London Food Review : The Coal Shed

Do yourself a favour, don’t read this post. Just go and book a table, as at the end of the three minutes (or however long a time it takes to get to the bottom of this one), I will be saying precisely that.

TCS specialises in fire-roasted meats and seafood. The seafood connection is obvious, given the original is based in Brighton. However, their meats are absolutely killer and will give the more established steak places in London a run for their money.

Located near the illustrious Tower Bridge, the spacious, all-glass fronted restaurant is split into two levels. Inside, it is moody with subdued lighting, perfect for a night of cosy, carnivorous pleasures. We were pleasantly surprised by the stylish, grown-up interiors, as given the name, we were expecting a more hipster joint.

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We dived straight into the Ox Cheek Fritters, Black Garlic, Sesame (£4) – tiny little cylinders of gamey, stringy meat that swirled around your tongue just long enough before they disappeared, warming you up for the courses that were about to follow.

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The BBQ Octopus, Aubergine, Kombu, XO (£11) was beautifully complex. Each element added a bit of everything, like an Asian flavour bomb exploding in your gob. There was texture, tang, heat and salty flavours.

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Slightly more composed was the Smoked Short Rib, Green Chilly, Gochujang (£8). The sumptuous slab of sticky, braised meat was slathered in an intense spicy sauce. The oil added a touch of smokiness to the whole dish.

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On the other side of the spectrum was the Veal Tartare (£9): colourful, raw and unrefined with lots of fresh herbs, nutty textures and condiments, topped with a perfectly spherical orange yolk.

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For our mains, we shared a Sirloin for two, alongside some Creamed Spinach and Chips. The steak was a robust 600g beauty, flavoursome and pre-slivered for ease. Kris, who is a self-confessed chips expert, gave them a big thumbs up. I also ordered the Mash, Burnt Ends, Marrow (£5), which delivered on its promise of buttery rich perfection, specked with gooey bone marrow and crunchy burnt bits. Heaven!

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There was no room left for dessert, but TCS offer in-house sweets which are like petits-fours, only more interesting. We had a selection of those which included Chocolate Coal, Macaron, Fudge and Doughnut (£2-£3 each) to share. They were small enough so we didn’t explode but sweet enough to end the meal on a happy and satisfying note.

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Service was friendly and courteous without leaning too much into your personal space. Our waitress was particularly helpful, patiently walking us through the menu and giving all the right recommendations.

So if you are looking for a restaurant which serves a mean selection of surf-n-turf minus the silly macho-ness, you have arrived at your destination.

Location: One Tower Bridge, 4 Crown Square, SE1 2SE

More information can be found here.

N.B. The total cost of our meal was discounted as it was part of a restaurant offer.

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