Mark Hix’s Tramshed has been long on the horizon, but seems to have been worth the wait. There have been battles with residents and the council to do with licensing (who moves to Shoreditch and complains about late bars?) but once approved, came together rapidly and on Friday night was in full swing on its third day.
The premise is chicken and steak. Quite strange bedfellows ordinarily, but even more so in the suspended Damien Hirst commission towering overhead; featuring a chicken and a cow in formaldehyde. Having since seen the exhibition at the Tate Modern, I've learned a little more on Hirst's work, and it’s certainly an attraction and conversation piece. I personally love it but can understand the doubters.
Art blog this is not, however (just as well, as that’s about all I have), and so back to the scran. At £25 and midway through a balmy pub crawl, the chicken and chips for two seemed a perfect stopover on our night. The chicken itself is served impaled and the tray collects the juices. I suspect a mass rotisserie somewhere churning out hundreds of these poor dears, but they are free range and so probably quite pleased to end up in such a striking environment.
It’s extremely tasty, very juicy and tender , and you even get the claws, should you wish! The chips were great, I think double cooked, very crunchy and thin – and great with the herby chicken juices. A simple, honest and delicious dish. You do carve your own, but this was actually quite fun.
Drinks-wise, many of the wonderful Mark’s Bar favourites are on the menu – but at the same prices which somehow seem a little steep here. North of £11 for a negroni in Shoreditch (as an aperitif at dinner) seems punchy even though I think nothing of paying it in Mark's Bar. I'm guessing he doesn’t want to diminish his value in W1.
The room is fun; it’s buzzy, youthful and sceney already. As well as the Hirst, there are a few more of the modern art oddities Hix is fond of, and there is an admirable feeling of spaciousness. Not just because of the 50+ foot ceilings, but with table spacing too. Tramshed’s own bar is impressive too, running the length of the room with plenty of seats.
|groovy, homely toilet|
Light Bar comparisons are obvious, but this is a far slicker operation. It’s not necessarily the cosiest place, but will be a great option for big, boozy group dinners with friends in an area where demand is always growing. I probably need to go back and try the steak (5 week aged sirloin only, aged in a ‘Himalayan salt chamber’) – and get stuck into the wine list too. I had Hix’s own Oyster Ale which deep and complex, but ultimately became a little too sluggish in quantity.
So overall a great new addition. Lots of fun, a distinctive environment, passion for the space and finish, and thankfully, a unique offering from Hix’s other establishments, keeping those accusations of chain-like expansion at bay.
Food – 8/10
Drink – 7/10
Service - 9/10 (quick and keen)
Value – 8/10 (good, easy on the cocktails perhaps!)
Tap water tales – 4/10 (the classic two-option feint, so had to invoke the third, tedious)