Dirty Bones / Soho, London


Kingly Court has pretty much completed it's transformation from small boutique store courtyard into restaurant hub, enticing the constant barrage of shoppers that traipse Oxford Street and the cobbled foot canals around Carnaby Street. And it has also bled on to its namesake street next door, which has recently welcomed the banging Dishoom amongst its new food recruits.

Dirty Bones is one of the newer openings, perched on the third floor of the Court, the second branch of the 'New York inspired comfort food' peddlers. With burgers already firmly ensconced in London and the proliferation of upmarket fried chicken places and embellished hot doggeries gathering hella steam, it must seem like an investor no-brainer have somewhere that combines them all in one place. Remember when the only place that did it was TGI Friday's? The menu, developed with help from a former Fat Duck experimental kitcheneer, keeps the options in each section concise - a way of showcasing choice but in a single-concept restaurant style. Canny.

Apart from the delightfully non-sensical carrot and pickled onion garnish on the otherwise barren plate, the patty is the most noteworthy part of the burger: Well seared, with striking pink, soft centre. A fair whack more salt would have been ideal, but it was decent. The beer cheese you can optionally add is interesting, the creamy gooey texture is spot on but would be better served smothered over the top of the patty than offering a squidgy nest to it. The flavour is less successful though, the beer tempering the cheesiness and supplanting an odd savoury bitterness in its place.  

It seems odd to bemoan something that was a rarity but a few years ago, but so prevalent is the brioche bun now that there are some less than stellar versions of the potentially enchanting bready container out there. And this somewhat heavy, dry example is one of them - a version that increases effort rather than becoming one with the sandwich contents. The additions of onion, tomato and lettuce are standard, but the round lettuce (not baby gem as menu advertised) is a visual prop more than anything else. The burger sauce is a solid sloppy condiment, but ultimately forgettable. All-in-all it effort falls into the distinctly average category.

The fried chicken coating had a great crack-crunch coating, and the addition of the bourbon and marshmallow barbecue sauce (recommended by our waitress) that the pieces were tossed in lifted it markedly - a rich, smokey sauce with an identifiable mallow-y sweetness. All good... bar the chicken itself, the pieces of which were small and gaunt. For what you have to pay for half a pile, it feels like a rip. We had a 50% off voucher we got at some Carnaby event so the slap didn't sting that bad. But full price, that is going to leave a mark.

The Brit dog was most disappointing. Whilst the beef dog had a great snap on the skin, it tasted exactly like a saveloy. Now there is nothing wrong with a saveloy, our local chippy sell great ones, but no fucking way should anyone be charged over 5 notes for a dolled up one. It wasn't finished. 

No doubt, Dirty Bones will smash trade from the shopper minions and the cheeky after work dins-and-cocktail-ers. The interior merges a low-lit, plush prohibition style bar with upscale Sodikoff-style diner and a soupçon of chintz - pure food-spot catnip for those who want a fancy-style drink with their bit of comfort food. And for those guys it'll be an awesome place to go for an evening. But in terms of food, there is a place serving better chicken one floor down in the Court, and better burger places are not far away at all. So we'll free up space in the queue and head to one of those instead. 

  • Rob

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