea Group outreach proves that the intercontinental relationship can be a beautiful thing, of meaty substance.

     

    Don’t be intimidated by a wall of embedded butchers knives, delve further into this New York inspired, London embraced interior and enter a world of contradictorily edgy comfort. The obvious exposed brick walls are spiced up by immense, designed reclaimed tiles with bare lighting, adding to the trendy ambiance. But,
    we weren’t here for the cool interior, although, perhaps, that’s why we stayed late into the night.
    That and the secret batch of in-house aged scotch snuck from behind the bar.

     

    We were here for the chops, and admittedly, the jars, crocks, planks and other cutely named serving styles we’ve grown annoyingly fond of. A jar of duck liver mousse topped with fruit mostarda is difficult to share, slathered on pieces of warm, grilled sourdough, solely due to the instant influence of greed. Crispy hot wings kick in protest with their addictive, fiery sauce, made even more irresistible when drowned in Cashel blue cheese dip. The showstopper of all starters, if such decadence can even be labelled that, was a wicked dish of cottage pasta pie. A crockery bowl lined with basil gnocchi, topped braised oxtail and covered in a blanket of melted cheese, disappeared before my fork could return for a second taste.

     

    Temporary sorrow was soon replaced with predatory instinct as a carnivorous dream arrived at the table. 35 day aged Cumbrian bone-in sirloin is a stunning sight, closely tailed by tender, Creekstone USDA hanger steak. The steaks and chops can be excessively topped with things like fried eggs, roasted garlic, red wine bone marrow sauce and even a vodka bacon peppercorn sauce. However, none of this is truly needed for such finely sourced meat. An obligatory order of fried onion rings and rosemary chips played accessory to the mass consumption, but there are plenty more sides to be chosen from.

     

    Tempting coronary implosion, we stuck around for dessert. A glass of butterscotch custard with salted caramel and Chantilly cream was sweet and satisfying. Sticky date pudding was a necessary evil to end the feast. Each bite was an indulgent embrace, dripping with warm toffee sauce.

     

    Chop Shop is the cool kid on the block, looking to lure you in and get you hooked. The service, led by Alastair Gallichan, is welcoming and knowledgeable, with friendly staff willing to help you make your selection. Be sure to order one of their killer house cocktails to help impair your decision-making skills, as you can’t go wrong with a menu like this.

     

    66 Haymarket, St James SW1 T: 020 7842 8501 www.chopshopuk.com 

  • Experience New York Style Dining in the Heart of London

     

    CHOP SHOP

    Walking into Chop Shop on Haymarket is a bit like walking into an old school New York butcher. It feels aged, full of character and cosy. Upon sitting down we were greeted by a lovely waiter who served us up a menu full of planks, flat irons, and finely selected cuts of meats.

    To wet our palates, I started off with a royal blush cocktail, which was a gorgeous mix of absolut vodka, mint, fresh limes, morello cherry and sparkling wine. My dining companion tried the celery gimlet, which was a cocktail with celery infused beefeater gin and lime cordial. Both were an absolutely delicious, a terribly moreish taste infusion.

    A drink or two later we got to thinking about our starters. I tried the crab cocktail jar that was served with sourdough toast. This was so yummy, that I ate every last bite. The avocado and the marie rose sauce perfectly complimented each other, making a tangy lemony delicious crab accompaniment to my sourdough toast. My friend had the smoked trout jar that she said was equally delicious. The sourdough was incredible also, it really brought our the flavours of our starters.

    Moving on to the mains, we both opted for fillet steaks and some shared sides, which included chips, veg of the week that was pancetta peas, and a red wine bone marrow broth sauce. The fillet steak was possibly the best piece of steak I’ve ever had in London, a superbly tender piece of meat that was cooked to perfection. The pancetta peas were divine, and the chips were the perfect accompaniment to the bold flavours on our plates.

    After we had finished our mains we considered rolling home as we were so stuffed. But the lovely staff persuaded us to peruse the pudding menu. Once we started looking I became increasingly tempted by the sticky date pudding and my friend on the butterscotch custard.

    I wasn’t hungry at all after our feast, so I declared I would try a mouthful when my pudding arrived and leave the rest. But, like the rest of the meal, the moment I tasted it there was no going back. Both desserts were delicately flavoured, my sticky date pudding was a smoky but sweet party in the mouth, and the salted caramel was so moreish we just couldn’t put our spoons down.

    At the end of the meal I left the restaurant pleasantly surprised. One thing that was clear about Chop Shop, was that plenty of thought had clearly gone into every minute detail. From the décor, to the dishes, the flavours, and the charismatic and friendly staff. The dining experience is certainly one I won’t forget quickly, I urge you to visit with friends and show up hungry, and ready to eat.

    Chop Shop, 66 Haymarket, London SW1Y, UK, 02078428501. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus
  • An American Hamburger Goes to London

     

     

    While Michael White is known as one of the NYC’s preeminent chefs specializing in Italian cuisine, he is at heart a midwestern kid from Wisconsin. This is apparent in the pizza at Nicoletta, the white label burger at Ai Fiori, and the patty melt at The Butterfly, his downtown NYC cocktail bar. It was still somewhat surprising that White’s Altamarea Group chose to open Chop Shop in London, rather than an outpost of the rapidly expanding Morini brand. Chop Shop is, for lack go of a better description, a Manhattan restaurateurs version of a Circa 2010 Brooklyn restaurant in London. The interior is exposed brick and wood, with burnished metal and weathered tiles as accents, there are vague visual references to butchery. Food is served on planks and in jars and crocks. The restaurant offers a lot of meats, cocktails crafted by Eben Freeman (who has now departed the group), and the patty melt from the Butterfly. It is a restaurant that would not have been out of place if it opened on the Bowery three years ago. It may be perfectly timed for the London of today.

    Structurally, that patty melt is almost identical to the one in NYC, with one notable difference: the beef in Manhattan is the white label blend.  That name is a riff on the aforementioned black label, and it's also produced by LaFrieda. The principle difference between the black and white labels is that the former uses dry aged fat in addition to the dry aged ribeye. The white label uses regular wet aged fat resulting in a less pronounced dry aged flavor.

