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When I informed friends I would be dining at Beard to Tail, I had to repeat myself a number of times before a puzzled look appeared on their faces.  A slightly odd name for a Meat restaurant in Shoreditch, and to be honest, even after eating there I am still none the wiser.  One thing I am sure of is good food, and Beard to Tail certainly delivers.

When I arrive at the restaurant, from the outside you would think it’s a modern wine bar, but once inside, you are transported to industrial age America complete with chalk boards, sewing tables, and copper still (made out of 2 pence pieces).  Everything seems very casual with closely spaced tables, paper menu and relaxed dress for staff.  The decor is great; however there is a point where you can go a bit far with the theme and did find the tables a little too close and the chairs slightly uncomfortable.  That aside, my attention turns to trying one of the many types of bourbon on offer, deliberating nearly as long as choosing what to order from the interesting dishes available.

I settled for a good old fashioned half rack of ribs for starters which arrived on a chopping board, suggesting I would be doing plenty of cutting.  I have become so accustomed to bad ribs that I almost forgot how ribs are meant to be, but I was given a pleasant reminder with meat falling off the bone, coming off in strips in my hands- what a waste of a chopping board!  My dining partner went for the black pudding with fried, battered egg, which was the chef’s speciality dish and was a great take on the cafe classic.

Black Pudding and Battered Egg

Half Rack of Ribs

For mains, we went for more of the same with a traditional dish in the form of a longhorn rib eye steak, and one unconventional with saddleback pork chops, cockles and apple slices.  The pork was by far the standout dish and would never have thought cockles and pork would complement each other so well.    The steak was well cooked, but could not compare to the chop and judging from all the dishes on the menu, pork is where Beard to Tail excel.  We also had a side of Bubble & Squeak, another nod to the east end cafe, giving the dish a nostalgic feel- but at £4, the price was a little less memorable.

Saddleback Pork Chops & Cockles

To round off the meal, we continued the running theme by ordering the East End cheesecake and a toasted banana sandwich topped with vanilla ice cream (yes you read correctly!).  The cheesecake was a nice end however East End tasted rather like New York, but the sandwich was the real star and my dining partner suggested that it reminded her of a midnight snack you’d have at a slumber party.

Vanilla Ice Cream Banana Sandwich

A few years ago, an establishment that specialises in pork and beef would be purely for the lads, but going by the growing popularity of steak houses amongst women, I don’t think that would be an issue here- however, be warned that if red meat is not your thing, you will find your very options limited.  If you are looking to go out with friends to indulge in pork as it should be, then Beard to Tail gets the BSF seal of approval- and the whisky selection isn’t too shoddy either.

Beard to Tail, 77 Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, EC2A. Open 7 days a week.  To reserve, email hello@beardtotail.co.uk or phone 0207 729 2966.

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