Chop Shop is based on that tourist infested bit of Haymarket that I rarely visit – you know, the road with Planet Hollywood and Tiger Tiger on it. The perfect antidote to all that naff-ness is Chop Shop, a newish restaurant backed by American restaurant group Altamarea and fronted by a lovely chap called Will Guess. I’d heard great things about the food, so when I received an email inviting me along (don’t shoot!), I accepted with very little trepidation.
The ground floor dining room was a fairly long and narrow space; it had that ever-familiar warehouse feel, with plenty of exposed brick and piping. There was even a wall filled with butchers’ knives sticking out of it. The menu was a tad confusing; you could choose from snacks & bites, jars, planks and crocs and that was just for starters.
Confusion aside the food was seriously tasty. The Chop Shop scratchings (£3) were big old buggers (which happened to look a little bit like brains) and actually tasted of pig – so often these days scratchings taste of nothing. The pulled pork sausage roll (£5) was as great as it sounds, with buttery pastry and soft, sweet pork.
The crispy hot wings (£6) were perfectly cooked and the Cashel Blue cheese dip was brilliant, but they could have been drenched in a little more of their fiery sauce – I like my wings dripping. The cottage pasta pie (£10), which was a mix of basil gnocchi, braised oxtail and a creamy cheese sauce was ruddy lovely – proper comfort food.
Now I love a good burger if you hadn’t noticed, but the patty melt sandwich (£12) was actually better than most burgers I’ve eaten in London recently – and that’s saying something. Rather than a soft squishy bun, the dry-aged patty was sandwiched between toasted caraway bread, meaning it still soaked up all the beefy juices yet it retained its texture. It’s worth going to Chop Shop just for that.
The 300g rosemary brushed beef rib chop (£26) was everything you could hope for from a great steak; juicy, tender and full of flavour. The fat, and there was plenty of it, just melted away as you bit into it which really added to the intense meaty taste.
I could find very little to fault about the food on offer at Chop Shop – a lot of it was some of the tastiest I’ve eaten in a very long time. Match that with friendly and efficient service and you’ve got yourself a restaurant that’s worth going back to. That patty melt sandwich is wasted on the tourists.
I dined as a guest of the restaurant