    The beef in London is funkier in flavor, closer in fact to the black rather than white label. This is because it contains 35 day dry aged kidney fat according to Chop Shop chef Peter Lister. The beef is black Angus sourced from butcher Lake District Farmers. Lister visited New York to get a handle on the original and feels that the UK version is an improvement. "It has a meatier, beefier flavor" he says of the grass fed beef. Certainly it is heartier and more savory than US beef, lacking the sweetness that corn adds to the flavor. But once nestled in between two buttered slices of caraway seed bread, topped with a mild, young English Cheddar and a tangle of caramelized onions the patty melt is pretty close to the original version. The switch in cheese incidentally, from the blend of White American and Emmentaler used in the US to a local Cheddar, was for the same legal reason as Shake Shack’s.

     

     

    The most meaningful difference between the US and UK versions is that the crust is removed from the bread in London. The latter point may seem minor but all other things — beef, cheese, bread, onion — being equal (or close enough) it is what puts it ahead of its older brother in NYC. The lack of crust on the bread makes it more like a prober hamburger bun and easier to eat. When asked why a patty melt, and not a hamburger, ended up on the menu at Chop Chop, Michael White states that "nobody is doing a patty melt in London, and I wanted to bring what I consider a classic version of the sandwich to the UK." When asked about how it has been received White says that "it didn’t start off with a bang" as locals where not familiar with the form, "but now it has really caught on" and accounts for a significant amount of sales. According to Altamarea events manager Alastair Gallichan, they sell around 300 a week.

     

    Full article here

  • Burger Toppings

  • Burger Toppings

  • Gourmet burgers have been flipped every which way since they became big business several years ago. Patties have come in more drool-worthy iterations than any of us care to remember while buns have extended beyond traditional seeded baps to glossy brioches, dyed black buns and everything in between.

    But as we reach something close to burger saturation, it takes more than perfect patties and brilliant buns to get sell us on trying something different for our weekly burger intake. Which is why renowned restaurateur Will Guess has decided to do things differently at Chop Shop, his butcher-inspired meat eatery in London's Haymarket, with a range of creative toppings to make his burgers stand out.

    Originally launched to coincide with the Six Nations, the changing burger toppings are a culinary collaboration between Will and his head chef Peter Lister (The Dorchester), and have proven so popular that the next topping is always a work-in-progress beyond the pass.

    "With burgers still hugely popular in London, we wanted to create an offer that was both versatile, ever-evolving and bespoke," Will told us. ​"This allows our regular diners to try a new dish with each visit." The blink-and-you'll-miss them burger toppings are announced across all of Chop Shop's social media channels using #BurgerOfTheWeek.

    "It also allows us to have some fun experimenting with novel ingredients and ideas," said Will. "We recently collaborated with Guinness to create a Guinness burger, which was a massive hit. We can also have some fun tying the burger into something that is happening at that moment in time. During the Scottish vote, for example, we created The Referendum Burger using haggis and whiskey mayo as the topping. We like to have fun but ensure that high quality is omnipresent."

    Below, we rattle off some of the most unique of Chop Shop's burger and topping offerings you'll need to try for yourself – as well as a recipe for the most coveted secret topping sauce from within their walls that you can now make in the comfort of your own flat.

     

    Rings Of Fire 

    Rings Of Fire (left) oozes cheddar cheese and is topped with chunky onion rings tossed in chilli sauce layered on top of a patty. Drool.

     

    Juicy Lucy 

    This square patty (on the right, above) is made from brisket, chuck and aged fat — and stuffed with chilli cheese and 'slaw. "Basically, we wanted to create a burger which gave our regular #BurgerOfTheWeek customers a surprise of cheesy gooey epicness. Desired reaction was wanting to see their faces as cheese poured from the middle of their patty; a sensation they all said they had never experienced before," said Will. "This is the aim of each and every one of our BOTW’s: providing a culinary journey that people have not been on before."

     

    Black & Blue

     

    A beef patty topped with blue cheese, black pudding and apple ketchup. "This burger was created for The Rugby Six Nations as it contains iconic English flavours and rugby players tend to be beaten black and blue post-match!"

     

    The Haymarket Reuben

    OK, it's not a burger but we couldn't help but include the reuben. Served New York-style with shaved pastrami, double cheddar sauerkraut and mustard, this is truly mouth watering goodness. "After coming back from New York, our Head Chef wanted to pay homage to an NYC favourite and put our Haymarket twist on it," said Will. That they've done with flying colours.

    And a little somethin' extra for you naughty folk, Chop Shop's very own homemade condiment:

    Beer Bacon Marmalade
    Ingredients
    1 large onion, diced
    1 cup of minced bacon
    1 cup of chopped bacon
    1 tsp chilli flakes 
    1 bottle beer (Goose Island IPA)
    2 tbsp Honey
    ¼ cup red wine vinegar 

    Method
    Sweat the onion in a little oil then add the bacon and chilli. Cook on a medium heat until the moisture has gone and the bacon has a little colour. Add the beer, honey and vinegar. Reduce the liquid until the mix is a thick marmalade texture. Allow to cool before serving.

    To Build The Burger 

    Slice and butter a brioche bun then grill slightly. Place marmalade on the bottom half. Place the beef patty on top followed by the cheese and melt under the grill. Top with lots of pickles then dress the top of the bun with mustard mayo. Enjoy!

    Chop Shop66 Haymarket Street, St. James's, London, SW1Y 4RF 

    @chopshoplondon

     

    Full article here

     

  • 5 Of The Best Chop Houses

    22 November 2013

    There's nothing quite so satisfying as chowing down on a tender slab of flesh. Here's our pick of the five best meateries in the capital 

     

     

    1 | Chop Shop

    There is surely no better respite from winter’s bleak chill than a hearty meal in a chop house. The phrase alone conjures up images of Dickensian excess - slabs of meat scoffed in places of warmth, comfort and indulgence - and seems an archetypal British notion.

    London’s latest, greatest chop house, however, is owned by Americans. And irritatingly, they’re rather good at it. Chop Shop on Haymarket is part of the slick Altamarea Group based in NYC and has the requisite distressed wood panelling, exposed brickwork and attractive waiting staff of a Lower East Side hangout. But the meat - oh, the meat.

