Saturday, 27 July 2013

Licky Chop

Licky Chop @LickyChops
Climpsons Arch, Arch 374, Helmsley Place London E8 3SB

I love the summer when the weather is like this (touch wood, sorry if I've jinxed it!). Eating Al fresco, and especially barbecue, really increases my enjoyment of social eating. However, most of the best BBQ joints in the city, like Pitt Cue Co, are inside. Bar a few pop up's and street food, there isn't enough to satiate my desires. 
Enter Licky Chop with their two wood fired oven behemoths. While it must be soo tempting to make a meat centric menu, LC give pride in place to some incredible vegetable dishes, as well as fish, and lesser used, but great tasting, meat cuts such as lamb belly, and onglet.

I'm sure my Mum will be pleased to read, the broccoli was the most stand out dish I've had, so far, at Licky Chop, no more pushing it to the side of my plate. Paired with pickled mustard, looking somewhat like a scattering of fish eggs, yogurt, and almonds (£7.50), it's a combination of flavours and textures that really come together. Chargrilling the broccoli, gives it that unexpected 'meatiness' when the heads char. If you don't like this I feel sorry for your palate.

Next up was the salmon and courgette (£12) another great dish. The thick fillet of confit salmon with incredibly crispy skin was fantastic. I could chew on a lot of that skin just as a snack. The smashed courgette & lemon zest was epitome of summer freshness. LC is going with the whole 'small plates' theme, it's good to get a few different choices, and share amoungst friends, to get your monies worth otherwise in 3 or more plates can become quite pricey. That said, there is not many places like this, a tucked away location, few seats, sunshine, good cocktails, makes for a perfect relaxed evening or weekend, that breaks away from the 'in-eat-out' culture of normal restaurants

It wasn't long before I was back to try out some more of the ever changing menu. This time was a few dishes that weren't on last time. I went for the butternut squash with grape, and goat's cheese with sprinkle of pumpkin seeds (£7.50). Again the grilling giving different dimension to the butternut squash. At £7.50, the portion size is a bit tight, could have done with more than a couple of chunks.

The lamb belly with aubergine and flatbread (£14), was average, still good, but didn't hit the heights of what else I've had, and that's coming from a predominately meat eater. Probably due the fact there is very little meat on this cut. The lamb crackling and fat tastes great, but not for this price. With a name like 'Licky Chop' it's a surprise when ever I've been down there hasn't been any pork chops on the menu. Some Old Spot chops with burnt apple would work well with the wood grill. 

The melon sorbet with prosecco (£4.50), was a refreshing palate cleanser plus, and a great way to end the meal. In this heat would come down just for this.
If you haven't been, grab some friends, have some great food and drinks. You won't be disappointed. I recommend the veg and fish dishes from what I've had. Yet to go back for the steak, but no doubt using this technique it'll be good.  

Licky Chop open Thursday evenings through to Sunday


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