Is it a butcher? Is it a restaurant? Actually it is both.
Hill & Szrok you might know as the cosy Broadway Market butcher-cum-restaurant on Broadway Market.
Its no-reservations table is invariably full of an evening, a fact that has always made me wonder if I will ever set foot inside.
But no more. For the team behind Hill & Szrok have opened a new pub and dining room in what was The Three Crowns near Old Street roundabout.
In keeping with a seemingly increasing trend for nose to tail eating, the team uses up every bit of the animal. The menu changes throughout the day as Alex Szrok, the chef, and his team work their way through the cuts.
All the meat is slow-grown, free range and taken entirely from sustainable farms across England.
The menu is small: a handful of starters, mains and sides, with a few specials on the blackboard that hangs above the open kitchen.
But we found the select choice ample. The smokiness of the roasted romanesco and tang of the pickled radicchio cut through the rich, soft goat’s curd beautifully.
Mussels made another welcome deviation from the meat theme, although they were slightly overpowered by the accompanying pancetta.
For mains we were delighted to have taken the waiter’s advice and ordered what the restaurant does best: big cuts of meat.
We shared a T-bone steak, which gives you both the sirloin and tender fillet cuts. It was easily the best steak either of us has had in the UK – juicy, flavoursome, pink the whole way along the cuts and falling apart in the mouth – and it rivalled any we had tried in South America.
Though the restaurant stands out for its meat, a great deal of attention was paid to the details, which makes a huge difference. The chips were spot on: piping hot and crispy, served with aioli, and the spring greens were fresh, flavoursome and nicely seasoned.
Vegetarians need not be deterred by the butcher’s reputation. The fish and vegetarian options were meals in themselves, not just back ups.
The sourcing and the quality of the ingredients are a cut above the rest. The publicity promised “a no fuss, maximum quality approach”. It achieved exactly that.
Hill & Szrok
8 East Rd, Old St, N1 6AD