    Starter highlights include the charcuterie, duck-liver mousse and the frankly astonishing cottage pasta pie (baked gnocchi with braised oxtail). The mains are superlative, too; steaks are thick and tender (fillet) or else rich and beautifully textured (hanger), while lamb chops with grilled fennel are also faultless.

    Chop Shop is a victory both for our US cousins and (more importantly) for our nation’s great culinary tradition. With house drinks to complement the meats, there’s nowhere better to banish the winter blues.

    66 Haymarket, London SW1 chopshopuk.com

     

    Original article here

  •  

    Time Out says...

    Posted: Tue Nov 11 2014

     

    This is the first non-US outpost of the Altamarea Group, which has well-regarded restaurants in New York City and elsewhere on the US East Coast. While those venues specialise in fish and Italian food, Chop Shop has a modern mid-Atlantic menu placing steak and chops centre stage.

     

    Steaks range in price from £16-£26.  Cumbrian rump steak (£19) and Barnsley lamb chop (£17) were both high-quality meats cooked as ordered, and our waitress steered us towards medium-rare for the steak, which suits rump much better than rare. Fries were hot, salty and crunchy; creamed spinach was well executed.

     

    But there’s more to Chop Shop than grilled meat. We had two good small dishes as starters, a white onion mousse and cotechino scotch egg. The latter, using a good example of the coarse Italian cotechino boiling sausage, was particularly successful. Well-dressed seafood salad showcased sprightly (if slightly over-soft) ingredients. Toasted bread of exceptionally high quality was indicative of the attention to detail here.

     

    There are good beers on tap, and house cocktails (£9) avoid the excessive ‘inventiveness’ of many novelty-seeking lists. The cost of the wines on the list is the only downer: two bottles at £19, but only five others under £30. But a dozen wines can be ordered by the glass.

     

    Chop Shop is attractive – high ceilings, some quirky decoration (e.g. one wall embedded with butchers knives and cleavers), the mandatory exposed brick. The prices, apart from the wine list, are very reasonable. The service was great. Haymarket has long been a restaurant wasteland. Chop Shop bucks the trend, and we hope it prospers.

     

    Reviewed by Richard Ehrlich


    Read original article here

  • The plate's the thing: London's best restaurants for pre- and post-theatre dining

    Samuel Fishwick on where to dine in the capital before and after curtain up

    Chop Shop

    Chop Shop

    Stop press! Richard Bean’s Great Britain, a bold satire on tabloid culture in the UK, has transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Pre-show head to Chop Shop for a good, honest meal of pulled pork sausage rolls (£5) and cocktail flutes of Passione Arrabiata, with Reposado tequila and chilli (£9), followed by a trademark Chop Shop Brownie Sundae (£5) to fortify you.

    Door to door The time it takes to cross Haymarket.

     

    Read original article here

    66 Haymarket, SW1 (chopshopuk.com)

  • SECRET #358 / FOOD

    CHOP SHOP

    ROLL PLAY



    Secret 358 | Chop Shop | Food | Haymarket | London

     

    Oh yeah — that's what we're talking about. As soon as you bite into the fresh pastry and sizzling bacon oozes out, you'll know you've found what you've been looking for. Chop Shop is famous for its steak and chops, but you don't need an hour to spare to savor the meaty goodness. Pre- or post-theatre, pop in and request a pulled pork sausage roll. (We loved the tomato relish so much we asked for the recipe.) If you have a bit of extra time, wash it down with a house cocktail like the Royal Blush (vodka, mint, lime, sparkling cherry wine). This place is on a roll. 


    P.S. Craving a sweet treat? Try the butterscotch custard with salty caramel, crushed shortbread cookies and chantilly cream.

    Read original article here

  • This week Grace and Flavour was off to Haymarket, an unappetising crevice of the capital where suddenly lovely, appealing London turns into Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, naff shops selling Union Jack snow globes, a six-lane traffic jam and the hell-pit that is Tiger Tiger, a place in which the clientele could only be improved if after 8pm each night a live, hungry tiger was let loose. It also holds the offices of my esteemed literary agency, Curtis Brown, where I’m often spotted weeping about the deadline of my next novel, pleading extreme flat-out busyness, only to be Instagrammed 30 minutes later knocking back really strong Moscow Mules at Berners Tavern with my eyes spinning like Mr Bean trying to programme a sat nav.

    I do not generally eat dinner in Haymarket as it is full of people from Idaho in fanny packs making a colossal fuss out of pronouncing ‘Leicester Square’, but I am told it’s due for a £500 million regeneration to make it pretty, pedestrianised and loveable. The first signs of the restyling include new restaurant the Chop Shop which is, let’s be honest, another awful restaurant name — not quite ‘chip shop’, almost ‘Quality Chop House’, winding up sounding like a ‘snazzy’, budget Basildon hair boutique. It makes Prawn on the Lawn in Islington sound like a good idea.

    Regardless, there is some very good food on offer at the Chop Shop — the name refers to the venue’s butcher’s-shop concept — once one has navigated the menu. It is divided into ‘planks’, ‘crocks’, ‘jars’, ‘bites’ and a variety of other words not generally recognised across planet Earth as ‘stages of dinner’, but instead ‘random words you might shout during charades’. Yes, there are good hanger steaks, Barnsley chops and dry-aged burgers available, so there is an allusion to some chopping, but this isn’t nose-to-tail St John-style eating as the name suggests. Additionally the venue doesn’t resemble a butcher’s — it is, in fact, a romantically lit bistro — but let’s not dwell any further on the concept because it makes me as confused as the owners.

    My guest and I shared two ‘jars’, both delicious: a ricotta and butternut caponata, and a smoked trout with green olives and sour cream. Personally, I am over eating out of a jar, but chefs will insist on making diners resemble a room of Winnie the Pooh impersonators. I cannot fight against this trend alone. I am but one woman with a laptop and, besides, I’m currently working on destroying the ‘small plates’ and ‘no reservations’ trend.

     

    We drank some very good Passione Arrabiata cocktails with reposado tequila and chilli and shared a damn excellent cottage pie made with slow-cooked oxtail ragu, topped with spinach gnocchi, béchamel and breadcrumbs. This dish is sitting on the ‘crocks’ section and pushed as a starter but really should be a signature main. We ordered a fine patty melt sandwich on toasted caraway bread and a plate of chicken roasted with Tuscan panzanella and caramelised onions in thyme jus. Sides of honey roasted carrots and the straightforwardly titled ‘baked cheesy leeks’ were both inhaled.

    All of my dinner at the Chop Shop was marvellous, despite none of it really flowing as a meal, although we did put a definite full stop at the end with the Chop Shop Brownie Sundae with vanilla gelato, warm peanut butter sauce and a smattering of salted peanuts. I have thought long about the concept of the Chop Shop and have decided it is basically ‘Come here, we’re on Haymarket but we’re actually lovely. We will fill your stomach’, which if you think about it, isn’t a bad state of affairs in the slightest.

    66 Haymarket, SW1Y, chopshopuk.com

     

    To view the original article, click here

  •  
    Venue Image
     
    Chop Shop is a casual restaurant by Will Guess and the New York-based Altamarea Group. Offering a variety of meat and fish meals, Chop Shop will also offer cocktails with signature options including The Haymarket, a London version of a Manhattan.
     
     
    66 Haymarket,
    London,
    SW1Y 4RF
    .
    Our rating
    ****-

     

    Read original article here
  • With an industrial look, utterly delicious steaks and a prime location for theatregoers, Chop Shop has upped Haymarket's cool factor considerably, says Lucy Thackray

     
    London's Chop Shop has a modern, industrial interior by New York design group Altamarea 

    The lowdown: 

    Chop Shop feels like it should be somewhere cooler than Haymarket. Not that there's anything wrong with this wide stretch of road between Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, but with two of the West End's most popular shows and mainly high street restaurant chains, it can feel more coach trip choice than local gem. This new steak joint has something of Soho about it, with its sharp, industrial design by New York's Altamarea group (think exposed brick, steel, neon signage and a hint of Sweeney Todd with knifes and cleavers sticking menacingly out of one wall), and the food is anything but generic.

    On a great menu with just enough choice, you can mix and match 'jars', 'crocks' and 'planks', the potted, oven baked and sharing platter-style smaller dishes before getting to the main event — the steaks. Be warned: these small plates are generous. My friend Tom and I tried the prosciutto and mortadella meatballs crock and potted crab on a creamy avocado layer — both delicious, but filling. We sipped on cocktails from the interesting bar list, the truly tasty Masala Mai Tai punch and a 'royal blush', a mojito-esque mix with a hint of cherry that didn't really work.

    On to the steaks — our resolve weakened by the epic starters, we opted for the lighter hanger steaks (when the waiter asked about sides, we ordered the roasted garlic bulbs, sautéed spinach and rosemary and sea salt chips in eerie unison). When it came, the steak was something else — the hanger is the cheapest at £16 but still generous, butter soft to cut through and super juicy in a rich gravy. With the roasted garlic, seasoned chips and creamed spinach, everything was very rich, and we rather wished we had skipped the starters.

    Lumineers-esque folk rock played on the stereo, our tattooed, top-knotted waiter was friendly, chilled out and flexible, but very knowledgable about the menu, and the whole atmosphere was pleasantly informal. As regular theatregoers we agreed that Chop Shop would be high on our pre-show list from now on. There's even an express menu — £19 for two courses, £22 for three.

     

    The good:

    The informal, rock'n'roll vibe.

    The steaks — uncommonly tender, juicy cuts of meat.

    A small thing, but the cinnamon-scented toilets with their spiced hand wash were a pleasanter experience than most.

     

    The not so good:

    Steak comes pre-sliced, removing that primal joy of slicing through it and spilling the juices yourself.

    As with any steak restaurant with separate sides, prices will mount up.

    Most dishes are on the rich side — you may crave some freshness.

     

    The verdict:

    A cool, youthful and original dining addition to the West End's tourist hub. Go before One Man, Two Guvnors next door for meaty satisfaction followed by hearty belly laughs.

     

    Book it: 

    Chop Shop, 66 Haymarket, St James's, London SW1Y 4RF, (+44 (0)20 7842 8501; chopshopuk.com)

     

    To view the original article, click here

  • On Friday Kimberley & I went dancing. We wore little white dresses, towering heels and laughed and spun our way around the wooden dance floor until the early hours.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we could party the night away we had to fuel up so headed to Haymarket's newest hot spot, Chop Shop.

    The place is owned by the NYC Altamarea Group, so naturally has something of a New York feel to it.

    The menu is simple and very meaty.

    Fillet steak, hanger steak, beef rib, pork, chicken, a huge sirloin for two... This is no place for vegetarians.

    We started with "Royal Blush" cocktails.

    Vodka, mint, lime, cherry and sparkling wine.

    Kimberley is in the process of starting her very own blog.

    She's bought the same camera as me (the Lumix GF5), so I can give her a few pointers along the way!

    To start we went for things in jars.

    Prawn cocktail and duck liver mousse, which was excellent.

    Followed by crispy hot wings with a cashel blue cheese sauce.

    Aaannnd Kimberley chose the most inopportune time to practice her new found snap happy tendencies...

    The restaurant is very new, so service is understandably a little slow.

    We weren't complaining and busied ourselves tasting the entire cocktail menu.

    When my medium-rare, Creekstone USDA hanger steak finally arrived, I was very happy to see it.

    It's got a much richer flavour than fillet but it's just as tender and juicy.

    Sauce wise you can choose between salsa verde, creamed horseradish, vodka bacon peppercorn, red wine bone marrow or béarnaise

    I had two on the side, salsa and marrow. Both were excellent and kept me dipping to the last drop.

    Kim had soft polenta, rosemary braised wild mushrooms, braised chicken thighs & parmigiano.

    Which looks and tasted like something your mum would cook you if you'd just had a terrible day.

    Rich and comforting, but not much of a looker.

    In an effort to appear healthy, we also shared carrots.

    Which were glazed in honey, so probably not that healthy... but the thought was there.

    Having started in jars, we decided to end in jars.

