Mark Hix is known for his ‘less is more’ approach to food and dining – and Tramshed is a prime example of keeping it simple and very, very good. Having opened multiple super-successful restaurants in the past few years, I had been longing to visit Tramshed for ages. My 26th birthday last summer was the perfect excuse.
We arrived early and marvelled at the amazing and famous grade-2 listed tramshed building. Designed in 1905 as an electricity generating space for the Tramway system, the original tiled walls, steel beams and concrete floors remain intact, and the tasteful décor does not detract from the personality and raw glamour of the high-ceilinged building.
Ideally located on Shoreditch’s trendy Rivington Street, Mark Hix says, “I’ve always been extremely fond of this building… It’s been a long term mission of mine to do something with it and I am delighted to have finally brought this idea to life in the building of my dreams.”
We took up a comfy sofa spot in a ‘snug’ area at the back of the restaurant, and enjoyed off-centre cocktails (~£10), like the Jaffa Caked (cognac, triple sec, clementine juice and orange bitters) and Rhubarb No Custard (ginger vodka, rhubarb puree and lemon). I was intrigued by, but not brave enough to try, the Cock Shot (vodka with chicken consommé and spices) and Bull Shot (vodka, port, beef consommé, Oxford sauce & Henderson’s relish)!
Once lightly sozzled, we were escorted to our table – the table setting was simple and rustic, and we were bang in the middle of the tramshed with great views of Hix’s chosen artworks. Taking centre stage is obviously the specially commissioned artwork by Damien Hirst that embodies the story of the menu. A Hereford cow and a cockerel are suspended in formaldehyde and displayed high above the restaurant to watch over diners as they tuck into the only two things on the menu: steak and chicken.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the 1990s Cartoon Network characters Cow and Chicken grin maniacally out of Hirst’s Beef and Chicken painting up on the mezzanine level!
So you take your pick: A whole Swainson House Farm Goosnargh roast chicken (for 2-3 to share), or massive Mighty Marbled sirloin steaks, aged in 250 million year old Himalayan salt and available in 250g, 500g, 750g or 1kg sizes. The choice was obvious for me: steak every time. We skipped starters (such as the signature dish of Yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers) and launched straight into one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten. Yep, I said it. £20 for a 250g steak, cooked to perfection, and served with chips and béarnaise, with a side of Scrumpy-fried onions. Dessert was a Credit Crunch ice cream sundae to share. Delish.
How are the price points?
Dinner for two, with cocktails, wine, two steaks and a side was around £100. But hey, it was my birthday 🙂 For a more wallet-friendly Tramshed affair, head to Rivington between 2 and 5pm to sample the brand new afternoon tea for £14.50. The classic British treat is given a twist, with a mini cock or bull sandwich, a slice of cake, and a Dalston Iced Tea cocktail. A novel idea.
Modern art lovers, trendy professionals, and those who like their food good and simple. Go for special occasions, though I wouldn’t say it’s a great date place – although impressive, the lighting is not romantic and the prices are just a tad too high to relax.
Was it THE best steak ever?
At the time, yes. But Le Relais de Venise has possibly stolen the crown since then – review coming soon…