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Foxlow, Clerkenwell

Foxlow, from the people who brought us Hawksmoor, is styled as a 'neighbourhood restaurant' with a heavy emphasis on well sourced, well cooked meat - unsuprisingly. Perhaps if you have the cold hard cash to live in Clerkenwell then it may indeed feel like a neighbourhood restaurant, but to those of us having to travel in from zone 3 it feels pretty darn fancy. In a good way.

We chose Foxlow as our location for a late Sunday lunch with friends recently, and got things off to a good start with some cocktails, which I felt was only right considering the place had been decked out in a distinctly mid-century style. I had a Foxlow Mimosa (gin, grapefruit, prosecco) and felt very pleased about it. The Bloody Marys were reported to be excellent too and about 75% of tables around the room had gone for them.

Casting aside all thoughts of being healthy (nigh on impossible here), I ordered the Smokehouse Rillettes for my starter - pausing only briefly to weigh up the Smoked Spare Ribs. Here's the rillettes (v reasonable £6). The fine shredding is testament to the fact the pork had definitely been bathed in low temperature fat for an indecent amount of time. Of course, I ate the lot.

Rich, being a smoked salmon fanatic, was instantly seduced by the house cured salmon. He's had a thing about different house cures since trying the Sanderson's (it's a thing of beauty). Foxlow's was a pretty plateful of pink peppercorns, good olive oil and microherbs for £9:

We'd come with the intention of trying the roast, as the one at Hawksmoor is unbelievably good, even if you're not mad on roasts like me. Of course, as our table was a late one they had run out. They offered to substitute the roast beef for our choice of steak with all the traditional roast trimmings but by then we thought 'in for a penny, in for a pound' and went full on with the steaks instead and were interested to compare and contrast to Hawksmoor's.

It's nice that there are different cuts from the norm, and we needed our waiter to explain the mysterious sounding D-Rump and the Deckle. Rib fillet was more common-sensicle. Turns out D-Rump is a lean, flavourful cut of two sirloiny bits and the Deckle is a particularly tasty part of the rib eye due to a big old slab of fat and some heavy marbling. Hands down, I went for the Deckle. As long as that fat gets rendered nicely its always going to be the best.

It's served with some roasted bone marrow topped with onions (nice touch, as I can't resist a bit of bone marrow with my steak, like here) and a pretty paltry smattering of watercress, which meant loads of sides were in order. The steak was a reasonably priced £21 (and from the Ginger Pig, this is really quite cheap), but the value diminished along with every £3.50ish side required. Portions weren't big either; observe...

Green Slaw - look at the size of it compared to the fork.

And Little Gem. Little indeed, although the vast amounts of parmesan may go some way to explaining the cost:

The fries with chicken salt fared better and were properly yummy.

The same goes for a £4.50 Mac'n'cheese. Well worth it.

Of course it was all heart stoppingly good, as we knew it would be from the Hawksmoor chaps. So much so, we rammed another course down our necks completely unneccessarily. Behold the Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart (£6) which was as good as it looks:

How anyone ordered the cheese (British, Neal's Yard) when there were things like the Elvis Presley Sandwich (PBJ, banana, candied bacon) and the Bourbon Sticky Toffee Pudding on offer I have no idea, but it happened:

All of this lot, plus a couple of rounds of cocktails each and a lot of house red from Borough Wines meant our bill was fairly sizeable (I think about £70 a head) but a price we were happy to pay for several hours of good food, drink and really nice chilled out staff. Lovely lazy Sunday afternoon fodder and they were completely brilliant with Leo who is a new yet ardent fan of bone marrow. Go.

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