    Pudding was served up by the enormously friendly Will, who highly recommends the butterscotch custard with salted caramel, chantilly cream and crushed shortbread cookies.

    And the fudge brownie sundae with vanilla gelato, warm peanut butter sauce & salted peanuts.

    Someone was pretty happy with our decision...

    We polished off our cocktails and disappeared off into the night for a boogie.

    I highly recommend Chop Shop for all serious meat fans.

    They even do an "express menu" where you can have a starter, hanger steak and chips and a pudding for £22. Which I think is pretty good value.

    The cocktails are great and it's perfect if you're heading out to the theatre or going dancing afterwards.

    But the best part? You can book.

    Details here.

     

    To view the original article, click here

  • Savouring the moment

    Pumpkin and porcini, beetroot and bone marrow – just some of the ingredients mixologists are choosing to give cocktails an innovative savoury slant. They’re causing quite a stir, says Jemima Sissons.

    Savouring the moment

     

    OCTOBER 12 2013
    JEMIMA SISSONS

    At Grain Store in King’s Cross, a pot of water bubbles furiously on the hob, creating a billow of steam, while cubes of pumpkin play dodgems with each other. Next to this, green beans are being chopped and truffles finely sliced into delicate layers. The atmosphere in the bright and airy room is frenzied as the staff go about their creations.

    Yet this is not the kitchen. That is at the other side of the Russell Sage-designed interior where, in view of diners, chef Bruno Loubet is tying up bundles of wild fennel, picked from the banks of nearby Regent’s Canal, to add fragrance to some roasting sea bass. No, the scene in question is the bar, where, in line with many of the other cutting-edge drinking holes in the capital, delectable savoury cocktails are being concocted.

    The pumpkin makes its way silkily into a Pumpkin Bellini – after being puréed, the vegetable is mixed with maple syrup, which has been brought to boiling point and strained through a coffee filter to remove the sugar. The resulting beverage sings of autumn – a perfect Halloween or Thanksgiving offering. For the Green Martini, dry vermouth is infused with petits pois and green beans for a week, and then the mixture is blended before adding it to Beefeater gin to make a wet martini. (At Grain Store wet martinis are made with more than 30ml of vermouth, as opposed to a dry martini, which calls for 5-10ml of vermouth.) The vegetal tipple, with a citric nudge from its nasturtium-leaf garnish, is perfect to whet the appetite before tucking into the largely vegetable-based menu – Grain Store also offers cocktail pairing for selected dishes. For the Truffle Martini, sherry is cooked with truffles sous-vide – at a low temperature to ensure that the alcohol doesn’t boil away – before adding it to gin and vermouth, and the Mustard Martini packs a serious punch for Colman’s lovers.

    For many of these mixologists at the forefront of savoury cocktails, the new culinary techniques used to make them have meant a blurring of the lines between kitchen and bar. At the most extreme end of the spectrum, ingredients such as bone marrow and even duck fat are being added to drinks to create very unusual twists. In a seasonal nod, autumn’s earthy flavours are also being captured. At Daphne’s in South Kensington, the truffle menu, which launches mid-November, features a truffle-infused cocktail, and at Paesan, in Exmouth Market, porcini mushroom-infused vodka adds a warm and comforting boost to its Bloody Mary.

    For Grain Store bartender Nadine Herft, savoury cocktails are about helping to bring out the best in food. “It’s a new way to drink with a meal, instead of wine. The Pumpkin Bellini is designed to go with the squash ravioli, the Truffle Martini with the vegetable merguez, aromatic vegetables and preserved lemon salad. Sickly, sweet cocktails are now seen as outdated. It is also hands-on and exciting. People sit at the bar and watch you really create drinks, rather than just mix spirits.”

    At Duck & Waffle, 40 floors up in the Heron Tower on Bishopsgate, with the magnificence of London spread before the City-meets-fashion crowd, Richard Woods presides over an island bar stocked high with dark rums. Alongside barbecued crispy pigs’ ears and fillet of beef carpaccio with foie gras and pecorino, Woods serves up his thoughtful cocktails, a carefully edited list of 11. The most savoury of all, perhaps, is his Roasted Cosmopolitan, a mixture of Grey Goose citron vodka, homemade cranberry preserve, triple sec and roasted bone marrow. It was the result of interacting with the kitchen and attempting to create something with a wider appeal than the otherwise female-oriented drink. “If we look at festivities such as Christmas or Thanksgiving, we tend to have roasted meats. What do we serve with roasted meats? Fruit conserves. Bone marrow was something the kitchen was playing around with and it was discovered that the proteins work well in cocktails. The idea behind this one was also to make it drinker-friendly for everyone, because traditionally, a Cosmopolitan is quite a feminine choice.”

    To create the drink, house-made triple sec and vodka are cooked sous-vide with the roasted bone marrow (seasoned with rosemary, salt and pepper) for 60 minutes at a low temperature, after which the mixture is frozen, so that the fat separates from the liquid (freezing does not affect the alcohol content). It is then strained and added to the other ingredients, resulting in a drink with a robust depth and a hint of meatiness.

    For Eben Freeman, the renowned, New York-based mixologist who has devised the cocktails for the newly opened London restaurant Chop Shop, the trend towards savoury cocktails is a sign of a move towards a more figure-conscious drinker. “Most people don’t want too-sweet drinks nowadays – palates have changed. It ties in with greater health consciousness.” One of his savoury drinks is a Masala Mai Tai, in which spices such as black peppercorns, cardamom and cumin are toasted and mixed with dark rum and green curry leaves. In his Celery Gimlet, celery-infused gin is shaken with lime juice, lifting the drink with its fresh, salad-y notes.

    Yet, according to David Wondrich, author of Imbibe!, savoury cocktails aren’t an entirely new concept, the Bloody Mary being the ultimate example. “The modern history of savoury drinks begins in the 1930s with the Bloody Mary, which took a new ingredient – vodka – to the American palate, and added it to the so-called Tomato Juice Cocktail, a temperance drink that was heavily promoted in the late 1920s as something with a kick to it (from the Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces) that could be taken in lieu of an alcoholic beverage.”

