Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Slow and Low

As someone who seeks out the cheapest cuts of meat, dumps them into my trusty Le Cruset with a handful of herbs and a slosh of something liquid, then leaves on a low heat until morphed into melting submission most weekends - Farringdon’s newest hot spot Lazybones sounded right up my slow-cooked street. Particularly when promised that the selection of gourmet hot dogs, afore-mentioned meat and selection of spicy wings would come with a side of ‘hard’ liquor.

Despite obvious effort to tap into the hearts of Farringdon’s hip mix of media types, first impressions of Lazybones’ are not brilliant. Sat next to a large and rather incongruous for the area Sports Bar, its exterior is a bit of a let down and the interior (90s-looking graphics, loud bursts of loud yellow, fly-posted pop culture images, fairy lights and cinema-style movie screens listing the food and drinks offerings) feels unnecessarily hectic. Perhaps I’ve been ruined by an influx of effortlessly nonchalant London interiors but, for all its design quirks, it leaves me a little cold.
The same cannot be said for the staff however, who greet us like old friends and immediately set about mixing us a Maple Old Fashioned each (a interesting take on the classic which we enjoyed so much we had three).
The short menu is an enticing read of junk food classics, so we quickly order more than we can possibly eat. Ironically as they probably started cooking at the same time I ordered my first morning coffee, the dishes come thick and fast and, it has to be said, are mostly excellent.
One should never be asked to choose between marinades, so we try both the BBQ and Hot Wings – which come slathered in a sweet, sticky tangle of perfect meat and tiny bone. They are sweet/smoky/fierce/tangy respectively – and so addictive we’ve emptied both baskets without breaking a (meat) sweat. Even better is the Chilli Dog, topped with tender beef brisket laced in cumin and gentle heat. If you ever wondered why you’d slow-cook a hot dog this (a frankfurter on pork steroids) is your answer.
The Pulled Pork & Slaw Sandwich suffered in comparison to the other dishes, not to mention its own description (eight hour-cooked pork shoulder in pale ale and served with cabbage, carrot, fennel, beetroot, celeriac, radish and yoghurt slaw) The coleslaw had none of sharpness needed to cut through pork and there was a distinct lack of sauce, leaving the bun and meat to merge in a tasteless mush. Despite being loaded with cheese, skinny fries were unexciting.
Lazybones is one of those restaurants that have it almost right and, if you lived in a town other than London, you’d probably go back without giving it much though. The food was pretty good (and in some cases great), the cocktails are delicious, the bar staff are helpful without being annoying and, having said the interior was hectic, at least two thirds of that hecticness was with actual people. Alas this is London, and I fear for the lovely people behind Lazybones that it will suffer in comparison to the other (slightly) finer examples of this kind of Americanised junk food we are lucky enough to have in our capital. But, if I am totally wrong and the place becomes a hotspot of hot sauce, then I’m perfectly willing to eat my hat. As long as my hat is full of those rather sexy slow-cooked hot dogs.
Unit 5
Cowcross Street

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