The reality isn't as rosy, alas. The cavernous restaurant space is oh-so-very-Shoreditch with exposed silver extraction tunnels and brick walls galore. We were wedged into a row of awkward first-daters in two-seater tables by the kitchen. We ordered 'meaty fingers' from the snacks menu while we decided on what to eat and were taken aback when rectangles of toast arrived. I can only imagine they were fried in dripping / some sort of animal fat to give them their name, but they were not the sticks of meat I was hoping for.
Black pudding and deep fried hen's egg salad was not a salad. It was two wedges of black pudding, surrounded by cubes of potato and topped with an (admittedly good) soft egg with a crispy coating. Three wispy micro-leaves and some fried red onions dotted about the plate. It's as if they ran out of salad leaves, or you know, vegetables and they thought 'sod it, just wang some potato bits on there'. The meat on a half rack of ribs were slow-cooked to a texture suitable for a geriatric, while the grilled corn on the cob was tough and on the dry side. The marinade on the ribs were incredibly salty (rather a theme for the meal) and the accompanying sauce incredibly sweet.
My main course of sweet-cured pork chop with cockles, apple and sage was so salty it was inedible. I struggled with a few bites but I had to abandon it for fear of my insides shrivelling up like a raisin. When the waitress came to ask how we were doing, I told her of my woes but declined the replacement offered. Pulled featherblade of beef (pictured) with a green hollandaise sauce was quite enormous, sloppy and served rather bizarrely in a huge lettuce cup on a wooden board. Grilled courgettes and green peppers made a boring vegetable element, and the aforementioned hollandaise managed to taste of pretty much nothing. Floury, doughy flatbreads were left untouched. Sides of 'Eastside slaw' was a cup of textured brine, for three and a half of your English pounds, though the battered potato scallops were pretty good.
I was a bit surprised to see the Salt Bomb dish appear on the bill and I had to ask our waitress to remove the offending item, which after a discussion with her manager, happened. All was not lost though I suppose - the cocktails, at least, are good. At a total of £90 including two cocktails each and a shared dessert, it's not bank busting but it did leave a disappointed (and salty. Did I mention the salt? So much salt.) taste in our mouths.
Beard to Tail
77 Curtain Road
Tel: 020 7729 2966