Make no bones about it, there’s work to be done

Dirty Bones goes local, the review. 

I was sad when Les Trios Garçons shut its door. It’s not that I was a frequent visitor, but it was such a unique restaurant, place, even with out the cooking it would have been special. Stuffed with taxidermy it felt like stepping into another world. Farewell old friend you will be missed.

This space has now been stripped back, really stripped back to become the third installation of Dirty Bones. The beautiful bar remains and has been clad in copper, it makes an impressive stage for the bar staff blow torching their cocktails.

The cocktail list is impressive, everything makes me want to drink it. Especially the Dirty Mary, rimmed with Pringles.

Happy hour which is from 3-7pm Monday – Friday could be a good time to progress through the inventive and original list.

Each Dirty Bones has a signature and out east it’s Sunday roasts, served all day until they run out. There are three on offer roasted brisket and Ox cheeks, buttermilk chicken and a veggie option of roasted beetroot and mushroom with Gruyere.

If you are a party of 4 or more they have a brilliant sharing option of all three roasts, associated gravies and sides.

Each roast comes with, buttermilk mash, truffle roast potatoes, roast sweet potato, garlicky almond green beans and a smoked paprika Yorkshire pudding. I know, it’s a lot of food.

We started with the crispy fried squid with chipotle aoli, which was excellent. A generous portion (everything here is generous, you’ll need a nap afterwards), of fat, juicy pieces of squid with a light crisp batter, topped with red chillies, spring onion and chipotle mayo. Can’t fault it.
Our second starter, which was total gluttony was the cheese burger gyoza. I had to order them, such a thing shouldn’t exist, but it does.

This was served with a green chilli and bone marrow dip, which was delicious but hard to pinpoint the bone marrow. The gyoza were well cooked and tasty. I’m glad I tried them but I probably won’t bother to have them again. 

We sat with dirty plates and empty glasses for a long time. Speaking of drinks the wine list is succinct, five red, five white, three of each by the glass.

Our mains arrived, my roast is gigantic. I was excited. I started eating, excitement slowly became disappointment.

There were four generous slices of brisket but search as I might no Ox cheeks on my plate. These turn out to be what makes the gravy, so very good. The meat is good and tender but there is a lot of fat in it and the combination of a dark plate and very low lighting in the dinning room make it hard to cut round it.
The Yorkshire pudding is fabulous but has no hint of paprika, the green beans are also lovely and the almonds a great compliment.

The mash is incredibly smooth if pretty cold. The roast potatoes, well, they aren’t roast potatoes. They aren’t all crispy and crunch on the outside, they haven’t had a good beating after par boiling, before being bathed in hot fat. They have never even heard of truffle let alone met one. Not only this but they are completely burnt, the are inedible.

Now I would like to tell you about the Mac Daddy, one of the signatures dishes. A homemade burger topped with pulled beef short ribs, mac and cheese and bbc sauce, but I can’t yet. It arrived with the roast but the Mac was cold, completely cold, so it went back to the kitchen. We are told it will be back a fresh in five minutes, it isn’t. I don’t mind waiting, but don’t say it’ll take five minutes when the burger needs more than that to cook.

We satisfy ourselves with the excellent and completely indulgent cheesy truffle fries. Skinny fries covered in cheese sauce, cheddar, taleggio cheese and a liberal splash of white truffle oil.

When the Mac Daddy arrives, both the burger and pulled short rib are excellent. They sit snugly in a good brioche bun. The Mac is warm but I don’t especially like it, and I love Mac and cheese, it’s too American for me.

The manager pops over to apologises and our waiter is changed to Paul. He is everything a good waiter should be, charming, friendly and informed. I must add our first waiter was also very good.

I return from the bathroom, (very nice but two flights up), to find fresh roasters and a jug of gravy. These are much better because they aren’t burnt but they are still not great roasties.
With Paul comes dessert and because it’s impossible not to, we order the infamous banana toblerone-tella waffles.
The whole meal is over indulgence and this tips us over the edge. The banana has a perfect layer of caramel that cracks under my spoon. The blueberry jam is a good tart contrast to the sweetness everywhere else on the plate. The peanut butter ice cream and toasted nuts are delicious and I’d love more of the toblerone sauce.

We also attempt a turmeric latte but they are all out of turmeric, instead we have a matcha latte. It is revolting, I imagine this is what a swamp taste like, Paul gives a rye smile, he knows.

It was a soft launch so it was never going to be perfect and the service was fine, Paul was quite brilliant. The roast is their ‘thing’ at this branch and if you are going to do a roast it has to be brilliant, and this isn’t. What did impress me was that they were genuinely keen for feedback and took it all on board, without excuses. I think that if they they’ve tried too hard in some places, the roast is so busy, there is a lot going on, the Yorkies don’t need paprika and the potatoes covered in gravy? Is it worth adding truffle, probably not.

Our bill in the end was only for our drinks, which was generous as our starters and dessert were great. I’m keen to go back and try brunch so watch this space.

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