    After that, says Wondrich, the next big development was the Bullshot, made with vodka, beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and Tabasco. Yet the modern trend seems to have begun with Benton’s Old Fashioned, invented five or six years ago by Don Lee at PDT, a speakeasy in New York. “Don took Benton’s bacon (a particularly intense, artisanal brand), fried it up and tipped it, fat and all, into bourbon, which he then put in the freezer, thus solidifying the fat so that it could be strained out. Very effective, indeed.”

    How savoury can one go? Quite far, according to some. For the Ducktail at Salon 39 in Copenhagen, pear brandy is infused with foie gras for three weeks before being strained and added to Beaumes de Venise, honey and orange. At Barts in Chelsea, the Pickled Ploughman’s is a mix of Sipsmith gin, Chambord, blue Stilton, grapes, honey and grenadine. The theme continues at Duck & Waffle, where whisky is poured into a hollowed Cheddar cheese, then strained and served with biscuits. At Oblix in The Shard, fat is drained from a rotisserie duck and added to American bourbon, before being cooked sous-vide and frozen to separate the fat. All very gutsy.

    Yet when done right, savoury drinks can offer a very playful experience to the palate. At Nightjar in east London, an umami-inspired drink, Beyond the Sea, is served inside a seashell – a satisfying tang coming from the oyster-leaf-infused Gin Mare and a zing from Szechuan button flowers.

    Some even verge on the medicinal. At Beagle in Hoxton, the bartenders are infusing their own spirits with delicious results. To make Lovage, Portobello gin is infused with the herb, before being strained and mixed with lemon and tonic – it’s like a shot of summer meadow. Next up this autumn is a homemade nettle cordial to add some iron-rich goodness to an otherwise decadent martini. The signature Beagle Martini, an excellent savoury, early-evening sharpener, is a mix of potato vodka, coriander and caraway bitters, garnished with a pickled onion, an olive and a caper on a cocktail stick.

    Over at Bam-Bou in Fitzrovia, the health-giving properties of avocado add a satisfying creaminess to its Green Russian, made with vodka, lime, pineapple and a quarter of said pear. “The use of avocado as an ingredient is fantastic, not only for its flavour but for its vitamin and nutritional content,” says bar manager Ladislav Piljar. “Using fresh vegetables, such as avocado, beetroot, carrot and celery in drinks has become increasingly popular, and reflects healthier trends in the industry, as well as a new approach to flavour and texture combinations.”

    Could it be argued, then, that some of these drinks could actually be good for us? Perhaps not. But they certainly beat the technicolour sugar bombs of yore.

  • By Richard Vines - Sep 26, 2013 7:01 PM

    371214.html.jpg

     

    Ahmass Fakahany ended a 20-year career at Merrill Lynch & Co. (BAC) in 2008 as co-president and chief operating officer, responsible for 63,000 employees in 40 countries.

    How do you top that?

    With creamed horseradish, perhaps. Fakahany quit banking and became a restaurateur, opening establishments across New York. This month, he added Chop Shop, a casual venue on Haymarket in London. It’s the latest outpost of the Altamarea Group, the company he created with chef Michael White.

    So what is more difficult: restaurants or banking?

    “I have to say restaurants,” Fakahany says in an interview at Chop Shop. “I never thought I’d think so, but margins are so tight in this business. You really have to think through. These are long leases. You have a lot of people issues and there’s a lot of process. And if you don’t like people or process and don’t want to take time with it, it’s a recipe for difficulty.”

    Does he miss banking?

    “I miss some of the people,” says Fakahany, who is 55. “There are certain aspects of the complexity or the intricacy of a deal that you miss a little bit. Merrill Lynch was a formative part of my life and taught me a lot, frankly, that I’m using in this new business sector, food and beverage.

     

    Metrics, Results

    “This business is very targets-, metrics-, results-oriented. You have to measure yourself the whole time. It is very client-focused. These are very big similarities in terms of how you run the business and, frankly, being very disciplined.

    “Being efficient, leveraging your scale, having purchasing power, all of these kinds of things are highly important in making some savings, so that you can spend on the client. You have to look at the whole vertical chain.”

    Altamarea has quickly established itself in New York, with popular and respected restaurants such as Marea, Ai Fiori, Osteria Morini and the new Costata. The group is now expanding internationally, with a stake in Al Molo, in Hong Kong, and an establishment opening in Istanbul in coming weeks.

     

    Meatballs

    In London, Fakahany has gone for a New York-style industrial look, an informal service style, an accessible menu and affordable prices. The Express Menu is 22 pounds ($32). A la carte, starters such as meatballs are 9 pounds and mains are 12-15 pounds. A 180-gram fillet steak (35-day aged) costs 26 pounds, plus sauces such as salsa verde and creamed horseradish.

    If the formula works in the U.K., it might work elsewhere. Fakahany says his experience of opening in London, where he spent a few years as a boy, has been positive and that it’s been good working with the Crown Estate Ltd., his new landlord.

    “As far as the operational side, the setup, I would give London an A plus,” he says. “I grew up here and I was just flabbergasted by how responsive and convenient and capable the people were in opening up in London.

    “I’ve never had the Queen of England as my landlord before. New York has more hurdles to jump and a lot more regulatory processes that I never imagined when I got into this business.”

    (Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)

    Muse highlights include Farah Nayeri on London arts and Frederik Balfour on Asian auctions.

     

  •  

     

    September 5
    September 5
    The butcher-inspired restaurant Chop Shop on Haymarket, SW1, is a carnivore’s dream. On or off the bone, it’s all served here, as are old-fashioned English cocktails, such as the Haymarket, a British version of the Manhattan, combing Buffalo Trace bourbon, Dolin sweet vermouth and pink cloves. (Chopshopuk.com; opens September 2)
  • KNIFE TO MEAT YOU…

    August 27, 2013

    xx

    These strange wall markings had baffled Robert Langdon and stumped Indiana Jones… Photograph R.Cleveland Aaron

    Sometimes you look at a menu and it stirs such excitement, only for the food itself to be a let down. The menu for the Chop Shop bought joy on all levels. Thankfully the food delivered on all levels too.

