From the 17th to the 19th century, London was rife with chop houses. These classic British eateries shunned fashionable continental cooking trends and stuck to supplying a glut of meat and booze to an exclusively male audience. It was a winning formula.
Nowadays, chop houses get a rough deal. The stubbornly British classics have fallen by the way side and creative street-food-fusion-paleo-sharing-plates in pop-up format have taken centre stage. People want fads not feasts. Luckily, a few places remind us that those three centuries of history beats three weeks at Boxpark.
With its recent revamp comes a new mission statement: A menu focused on traditional ingredients with a modern spin and a commitment to British produce from local suppliers. You only age your steak for 28 days? You uncivilised animal. Some of the grass-fed Aberdeen Angus beef here has seen the best of 65 days, dry aged. That’s longer than your last relationship.
The service was inconsistent at times and the sommelier was shaky, but come on, the view! We’re not saying that if you haven’t eaten lobster and Chateaubriand while overlooking all of London’s monuments that you haven’t lived – oh no, wait, actually we are saying that. We can see this place being even more of a winner when the external French windows open in summer and al fresco no longer means hypothermia.
The oysters were fantastically fresh, served without augmentation to savour their oceanic flavours. The Chateaubriand was among some of the best we have tried and the accompanying bone marrow gravy was just the right side of rich, avoiding any hint of coagulated marrow oiliness.
There’s a small selection of cocktails under the alias ‘Enliveners’. Order the Earl Grey tea for your date for a delicate but boozy brew of Jensen London dry, tea, chase rhubarb vodka, lemon and mint served up in a kitsch, but cute, glass teapot. Slip some into your manlier tumbler glass when no one’s looking. There is also a solid and very extensive wine selection worth perusing. It’s filled with some eye-catching Bordeaux and Burgundy selections.
The à la Carte menu is surprisingly reasonable given the location and the quality of meats on show, making this more than just a special occasion spot.
It’s not zeitgeist-defining cuisine, but this is traditional British done well. For a place that could very much get by for its Instagrammable view alone, the team at BWCH are by no means letting quality slip. There’s nothing like summer outdoor dining overlooking the city landscape to remind you how special London is.
Catch-ups with out-of-towners and showing off to international visitors.