There are two options when eating here; Bun House – a ground floor order-at-the-counter-jobby with a limited menu of steamed buns (think ‘quick bite to eat’) or Tea Room – a hidden downstairs dining room which is much calmer and a whole lot sexier.
Here, the menu is more extensive and features plenty of offal. The setting is unusual; there’s an old school record player playing vintage tunes and neon lights give the place a green glow.
We start with duck tongue fries (£4.80) which are certainly not for the faint hearted, mainly because you have to spit out an unexpected bone from the middle of the deep fried tongue. Duck tongues have a bone?! The flavour is good however; nice an irony in that offaly way.
“Garlicky wings” (£6.80) deliver on their promised garlic flavour. The meat is plump and juicy with a soggy rather than crisp skin which is strangely comforting.
From the coal grill skewers section, chicken gizzards (£2.50) and hearts (£2.50) are great if you like offal, not so if you don’t. They are well spiced with a mild heat which tickles my throat yet doesn’t overpower the offal.
Thin strips of rolled up pork neck (£2.50) have a mixture of rare and well done parts. The result is a blend of texture and flavour which is most delicious.
Butter coke trotter (£9.80) comes with plastic gloves, the idea being you tool up and attack the trotter with your fingers. It’s brilliant and lots of fun; we extract the flabby pig from the bone removing any cartilage and gristly bits. It’s messy stuff.
Lacey dumplings (£7.80) come attached to a crisp pancake which is unusual. The dumplings themselves are soft and stodgy which is just how I like ’em, while the pancake bits, all broken up, add texture.
It’s worth visiting Tea Room just for the sugar skin Ibercio char siu (£14.80) which is literally just slices of pig fat. I have never had fat quite like it. Heart attack-inducing heaven.
So full from that, we can’t quite manage pudding, but we leave more than satisfied. The food at Tea Room is interesting and unusual with more offal then you see on most menus. I felt like I was doing a Bushtucker trial, only the result was a lot more appetising.
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant