The Coal Shed | One Tower Bridge
The Coal Shed is probably my most recommended restaurant to those looking for a special dining experience. Loved not just by Brightonians, they’ve received accolades from the Observer Monthly Food Awards, Brighton’s Best Restaurants and praise across national publications.
In the last year, I’ve booked to go with Brandon maybe two or three times, and heartbreakingly had to cancel for whatever reason. So, when I received an invitation* to a blogger event at the brand new flagship restaurant at One Tower Bridge, London, I was over the moon.
The Coal Shed, One Tower Bridge
The London restaurant is considerably larger than its Brighton sister, but still retains the ability of oozing sex appeal through interiors. Warm woods, intimate lighting and a very handsome bar create an almost speakeasy-style vibe. But this kind of secret won’t be kept for long around here, in no small part due to fact that the restaurant is entirely glass-fronted.
Set over two floors, the upper floor comprises additional seating and a private dining area, complete with a bespoke piece of art taking pride of place. Created as a nod to the menu’s unity of steak and seafood, the piece is made up of tiny images reflecting fire and water.
Before jumping into the main event, we were treated to nibbles and tasters from the lunch menu, including deep fried iberico stuffed olives with blood orange, crispy beef tendons, beef tartare crisps with truffle, sourdough bread with whipped beef fat (divine) and a sample of beef chilli. I surprised myself in enjoying everything that was put in front of me, not usually too fond of olives and fairly squeamish around meat tartare, although I wouldn’t go out of my way to order the tendons.
Our party of 10 decided on individual starters before indulging in what The Coal Shed does best – sharing plates. Having recently dipped my toe into the saltwater pool of scallops (geddit?), I chose the Orkney Scallop to begin. Propped on discs of celeriac and doused in seaweed, tarragon and lemon, the plump scallops were zesty and refreshing, particularly after the rather rich snacks we’d already eaten through.
And then came the magic as plate after plate swooped in around us, filling up like the tables of Hogwarts’ Great Hall. A sharing chateaubriand, Moroccan spiced goat, seafood platter and impressive slab of monkfish took centre stage, followed by all of the sides. I’m still kicking myself for not getting a good photo of the chateaubriand steak, so you’ll have take my word that it was as succulent and flavoursome as I hoped it would be. The crowning jewel of the night though had to be the spiced goat, which was tender and fragrant, accompanied with yoghurt, chickpeas and flatbread, and I have to say that the oysters from the seafood platter were the best I’ve had so far.
As for the sides, it’s imperative that you know they are not to be underestimated at any cost. I’ve found myself talking of the truffle mac and cheese and creamed spinach ever since my first visit, and I was not disappointed with my reunion.
Believe it or not, after all of these dishes, and a whole lot of wine, we still had room for dessert. A good thing too, because as soon as I saw ‘Custard Tart’ on the menu, I knew I had to have it. Paired with pumpkin, nutmeg and creme fraîche, it was the perfect, warming dessert for this time of year.
An additional ‘Sweets’ menu is on offer for those of you that find you often struggle to make room for the final course, featuring tiny little delights such as mini 99s, apple and cinnamon doughnuts and their special ‘chocolate coal’.
If you’ve gotten this far and have any doubts about my feelings for The Coal Shed, then there is something seriously wrong with one of us.
Apart from being, to this day, the best steak I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating, I love how they manage to strike a balance between casual and fine dining. It’s the sort of place you can stop by for a £15 steak lunch (no, really – check their set menus), or go all out and spoil yourself with the works. I’m pleased to see a Brighton gem expanding into one of the biggest culinary cities, and can’t wait to hear what people make of it.
The Coal Shed will be hosting an exclusive Brighton Rocks event at One Tower Bridge on Friday 26th January, featuring a collaboration with Brighton’s very own Michael Bremner. Five courses, four chefs and outstanding dishes are to be expected – if you’d like more information about booking, have a looky over here.