Whatever the reason, one can’t fault them for picking a theme and going full on with it. The Black Heart is a black metal pub with a small venue on the upper floor. It’s the type of place that you would expect to be the hangout for a biker gang in a movie with dark walls, slightly dim lighting, and a pool table in the corner. The clientele are similarly dressed with black being the colour of choice and I think I lost track of how many white guys walked by with the trademark black beanie on despite the warm temperature inside.
The bar takes up most of the central space and is woefully understaffed with the average wait time for a beer somewhere around 15 minutes. While the beer list on the wall looks impressive, be warned that they don’t have a good portion at any given time so always get up there with a back up in mind or you may face another wait before you can get served. Prices are also a bit much at £5 for some of the nicer bottles (330ml still) and pints around £3-4. Card minimum is £10 so keep some cash on you unless you are buying a round.
But none of this is why we were here. We came for Kimchi Cult and damn I’m glad we did. Kimchi Cult was born as a street trader slinging juicy burgers to the hungry masses. Naturally, as the name suggests, their signature burger, the Kimchi Cult Special, is topped with a generous serving of kimchi made by the man in charge. I first ran across them a few years ago at a Korean festival and I’ve been an avid fan ever since. Given the winter weather makes for poor street stall trade, they are running a six week pop-up at the Black Heart. I won’t go into too much detail on them (see the Kimchi Cult reviews for that), but I will note that because they have a larger kitchen (which isn’t saying much) this time, they are also offering up some loaded fries. The kimchi fries are doused in a kimchi hot sauce and packs some serious heat. The bulgogi fries are topped with a massive serving of delicious bulgogi (some of the best I’ve had in London). Both are huge portions that will definitely fill you up…unless you are Rob H…in which case even the ribs from the Flintstones aren’t enough.
Back to the Black Heart, it’s an alright pub for Camden but unless you are into the metal scene I’d probably give it a miss. The beer is better (and a little cheaper) just down the street at BrewDog and you have more interesting places to people watch further up the locks. And I’m still slightly annoyed that after going through the effort of making a reservation for 8, they forgot about it completely and stuffed us on some tables in the middle of the busiest walkway in the pub. Not cool.