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Tramshed Restaurant

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by Sandra Boga (subscribe)
Freelance writer living in North London
Published August 22nd 2012
Damien Hirst Sculpture at Tramshed
Copyright Damien Hirst, 2012.

As a general rule, I never order chicken in a restaurant. I tend to see it as the "vanilla option" and with chicken or steak being the only two options at Tramshed, its safe to say my sights were firmly tapped into my carnivorous instincts - the cow. However on entering the grade-2 listed building, I clasp my eyes on the eye-catching and seemingly gravity defying chicken. Served upside down, propped up with its claws in the air, the crisp yet succulent looking whole roast chicken instantly won me over.

Thankfully, the simple and concise menu, which minimizes choice distress and food envy, allows you to try one of each of the animals on offer and adequately share them with your dinner date. This is what has made Mark Hix's trendy chain of restaurants appealing, with its no nonsense approach of simply; British grub done well.

The preselected starter option may also tempt you, with a set price of £7.50 per person that consists of 3 separate dishes including a giant Yorkshire pudding served with whipped chicken livers. But the main event for me is the "cock and bull"; also the title of the aptly named Damien Hirst display which is dominant, yet not too protruding as it suspends over your head.

For mains, perfectly pink moyallon beef is served with no frills on a wooden serving board, béarnaise sauce and a huge knife for self-carving. Then the chicken arrives; almost stealing the show. Although a little trickier to carve, this food (porn) star definitely delivered on taste too. Both are served with "Moorish" chips in a generous easy to grab bowl.

As with Hix's other eateries, your table will never be short of an array of British condiments, and there's no shame here in ordering ketchup instead of the more pc "tomato sauce". Another nice touch, again a Hix motif, is wine availability in carafes, as well as glass or bottle, adding to the more laid back ambience.

My only nag would be the sheer heat inside the restaurant, perhaps generated by the concentration of roasting ovens or its bid to hark back to the building's original purpose- as an electricity generator for a local tramline. We were thankfully able to cool down with a frosted beer mug of London Fields lager as well as the yummy, fruit packed berry sorbet, if you manage to have room for dessert.

Finally, the chirpy and attentive service nicely rounded off the experience. One waiter, on overhearing I was baffled at the toilets usage of udders to decanter soap and hand cream exclaimed, "You're lucky they weren't a pair of balls."
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Why? Great for lovers of fowl and cow
When: noon-10pm Mon-Wed; noon-11pm Thur, Fri; noon-10.30pm Sat; noon-9.30pm Sun
Phone: 020 7749 0478
Where: 32 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3LX
Cost: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £80
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