    The former director of Rowley’s, a young and fresh-faced Will Guess, has collaborated with the acclaimed New York based restaurateurs the Altamarea Group, alongside Michael White bringing a much needed quality restaurant to Haymarket. A road we often walk down with feelings of sadness, mostly mediocre chains line this central London street. From what we spotted during our visit, Chop Shop is not just luring in Londoners but tourists too. Finally!

    Chop Shop Haymarket, We Love Food, It's All We Eat

    Ade’s knife throwing skills left a lot to be desired!

    Not just another steakhouse, the Chop Shop specialises in meat on the bone (the name’s a bit of a giveaway). The menu offers ‘jars’ of meat and fish pâtés, ‘planks’ of cheese and charcuterie, and ‘crocks’ of baked meatballs and gratins. Of course the decor is industrial, but with unique touches too. Looming studio film lights hang above, a butcher shop inspired ‘climbing wall’ of meat cleavers and knives is a pretty cool, yet slightly frightening focal point. But the atmosphere couldn’t be more relaxed. This is the first time I can remember feeling overdressed in a steak restaurant, I almost slipped out of my heels back into my sandals.

    Choosing from the menu was a serious matter, there was so much we wanted to try. Deano – one of the most wonderful and friendliest waiters we’ve ever come across, offered help and guidance on portion sizes. You’ll know him if you see him, he’s an untainted, better looking version of Rylan from the X Factor. Cocktails are all £9, the Celery Gimlet made a great change and turned out to be a good palate cleanser. The Masala Mai Tai delivered just the right amount of kick, whilst the bourbon laced Haymarket was a fine gentleman’s drink.

    Chop Shop Haymarket, We Love Food, It's All We Eat

    This definitely has the eggs factor

    Chop Shop Haymarket, We Love Food, It's All We Eat

    When the moon hits your eyes like a Cottage pasta pie, that’s amore…

    Cotechino scotch egg with salsa verde £4 from the ‘snacks’ section put us on good stead – a faultless ball of heaven with a fresh almost floral salsa verde. The genius dish of Cottage pasta pie £9 (which we ordered without cheese) was pure comfort food. Baked gnocchi with braised oxtail and a sprinkling of crumb. Gorgeous.

    Chop Shop Haymarket, We Love Food, It's All We Eat

    Beef rib paid tomato extra to be tickled with a sprig of rosemary…

    Chop Shop Haymarket, We Love Food, It's All We Eat

    Take a look at that!

    Chop Shop Haymarket, We Love Food, It's All We Eat

    ‘This kinda girl’s always out of reach, She’s a peach’ Name the artist pop pickers!

    A couple of perfect slabs of meat arrived next. Middle white porchetta, grilled peaches and crackling£14 was beautiful with the sharpness of the peaches. A generous amount of crackling cubes, clinging to the edges of the succulent meat. The Rosemary brushed beef rib chop £26 was one of the best steaks we’ve had for a long time. Seasoned and cooked to perfection. A sauce of vodka, bacon and peppercorn came at no extra cost – a heavenly combo. Sautéed spinach £4 and hot crunchy Chips with rosemary sea salt £3 completed the meal.

    Chop Shop Haymarket, We Love Food, It's All We Eat

    Salted caramel sauce did her best ketchup impression

    Chop Shop Haymarket, We Love Food, It's All We Eat

    Make mine a half of best (best dessert that is!)

    A breather was required before desserts, we had that ‘need-a-walk-around-the-block’ feeling, if only that was possible! My Butterscotch custard – salted caramel, crushed shortbread cookies with Chantilly cream £5 was a pimped-up angel delight, with a dusting of shortbread. I absolutely loved this, but couldn’t help feel it would have benefited from bigger chunks of biscuit. It didn’t stop me devouring the whole lot though. Ade’s Chop Shop brownie sundae - fudgy brownie, vanilla gelato, warm peanut butter sauce, salted peanuts £5 could have been made for him. It was a combo of all of his dessert favourites – big chunks of moist brownie, gooey choco-fudge sauce and thick seams of smooth peanut butter.

    Coupled with the superb service this was without a doubt a stand out meal. One that we’ve thought about often since, even salivating over friend’s subsequent experiences there. Even though we left with swollen bellies and spinning heads, I still wanted to turn around and do it all over again.

     

    To view the original article, click here

  • The place: Chop Shop

    The whereabouts: 66 Haymarket, London

    The space:Urban, stripped back and industrial. The restaurant contrasts from the garishly-coloured chains surrounding it with a contemporary, neutral design. It utilises natural materials including original brickwork, dark wood paneling and large reclaimed tiles hung on the walls like paintings. A chalkboard visualising the different cuts of meat is the main giveaway to Chop Shop's meaty persuasion.

    The food: Meat, and in particular steak. Not one for veggies.

    The damage: Jars £4-6, planks & crocks £6-14, mains £12-28, cocktails £9, sweets £4-5

    The high: Let's start with the steak as this is ultimately what Chop Shop will be judged on. The 35-day aging process is evident in the beef's great flavour. Both the rosemary - brushed rib chop and fillet steak were cooked to perfection, cut like butter and tasted wonderful. Each was served with a flavoursome gravy and presented simply without any gimmicks. One of the best steaks I have had in London. The stand-out side was the honey-roast carrots which were sweet and sticky and seasoned with fragrant thyme leaves. The excellent cooking extended past the mains. A unique starter of cooling ricotta cheese sitting on a refreshing tomato and herb compote (in a small glass jar) was the ideal accompaniment to spread onto chargrilled (slightly over) seasoned bread. This was followed by a fantastic 'cottage pie' with a twist. Rich, slow-cooked and unctuous oxtail ragu was topped with a light spinach gnocchi, béchamel sauce and finished with crispy breadcrumbs. A rather large starter portion for one, but ideal for sharing on a cold-autumn evening.

    The low: By no means a low but just not quite as outstanding as the rest of the menu, the selection of desserts is limited with mainly ice cream-based options on offer. Having said that the vanilla gelato, for the Affogato, was delicious doused in bitter espresso coffee to produce the infamous hot and cold combination.

