Based on the concept of the Hebrew phrase ’לפתוח שולחן’ or ‘opening a table’ to their guests, The Black Cow is a venture from chef team Shiri Kraus (ex Palomar and The Barbary) and Amir Batito (ex The Machneyuda Group), situated in the recently renovated Hawley Wharf Market at Camden Lock.
Pulling inspiration from a global pool and billed as 'halfway between New York and Tel Aviv', The Black Cow has a spicy cocktail of influences. Mix together an American steakhouse-style grill, sharing plates, Middle Eastern flavours and a confident, playful approach to flavour and you're getting the idea.
Starters: The cutesy-named Nomnoms, crispy whitebait with chilli, oregano, and cured lemon, were perfectly cooked to a golden crunch yet retaining a soft, delicate interior. A word to the more squeamish diner; whitebait are small fish traditionally, as here, fried and eaten whole. They are also delicious, very moreish and would be a great snack with a glass of wine or a beer as well as a starter to wake up your palate and prepare it for some interesting and potentially new flavours.
We had these with Kohlslow, a kohlrabi-based coleslaw, with crunchy apple, and Husky, a pile of tasty corn ribs with salted crumble and feta cream.
Main: Yeshanim Rump Steak and Home Fries. Grass-fed rump steak is dry aged for 45 days, then prepared and dressed with Middle Eastern inspired flavours and a burnt herb oil. It is then served on a bed of sage, rosemary and thyme which is flamed tableside; whilst this is impressively theatrical, it also engages your senses and focuses anticipation. The fragrant smoke drifting past recalls lazy holiday barbecues and my mouth was watering before the steak hit my plate. A portion of home fries with sweet harissa added another deft layer of flavour.
The Black Cow also serve onglet, one of my favourite cuts of beef, served the same way; I'm going back to try that, plus the Breaking Bread starter/side - home-made cornbread with lamb butter. How good does that sound?
Dessert: We rounded off our meal with with The Black Cow’s signature dessert, Danny: a chocolate cigar with vanilla custard and frozen raspberries. I have a history of not getting as far as dessert (shameful, I know) but this was balanced enough to keep me eating - a carefully considered mix of textures and flavours, sweet but not overly so. To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of the Hawley Wharf redevelopment itself; the view from Camden Lock is now more like Canary Wharf, and it feels too sterile for my beloved grungy Camden. Despite that, The Black Cow have some very accomplished cooking going on and are having fun with their flavours, so I'll be back to play very soon.
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Deputy Editor, Chatting Food London: Amanda David
Amanda David is a freelance food writer specialising in London’s restaurants, bars, exhibitions and events. She is the Events Editor for London Cheapo and a regular contributor to Palate Magazine.
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