Blacklock: The London Chophouse
Updated: Mar 20
It's everything you want from a chophouse. Quality, succulent steaks, well-executed sides and sauces, great wine pairings, and hearty desserts. And most astonishingly of all, a price point that elicits a proper smile and a nod of approval at the end of the meal.
Except for the one in Shoreditch, the other 3 locations of Blacklock are built at basement level. The descent towards the dining floor mimics the gradual shedding of appearances and social restrictions that one has on ground level. Particularly when the hum of happy diners and the feel of put-together nonchalance emanating from the bare brick walls, bronze-lit bars, and leather seating encourage you to kickback and relax. The moment you reach the dining floor, you get the thought: this is going to be good.
On the dining floor, you will notice a number of floor-to-ceiling black columns that break up the room. Chalked onto each column are the types of cuts served at Blacklock - which includes lamb rump, porterhouse, sirloin, prime rib, and smoked bacon chops - and the weights they come in. The display allows diners to choose steaks fit for their party size; 200g-250g of boneless steak per person is usually recommended. With a bit of maths, you can work out the size of cuts and number of cuts you can try out. Weights that have sold out are neatly crossed out in real-time - no one wants ordering disappointment after all.
The lamb rump and the prime rib are definitely must-orders if you are a party of 4-5. Tender, flavourful, and meaty - everything you want from lamb and beef steaks - they will not disappoint.
Time to get saucy
If you order the lamb rump, you will have to pair it with the 'green sauce'. It is a garlicky sauce similar to a Chimichurri. The freshness from the herbs and the kick of garlic are a perfect pair for the earthy, gamey lamb.
Of course, there is the classic Béarnaise that pairs beautifully with a tender piece of beef - thick and creamy with an acidic touch, it will bring you to steak heaven.
One item on the sauce list that always catches people's attention is the 'garlic bone marrow'. Use it to top off your 'beef dripping chips' or a slice of steak, and Bob's your uncle. It'll be the moment you realise how simply beautiful steaks can be.
On the side
Chips chips chips. That's pretty standard if you're at a steakhouse. At Blacklock, chips are fried with beef dripping. Need I say more? No, it's going to be your staple side here, that's doubtless. Though, if you fancy something different, the '10 hour ash roasted sweet potato' is a great choice. It's a wintery warmth with a smoky finish that works perfectly with some prime rib.
Next up, greens. To cut through the meat and add a bit of balance to the meal. The 'barbecued baby gem & anchovy dripping' is smoky and almost nutty which goes very well with gamey meats such as lamb and beef. The 'kale & parmesan' is soft, mellow, and billowy. The light airy texture is a nice break away from the sturdier meats.
The concise but varied selection of sides at Blacklock ensures that your meats can be complemented in every way. If you are dining with a large group, it is a great opportunity to give all the sides a try.
Bring out the tannin
Speaking of pairings, given all the red meats available, it is natural to reach for a glass of red. At Blacklock, the wine list is as succinct and diverse as its food menu. Preferring white wines, I usually avoid tannin-heavy reds that can be recognised from the strong drying sensation on your tongue when you drink red wines without protein-heavy food aka meat. The Primitivo from Puglia available at Blacklock is a soft red that is smooth to drink and a nice complement to the meats. Though, wines are a personal preference. If you are ever in doubt or would like to try something new, the servers are very ready to give recommendations and a taste before you order.
Now that the main parts of the meal have been covered, it is time to talk about desserts.
The 'white chocolate cheesecake' is delectable. One may be put off by the idea of white chocolate, which usually connotes sickly sweetness for a dark chocolate loyalist such as myself. However, this cheesecake made it to my list of exceptions. Neither too sweet nor too heavy, it comes deconstructed in a bowl - a pile of creaminess with its broken-up biscuit 'base' tucked and hidden like treasures to be found. I wouldn't mind grabbing a spoon and digging for gold in a bowl like this anytime.
For those who may have went over their limit with the meats and sides - totally understandable and indeed possible, I've tried - there is always the 'fruit crumble with ice cream' that is a lighter alternative if you are still craving a sweet finish. The end.
It is everything you want in a chophouse: simple, to the point, fair-priced, and done well. It is a rare find.
It's been sounding great so far hasn't it? It sounds even better when I tell you that Blacklock is also very fair-priced. There are many great chophouses in London that are capable of delivering quality meats, but few are able to do so at Blacklock prices. Chophouses do not need to be pretentious, and Blacklock champions this. The few times I've been to Blacklock with party sizes ranging from 2 to 6, the bill per person has come to £30-40. Considering the quality and quantity of food, drinks, good vibes and service provided, it is worth every pound.
Blacklock is the quintessential chophouse you would want to add to your list of go-to establishments for the right occasions. With 4 bookable locations in Covent Garden, City, Soho, and Shoreditch - and another opening soon in Canary Wharf - it is the perfect spot to unwind with friends, or have something more laidback with colleagues or a first date. It'll be a missed steak to not go.