    The twist: Celery is often used as a garnish for cocktails but I've never previously tried a spirit infused with its savoury flavour. The Celery Gimlet combined Gin infused with this refreshing vegetable and lime to produce a delicious cocktail. The starters are named after the vessels in which they are served from jars (of pâtés and mousse) to planks (of cheese and meats) and crocks (of meatballs and pasta).

    The verdict: Located in one of the most tourist heavy areas of London with gimmicky restaurants left and right, Chop Shop is a breath of fresh air. The cooking is faultless and staff very friendly. This is the first European venture from the acclaimed (New York) restaurant group Altamarea and looks like another winner which I can't recommend highly enough.

     

    To view the original article, click here

  •  

    Behold Chop Shop, London's latest New York City import that softly launches this very day in the St. James district. Expansion-minded restaurateur Michael White's Altamarea Group announced in late May that they were collaborating with Will Guess of London's Rowley's on this new butcher-shop-inspired venture. Today, the restaurant soft opens for dinner only — offering 25 percent off the check for early adopters — with plans to add lunch service beginning August 14.

    Here now, take a spin through the two-level space that includes a basement dining area; marquee lights for days; and walls made of wood, brick; and tile. Chop Shop also tweeted a sneak peek of its menu, which includes a White Label burger, a steak sandwich, and "Morini Meatballs" (a nod to Altamarea's Osteria Morini in NYC). Plus, of course, various types of steaks and chops and their accompanying sauces and sides. Ultra Vie also points out there's "a selection of authentic New York and London cocktails."

    To view the original article, click here

  • The first London Meatopie kicks things off in grand style

    Created on Monday, 09 September 2013 09:00

    Written by Gavin Hanly

    We'd been looking forward to Meatopia on Hot Dinners for quite a while, and this weekend we finally got to head down there and check it out for ourselves. Suffice to say, it was a great event all round - packing in 3,500 meat-loving folk. Even the nearby EDL march, which caused the exhibitors no end of grief in getting more meat to the event later in the day, couldn't put the dampeners on what was once of the best food festivals we've seen in town for a while.

    We got down there pretty early - and if you head down next year we would certainly recommend you do the same as some of the queues got pretty epic by the end (We think that Koya and the astonishingly long queue for Manchester's Almost Famous took the prize here). That said, even later on there was always somewhere that you could get food relatively quickly - particularly at the Shake Shack stand which seemed to be populated by energizer bunnies.

    And the food itself was well worth it - with lots of one-off dishes created for the event. We took it as a matter of professional pride that we managed to get through as much of them as we possibly could. There wasn't a duff turn in the food we tried, but we should give special mention to a few particularly winning dishes.

    Duck and Waffle's Dan Doherty's BBQ pig's head slider with truffle slaw was the first thing we had when we arrived and remained the top dish throughout the event for us, despite strong competition from a couple of Americans. We loved the smoked chicken and crimson grits from The Hot and Hot Fish club from Alabama, and the Paella de Cerdo from New York's Tertulia was blessed with both a short(ish) queue and wonderfully tender pork. But the UK crowd was VERY strong. Neil Rankin from Smokehouse teamed up with Dallas' Smoke for an excellent pulled BBQ whole hog taco, while Chop Shop's meatballs were so good apparently one customer had come back fifteen in all.

    The music and entertainment was great - we particularly loved the singalong by the piano in the pub - and everyone we bumped into appeared to be having a fine old time.

    We're already looking forward to next year's, but in the meantime take a look through the gallery below to see what we ate and more.

     

    To view the original article, click here

  • Chop Shop is the first London venture from New York restaurant conglomerate the Altamarea Group. With nine other restaurants and three Michelin stars to its name, the group comes to London with an impressive legacy. Under head chef Peter Lister, Chop Shop aims to combine New York and London styles, bringing an urban feel to Haymarket with an interior of exposed brick and reclaimed materials. It is these materials, perhaps, that lend the building its lived-in feel – an impressive quality for a newly opened restaurant. Split over two floors, Chop Shop is open from midday to midnight, serving lunch, light bites and full-on meaty dinners.

    Before taking our table we enjoyed cocktails at the bar, served by a friendly barman. The Celery Gimlet, which combined celery-infused Plymouth Gin with lime juice, was refreshing and zingy, while the Haymarket, a rich and spicy twist on the Manhattan and a hark back to Altamarea’s New York roots, featured bourbon and sweet vermouth cut through with orange peel and pink cloves. 

    A wide variety of starters, ranging from jars of fish to planks of cheese and crocks of meatballs, means that you are rather spoilt for choice, but after much deliberation we opted for two jars to share, the Smoked Trout with Green Olives and Sour Cream and the Ricotta with Tomato, Mint and Basil. Served with satisfyingly thick slices of well-seasoned bread, the jars proved a light and moreish start to the meal, though perhaps not the most memorable.

    The main course and the meat are what Chop Shop is all about though. Taking centre stage on the menu, the steaks and chops range from USDA Hanger Steak toMiddle White Porchetta with Peaches and Crackling. We quickly settled on theRosemary Brushed Beef Rib Chop and the Lamb Chops with Grilled Fennel with sides of chips and sautéed spinachThe suitably juicy beef rib came medium-rare (as recommended by the waitress) and with an attractive diamond char. It was complimented very well by an unctuous red wine bone marrow sauce and was soon stripped to the bone. The lamb chops were equally tasty and tender, also cooked to an accurate medium-rare and swimming in flavoursome juices. The chips and spinach were well-seasoned and the portion sizes about right, considering the quantity of the meat.

    Unable to fit much more in, we shared a Butterscotch Custard for dessert, which combined salted caramel, Chantilly cream and of course butterscotch. This proved a great way to round off the meal, with the light texture reminding us of childhood bowls of Angel Delight, in the best way possible.

    This New York-inspired central London restaurant wears its meaty heart on its sleeve and is unashamedly not a place for vegetarians. Its relaxed, intimate atmosphere and friendly staff mean that it is a great place to while away the hours and enjoy some prime cuts of your meat of choice.

    Nichola Daunton

    Food:     16/20
    Drinks:   15/20
    Service: 17/20
    Chop Shop:  48/60

    To book a table at Chop Shop, 66 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4RF, call 020 7842 8501 or visit here.

    To view the original article, click here

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