Eat Here: Black Cod and Wagyu Pop-Up at Zelman Meats, SohoBy Jamie Blackburn
Being fans of pretty much anything the Goodman group open, Zelman Meats was no exception. We’ve spent many a lunchtime conversing over a juicy steak or their delicious (now-removed) smoked brisket sandwich. Naturally, we were very excited to hear about their new pop-up offering nestled away in the bar area, and although this was slightly going against our pilgrimage into a more meat-free life, we have to say, it was totally worth it.
Black Cod and Wagyu: The Lowdown
Black Cod and Wagyu is head chef Olly Bird giving the public an opportunity to savour the Japanese namesake dishes of premium wagyu beef and miso black cod, usually reserved for the top percentile. With both options coming in at £20, there’s few places in central London you can enjoy either for this price/without selling a kidney (which incidentally could make a great accompaniment) and is an excellent opportunity for anyone visiting for the first time (or 31st for that matter).
The restaurant itself is a blend of dark walls and ceilings, warehouse lighting, and quirky art from the likes of The Connor Brothers and Butch Anthony, so don’t be surprised at being enticed by what appears to be an ancient Chinese painting, only to then notice they’ve also added a Pikachu.
As you walk through the main restaurant – with its red leather booths and all-round classic steakhouse vibe – you notice that walking into the snug bar area, it’s a little less imposing. With a few more round tables and a lighter ambience, it still maintains the air of an establishment that knows how to cook meat (and hopefully fish too) but provides a much more informal, relaxed atmosphere. Special shout out to the staff who were noticeably attentive, personable and generally fun people to be around.
Black Cod and Wagyu: Eat and Drink
Pleasantries out the way, it was time to order. For starters, we opted for the tiger prawn tempura, lobster croquettes, and the hot and sour wagyu beef tartare. The beef literally melted in the mouth, the tempura was light and airy, but the showstopper had to be the croquettes, which were absolutely next level. Think of a rich, solid bisque with additional hunks of lobster, and finished with a fried breadcrumb jacket.
For mains, we had both headliners with sides of lobster rice, a som tam salad, and triple cooked chips. The wagyu and black cod were exceptional and the freshness of the Thai salad cut superbly through the salty richness of the black cod. Chips were benchmark ‘Zelman’ style, but unfortunately we found the lobster rice to be a little less impressive. Our server was very understanding though, and offered to replace it with something else from the menu. It should be of no surprise that we opted for yet another portion of the decadent croquettes.
We rounded everything off with an awesome old school apple pie that would go head to head with anyone’s family recipe (which we actually believe is made to chef Will Horswill’s nan’s recipe, which would explain that) and a chocolate brownie, or at least we think it was a chocolate brownie, as we did also sample the great wine list on offer.
We ended the evening suitably well oiled and satisfyingly stuffed. We’re not sure how long the pop-up will be open for, however what we will say is this: get down there ASAP, and don’t forget those lobster croquettes.
For more information on the pop-up, see the website here.
2 St Anne’s Ct, Soho, London W1F 0AZ