Tramshed is a massive open warehouse style restaurant with a inversely small menu. Yet, while it only does a few things, it does them very well. The open air layout gives the feeling of dining al fresco while hiding you away from the elements. All the staff were polite with our waitress being both hilarious and attentive. While it’s not cheap, Tramshed is a reasonable place to head out for a dinner with good friends with 3 courses plus wine ringing in around £45pp.
This is one of Mark Hix’s restaurants and his touch is evident in the style and quality of the food. Of course, it’s hard to miss the giant cow and chicken which makes up the centrepiece of the restaurant. It’s strangely not off putting as you’d think (given it’s a massive tank of formaldehyde) and adds something to the serenity of the space.
Food: ★★★★☆ Service: ★★★★☆ Atmosphere: ★★★☆☆ Value: ★★★☆☆ Overall: ★★★★☆
Hoxton has a wealth of bars to pick from, but if you’re in the area and in the mood for a good drink then just head down the street to Callooh Callay which has consistently ranked as one of the top bars in the world. The current incarnation of the menu is presented as a fold out tube map in an oyster card holder – something I imagine goes walkabout with more than a few customers and it was quite hard to resist taking one myself! My favourite cocktail from the new menu was a new Glenmorangie based cocktail with salted caramel – sweet with citrus notes supported by the smooth single malt.
What to eat?
Tramshed’s menu is fairly limited to steak and chicken with a few choices for each. Our mini-group of 5 (we had 12 in total) opted for share a Porterhouse and whole Roast Chicken for our mains and shared a range of starters and desserts.
As far as starters go, this was a tasty selection with my favourite by far being the whipped chicken livers with a full Yorkshire pudding. It’s a great pairing with the light airy parfait easily spreading on the fluffy pudding. I tend to avoid chicken livers in restaurants as they typically have a chalky residue but this was more on par which Heston’s “Meat Fruit” parfait and was absolutely delicious. I would have happily devoured another one or three of those.
The rest of the starters (broad bean salad, cuttlefish with heirloom tomatoes, and eggs with quail egg mayonnaise) were pretty decent but nothing spectacular. It’s worth mentioning the croquettes and green beer stix (aka SlimJims) – very moreish and great for snacking on while you wait.
Tramshed’s roast chicken is served stuffed and standing on its head in a bed of French fries. It’s carved at the table side with the feet going to the most adventurous (or in this case the birthday boy) and then succulent flesh portioned out among the rest. The legs were my pick with juicy dark meat and salty crispy skin but every part was well received. The stuffing was delicious and moist – the only complaint being the very limited quantities! But don’t forget the chips which have been soaking in chicken grease. They may not be healthy but damn they are tasty!
Our Porterhouse was expertly grilled to a nice medium rare and thickly sliced. The meat had a good crust and was good but under seasoned – a bit more salt did wonders for the flavour. Both the chicken and Porterhouse serve 2-3 people so the two between 5 was pretty much spot on.
The sides of garlic mushrooms and offal ragoo were superb with the mushrooms being given the garlic flavour from a flower (damson?). The ragoo was a creamy dish with heart, liver, and sweetbreads and boasted a rich gamey taste that paired the steak incredibly well.
Desserts came in the form of mini chocolate cakes, credit crunch ice cream (vanilla ice cream with caramel swirls, honeycomb, and chocolate bits), and a salted caramel fondue with sugared donuts and marshmallows. The cakes were decent, the ice cream delicious, and the fondue pure joy. If you have to pick one, get the fondue – some of the best salted caramel I’ve ever had.
What to drink?
The cocktail menu is filled with classics and by all reports are pretty damn strong. We opted for a magnum of Tonnix Douro Tinto which is a full bodied wine that tastes of black fruits. Slightly tannic, it worked well with the steak yet was mellowed enough from the juicy fruits that it didn’t overwhelm the chicken.
It’s a remarkably easy to drink wine and I went through several (small) glasses although thankfully was hangover free the next day.
Worth the dosh?
Yes although a bit out of my budget for a regular spot. Starters are around £5 each and steaks clock in at £20/£40 for the 250g/500g rib eye and sirloin with desserts about £6-7. The chicken is particularly good value for £25 including stuffing and chips while the 1kg Porterhouse at £75 is less than its equivalent at Hawksmoor (although Hawksmoor does do something special with it).
I’d happily go back for an all star meal of chicken livers, roast chicken, and salted caramel fondue.
Find Tramshed here