THE COAL SHED
ONE TOWER BRIDGE, SE1
WHAT AND WHERE? The original Coal Shed is in Brighton, but this steak and seafood sibling has fled the seaside for the Thames bankside. Its not the easiest to find, down a side street beyond the Ivy Brasserie an the new Bridge Theatre, but its worth the search.
WHATS THE DEAL? The lunch set menu doubles up as a theatre menu and its stonking value for money; £15 for one course, £20 for two courses and £24 for three courses. But if you want a steak – and you probably will, as its That Kind of Place – itll be an extra £3 on top.
Cuts of meat at The Coal Shed
WHATS ON THE MENU? Three choices for each course – covering meat, fish and veggie options – and two specials, usually a cheeseburger or fish and chips on a Friday.
WHATS THE BEST? The chicken terrine is more like a cold cuts stack topped off with a thin layer of crispy skin. The lighter bream ceviche starter, meanwhile, is kicked into gear by some jalapenos. For mains, theres a delicate fillet of gurnard on offer thats upstaged by its tender octopus accompaniment. If you stump up for steak, choose the smokey bone marrow sauce and, whatever youre having, dont miss out on the knockout beef dripping chips.
ROOM FOR DESSERT? Id geared up for a banana parfait, but there were juicy apples in, so I had a trio of those instead. Sweet sliced ones on top of a too dense sponge, a sorbet, little shaved balls. Better is the trio of ever-changing Coal Shed sweets (a mango marshmallow, coffee fudge and truffle), or Neals Yard cheese with truffled honey butter and hunks of nutty bread.
Seabass with clams and mussels
IS IT VEGGIE FRIENDLY? Veggies can warm up with a cauliflower, truffled soup, then cool down again with a very spring-like assortment of ricotta, lemony veg and tarragon.
THE VERDICT… Dont be fooled by the touristic surrounds; expect honest surf and turf with mounds of buttery veg.
ONE MORE THING… Flirt with the waiting staff until you get a truffle. Indistinguishable from a piece of coal,, its so soft that it melts in the mouth. Disturbing, yet sensational.