★★★★ | Dirty Bones, London
Dirty Bones the restaurant categorises itself as New York comfort food and cocktails, well it’s that and more.
With four locations in London, including Kensington, Carnaby Street, Shoreditch, we popped into the new West End location (on Denman Street right next to the Piccadilly Theatre – home of ‘Annie’) to find comfort, and we did find it, in the food, drinks, service, and the atmosphere.
Looking a bit like a 1960’s den with old world chic decor, the restaurant is one big room with a beautifully designed industrial bar in a space that used to be Clockjack Chicken.
Well, the smell of chicken is gone, so what you will find now is a menu with a great selection of food choices (including, yes, chicken) and strong drinks that will make you forget your troubles.
As a starter, we went for the Cheeseburger Dumplings. Hamburgers and cheese in a dumpling (and not bun) with spring onions, sesame seeds, and pepper, with a clever mustard/ketchup combination sauce – and at £8.50 for a handful, not a bad value.
We really didn’t know what to expect our main meals would look like. I went for the Short Ribs on the Taco menu. It was one very large slab of beef short rib with excellent BBQ sauce that comes with gluten-free corn tortillas to build your own taco. You can also stuff the taco with the salad that’s served with it – it’s white cabbage slaw, tomato, coriander, chilli and jalapeños – very delicious and unique, and a great deal at £16 considering how much beef is served. We also shared 200 grams (£8 per 100g) of the Rib-Eye Steak, and the meat was perfectly cooked medium well, and served with a delicious butter and mint sauce. As sides, we could not resist the Grilled Hispi Cabbage dish – it was superb! Two large portions of Charcoaled cabbage with herb and garlic butter with crispy shallots made for an unusual yet awesome dish. I’ve never eaten cabbage this way and it was superb (only £5). We also ordered the Crispy Lamb Fries (only £6.50). It was a huge dish of fries (chips) smothered in red chilli sauce and jalapeños – it was an extremely spicy dish but what made it amazing was the well-cooked, crunchy and plentiful lamb – I could almost taste it again in my mouth – and is one of the best deals on the menu (it could be considered as a main course perhaps).
By this time we had eaten so much food but our lovely waitress Andrea twisted our arm to order dessert, so we shared the Caramelised Banana Waffles, and we were glad we did. A freshly backed waffled topped with chocolate sauce, blueberry jam, salted peanut butter gelato and crushed nuts – it was out of this world, and a very nice ending to an excellent meal (£7).
Comforting as well are the drinks. If you’re in the mood for strong cocktails, Dirty Bones is the place for you. Their six-page drinks menu won’t leave you feeling thirsty at all. I had the Dirty Bones Negroni – it came with a twisted orange slice, was rainbow colour, with a hint of rum and was nice and flavorful (£9);. I also had a taste of my dining companions’ Littlest Hobo drink – Tanqueray gin, lemon, passionfruit and vintage cider made for a refreshing drink (£9). And to finish off the evening we tried the Mutt’s Nuts drink – a very strong Woodford Reserve bourbon, with cinnamon and vanilla-infused maple syrup, it may knock your socks off. Good to drink on a full stomach.
A visit to Dirty Bones will leave your tummy feeling happy but it may also leave you feeling a bit light headed and dizzy after choosing one of their lethal drinks. But as it says on the tin, the food is indeed comforting, the prices are comforting, and do not hold back on what your stomach and mouth want – it’s all good!
To book a table, please go to their website:
Automatic online booking below for 1-6 guests. Space always kept for walk-ins
14 Denman Street, London, W1D 7HJ
Tube: Piccadilly Theatre
Other branches in Carnaby Street, Shoreditch and Kensington
Phone: 020 7920 6434
Price Rating: £££ (explained)
Star Rating: ★★★★
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.