Black and Blue, Borough
Market on London's Bankside
In case you're a visitor to London,
Bankside is a vibrant area of
redevelopment. There are various
chief of which are Southwark
of Shakespeare's Globe
Theatre and Vinopolis, city of wine.
For foodies the principal attraction
is Borough Market, where a traders
and producers come up to town
all over the country, bringing
with them all sorts of delicacies
and delights. This in turn has
attracted a number of restaurants
to open in the area, notably
Rasted and Fish, recently joined
and Blue, the flagship of a small
chain of upmarket steakhouses.
Why Black and Blue? Because they
will cook your steak any way
you want from charcoal black
blue. This makes a change from
having the chef decide to cook
the thing barely at all.
The secret of a good steak house
is to keep it simple and to use
first class ingredients and this
is what they're doing at Black
and Blue. The menu is straightforward,
a few starters (some of which have
been designed to double as bar
snacks), some home-made hamburgers,
various steak cuts, and other grills
including fish and lamb. It's a
surefire recipe for success, as
the large, buzzy crowd of city
diners on a cold midweek evening,
The site of the restaurant is shoehorned
into various old Victorian railway
arches (we were only aware of one
train during the evening!). The
conversion was done in a most imaginative
way with much use of glass, including
a transparent lift that whisks
you up to the first floor which
houses the lavatories. I descended,
surveying my fellow diners from
above and feeling very much the
deus ex machina.
I'll begin with the service: very
slick and professional, by what
appeared to be an all girl cast.
Our young lady had only arrived
from Slovakia two weeks previously.
She was very professional and her
English was perfect. She told me
that she had attended the Hilton
Hotel Academy in Bratislava. What
an asset to London's catering industry
are such young people from Eastern
Smoked salmon and scrambled egg
is a good test of the kitchen.
The salmon was generous and had
no trace of those veins of fatness
which ruin the texture of much
farmed salmon. The scrambled egg
was a bit overdone for my guest
who prefers his to have a more
creamy texture. Chargrilled King
prawns with garlic butter were
really sensational, like mini lobsters
with a fantastic flavour. Both
starter and main course portions
are nothing if not generous here.
A glass of house white was pleasant
enough without being particularly
In the interests of research, we
ordered a "naked" hamburger,
Sans bun, Sans garnish, just to
see what they are like. We had
been told that the hamburger topped
with foie gras had to be experienced.
To be strictly accurate, it's topped
with pâté de foie
gras, which begins to melt into
the hamburger, quite delicious.
The burger itself had that texture
and flavour that only home-made
burgers seem to possess.
We tried a rib eye steak which
came out just as ordered, nicely
charred on the outside and very
pink within. I had the rack of
lamb, from which each cutlet is
thrown on the grill separately.
It came served very impressively
on quite a substantial wooden chopping
board, together with a serrated
blade so large you’d probably
get arrested if found with one
on the street! The lamb came with,
amongst other things, a very sweet
grilled red pepper.
The only thing I find a little
tedious with steakhouses is their
enthusiasm for salads which extend
with minimal variation from course
to course. There was a huge undressed
salad on my chopping board, and
oil and vinegar was brought to
the table. But how can one properly
dress the salad on a flat chopping
board, without getting into a rather
an unholy mess? And I'd already
had a similar but smaller salad
with my prawns. I was beginning
to feel like a caterpillar.
We shared an Apple Norman, a very
delicious kind of apple tart almost
like a clafoutis, (don’t
be put off by the name!) and a
plate of excellent cheese from
the nearby Neal’s Yard cheese
monger. Their Lancashire cheese
was terrific – so different
from the soapy supermarket stuff.
The cost of your meal: around £30
to £40 a head depending on
your choice of drinks. The menu
with prices is on their website,
Black & Blue Borough
Market - Dine Online highly recommended
for unreconstructed carnivores.
It is part of a small chain, so
here is the contact information
for all the restaurants.
Black & Blue – (www.blackandbluerestaurants.com) Open: Every day 12 noon – 11pm
Belsize Park - 205-207 Haverstock
Hill, London NW3. T: 020 7443 7744 Borough Market - 1-2 Rochester
Walk, London SE1. T: 020 7357 9922
Gloucester Road - 105 Gloucester
Road, London SW7. T: 020 7244 7666
Kensington - 215-217 Kensington
Church Street, London W8. T: 020
Wigmore Street - 90-92 Wigmore
Street, London W1. T: 020 7486
Restaurant Reviews – The Best Of
The Dine Online Restaurant Reviews 2001
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