Last Monday, Ben and I went along to his commendation ceremony, a work awards do that honours good work from the past year. Due to some particularly awesome work last summer, Ben was among the chosen few this time around, so we headed along to the town hall and I got to play the proud girlfriend. As said proud girlfriend, I decided to book lunch for the two of us to celebrate in style. After a short session browsing the web, I hit upon Chop Shop in Piccadilly. A “butcher-shop inspired” restaurant, it has a very industrial look, and I think I read that it is a merging of London and New York. This, coupled with its heavy emphasis on meat, seemed to me to be the perfect choice, especially considering our upcoming trip to the Big Apple next week!
Chop Shop is a fairly compact restaurant on the bustling Haymarket. Tucked into the row of buildings between Planet Hollywood and Her Majesty’s Theatre Theatre (home to The Phantom of the Opera) When we visited it was mid-afternoon, and therefore after the lunch rush and before the dinner droves. We had the restaurant practically to ourselves, and were tucked away in our own little corner to to chat and celebrate in style. You wouldn’t have thought you were in the heart of central London!
As you can see, Chop Shop is all about the spot lighting (hence bad phone camera quality!) It goes down the industrial design route, with exposed brick, hanging metal lights and interesting pieces on the wall. It’s all very warehouse chic, but I quite liked it, and it did put us in the mood for our adventure to New York (now only 8 days away!)
The spicy sweetness of the BBQ on the tender chicken, combined with the cool saltiness of the blue cheese dip, was delicious. Ben wolfed it down. I’m not a fan of meat on the bone, so he selected a bit for me on a fork and used his fingers for the rest. The staff also provided him with a bowl of lemon water to clean his hands after, which was a nice touch.
For our main courses, Ben had the 35 Day Aged Rosemary Brushed Steak with chips and bearnaise sauce. It was cooked to a good standard and you could really taste the rosemary, which added a nice, fragrant edge.
Meet the Patty Melt Sandwich. From the top, it doesn’t look like much, just a toasted sandwich with the crusts cut off. But underneath was a dry-aged beef burger , onions and cheese. It came with chips and that dip is peppercorn mustard. And it was truly amazing! I should have taken a picture of the underside of my sandwich, as the meat juice had soaked through the underside of the bread. It was so luscious, and I enjoyed every single bite. The peppercorn mustard was amazing as well.
Finally for dessert, Ben had the Sticky Date Pudding with hot toffee sauce, and I had the Chop Shop Brownie Sundae. Ben’s Sticky Date Pudding was full of the comfort of sticky toffee pudding with less of the associated heaviness. Neither of us had tried a date pudding before, but it was pretty nice.
My brownie sundae contained fudgy brownie, vanilla gelato, warm peanut butter sauce and salted peanuts. It wasn’t bad, but personally I would have chosen to have it without the peanuts, as they put me more in mind (and taste) of a pub snack rather than a dessert. Of all the courses the dessert, to me, was the least exciting. I think that Chop Shop’s best work lies in their savoury courses. I loved my starter and main courses and Ben loved his too, but I thought by comparison the desserts weren’t quite as exciting. Maybe it’s because I have more of a sweet tooth, but they just didn’t seem quite as flavoursome as the other courses.
Of course, being in central London, Chop Shop isn’t exactly cheap. But we weren’t going there for cheap eats, we went there to celebrate together and have a nice lunch. I would certainly go again, but I would skip dessert and gorge on the savoury courses instead, which are divine.
Have you been to Chop Shop? What did you think? Which restaurants do you go to for celebratory meals?