The Americanisation of East London’s restaurant scene continues with the opening of the Shoreditch branch of Dirty Bones.PR Supplied
Dirty Bones has a presence in both Kensington and Carnaby Street, but with the opening of the new Shoreditch location, it cements itself into a scene so hip even the beards have beards. Nestled conveniently steps away from Brick Lane right on very trendy Bethnal Green Road which includes both Dirty Burger and Cowshed restaurants, Dirty Bones corner location is in a perfect spot for passersby to get a whiff of what’s cooking and to be tempted to sample meals that are out of this world.
Billing itself as ‘New York comfort food served in an environment with the the greatest old school, hip-hop, soul and funk music’, It’s once you’re inside you get the feeling that you’ve stepped into another time and place – high ceilings with a bar that takes centre stage in a room where every table is cozy and comfy in which to settle down and have a great meal. Dirty Bone’s vibe is so mellow that it doesn’t even feel like it’s a restaurant, it feels more like your very wealthy Auntie Bessie’s large living room in a plantation Savannah, Georgia. Dirty Bones has velvet banquettes, comfortably laid back (really laid back) seats and a western-style ambience. But of course, it’s the food that really matters.
It was hard to decide whether to visit for lunch, dinner or for Sunday Roast, so to try something different I and my companion went for the Sunday Roast. But the Sunday Roast menu is not just about roasts; also on offer is a Flat Iron Steak, Spicy Chicken Burger, Baby Back Ribs, plus The Mac Daddy, and for vegetarians the Spiced Roast Veg Salad. We stuck to the roasts as this is what we fancied. I ordered the Fried Chicken Roast – two pieces (one breast and one drumstick) of spiced buttermilk fried chicken with honey spread on top. Two pieces were definiteIy not enough, but they were just perfectly cooked, brown on the outside and white on the inside, and delectable. It was accompanied, as most roasts are, by a huge smoky paprika Yorkshire pudding, truffle road potatoes, buttermilk mash, green beans, and sweet potato which had a bit of a kick to it. All this for £17. My dining companion went with the Brisket & Ox. The brisket was hidden in the Yorkshire pudding – Quelle surprise – and at £18 a good deal. The brisket and ox were, as you would expect, tender, moist and mouth-watering, and plenty of it, alongside the aforementioned accompaniments. We were suggested a side of the Taleggio (Italian cheese) & Smoked Cheddar Mac N’ Cheese, and we were so glad that we ordered it. It was one of the most authentic Mac ’n’ Cheese dishes I’ve had a long time – thick yellow cheese sauce which was consistently perfect – just yummy.PR Supplied
We knew that the roasts would’ve been plenty of food, but as a starter, we did order the Salt & Pepper Squid, and it was just sumptuous! Perfectly cooked, not too chewy or not too hard, with a delicious chipotle aioli sauce drizzled on top to make this dish the star meal. Though at £8 it’s a bit pricey but worth every penny. We wanted to order the Cheeseburger Dumplings but felt that would’ve been too much food, however, the table next to us ordered them, and yes, they are dumplings stuffed with hamburger meat and cheese. Genius! I’ll have them next time.
I’ll be remiss if I didn’t mention Dirty Bone’s drinks menu because it’s almost a book! My companion sampled quite a few, from the ‘Dirty Mary’ (bloody mary), which she proclaimed it as being very tasty. It was rimmed, surprisingly, not with salt but with crushed pringles. She also went for the Mutt’s Nuts drink which she said was very strong, of course, it would be as it contained Woodford Reserve bourbon along with cinnamon & vanilla infused maple syrup, angostura bitters and a hint of lemon and apple. I went for one of the brunch drinks – the Pine Up – which as you’d guess is pineapple (fresh and juice) with Finlandia Vodka, celery and celery syrup. It was refreshing and fancily served in a long glass. I really wanted to go for the Spiked Iced Coffee – cognac, Mozart Dry Chocolate Spirit, and cream served on ice – but the thought of having a triple espresso drink at 4pm on a Sunday put me off. But Dirty Bones drinks menu really has something for everyone; wine, beer, juices, shakes and soft drinks.
But it’s the food where Dirty Bone excels. It has such a huge menu depending on which time you go. I plan to go back and try dishes off their Dirty Breakfast menu – the Dirty Bun (sausage and bacon sandwich), Matcha Custard French Toast, short-rib crumpets, and lots more all catch my eye as dishes I really want to try. Their lunch & dinner menu is just as exhaustive where you can try the very popular chicken & waffles or classic burgers and hot dogs or alternatively the £10 lunch options which include a 30 day aged steak, the fried chicken or the spiced roast veg salad. Desserts are also a must. We had the Banana Toblerone-tella Waffles – caramelised banana, blueberry jam, peanut butter gelato and crushed nuts on a freshly baked waffle – just divine and a perfect way to finish a meal. We actually ordered two but the waiter only brought us one – oops.
Dirty Bones is the perfect restaurant for its perfect location in an environment where the staff and customers, and especially the room, and the food, are very cool. It’s a former Public House with two upper floors, and this Grade II listed building retains much of its original character, including the eye beguiling staircase which leads to the upper floors. Prior to its current use the property traded as The Knave of Clubs pub which can be traced back to 1735. And there is also a top floor where Dirty Bones hopes to make it into a private bar area just in time for holiday Christmas parties.
The menus at Dirty Bones really has something for everyone, and I plan to go back twice, once to sample their breakfast menu and then again to sample their dinner menu. I can’t wait to get my fingers dirty again!
1 Club Row, London, E1 6JX – 020 7920 6434
Mon – Wed 8am – 11pm
Thurs – Fri 8am – 12am
Sat 9am – 12am
Sun 9am – 11pm
*Please note last food orders are available 90 min prior to closing times
Star Rating: ★★★★ (explained)
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.