— July 16, 2012 —
In this column, Ananda Pellerin and Neil Wissink uncover the secret pleasures of the gastronome
Damien Hirst Installation Photography by Neil WissinkTaking a page out of Burger & Lobster’s book of straight-up menu building, chicken & steak spot Tramshed is restauranteur and chef Mark Hix's latest venture. With only chicken and steak on offer, your choices are limited, but the idea is to do one or two things right. Tucked into Rivington Street, their east London-meets-The City location, plus Hix's celebrated status, means Tramshed's 150+ dining room is always and already bustling, just a few weeks after the doors first opened. The Grade II listed building was once used as an electricity generating facility for the Tramway system. Now, the revamped warehouse's ample space and high ceilings are anchored by a specially commissioned glass tank installation by Damien Hirst, featuring a Hereford cow and cockerel preserved in formaldehyde. In the basement, the Cock ‘n’ Bull gallery rotates exhibitions every six weeks, and also has a curated library.
A mood of relaxed conviviality is easily established at our table, with help from the sprawling leather booth, the dining room's expansive atmosphere, and our expertly-mixed pre-dinner cocktails. The Hix Fix– a combination of two Julian Temperley cherries (from the Somerset Cider Brandy Company) in eau de vie, and two glasses of champagne – is a tried and tested favourite first made popular at Hix's Fish House restaurant in Lyme Regis. Meanwhile the Twitter and Bisted is our delightful drink discovery of the night. A combination of pink grapefruit with Campari and Pedro Ximenez sherry, it will appeal to anyone who loves bold, sharp, citrusy combinations.
"A mood of relaxed conviviality is easily established at our table, with help from the sprawling leather booth, the dining room's expansive atmosphere, and our expertly-mixed pre-dinner cocktails"
The food menu is arranged informally and to encourage sharing plates of starters and mains. With four of us ordering starters en masse, we were first confronted with whipped chicken livers served with a delightfully oversized Yorkshire pudding, which you heartily rip apart with your fingers. For the mains, we had a “mighty marbled” sirloin from Hannan Meats, who supply Tramshed, and who age their steaks for a minimum of five weeks in a Himalayan salt chamber. All steaks are served in 250g cuts, up to a kilo. Alongside this was the spring chicken, which came impaled on a spiked ceramic serving dish and presented with its feet straight up in the air. Two large bowls of crispy, well-cut chips were placed in the centre of our table, and are always served, our waiter told us, as a “matter of course” at Tramshed. Ending on a very high note indeed, our dessert of apple and gooseberry pie was both tart and sweet, with a carefully textured filling. And while the menu is simple, Tramshed isn’t cheap, so it’s worth mentioning that they also do agreeably priced take away – steak sandwiches, chicken and chips, steak and chicken salads and, luckily, even the apple pie.
Neil and Ananda visited Tramshed on Wednesday 11 July at 7:30pm.
Text by Ananda Pellerin
Ananda Pellerin is a London-based writer and Neil Wissink is a visual artist also based in London. More from The Hunger here, and contact The Hunger here.