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|Address:||Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QL|
|Tel:||020 7837 4384|
|Price: £39.00||Wine: £17.00||Champagne: £45.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-10.30pm|
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As more and more restaurants pursue the micro-speciality (just beef, just chicken, just hummus etc), Exmouth Market gets a fine new venue to celebrate the myriad offerings from the pig. Blackfoot, which occupies the space held for years by a pie-and-mash joint is, I think, going to become yet another reason to visit this splendid gastro-quartier.
The restaurant occupies two rooms, simply decorated (slightly on the dark side for menu reading if your eye-sight is not 20:20, especially as the menus are printed on coloured paper – just fire up the torch App on your iPhone), and the staff is attentive, knowledgeable and passionate about the food and wine. The printed menu wanders through the cornucopia of porcine delights – from air-cured lomo, via pancetta, salami, jamón, lardo, to mains of belly and ribs to the seriously gastropiggy delights of Iberico Pressa (£25, and the most expensive thing on the menu). There are daily specials that are well worth considering if our debut meal was anything to go by.
We both started with a cannellini bean, chestnut and mushroom soup crowned with crisp cabbage piled on top (think Chinese restaurant) – it was absolutely heavenly and perfect for a cold January night. It was thick and savoury, warming and multi-layered in flavour with the cabbage adding something really inspired, and seasonal, to the mix (£3.50). We were advised to supplement it with Whipped Lardo on Sourdough Toast (£4) – a fantastically flavoursome combo that would have your GP foaming at the mouth in horror. Bring on the Statins I say!
We diverged with the mains: I opted for the Vietnamese Belly Salad (£11.50) which, while delicious, was a tad strange – a hot affair (can salads really be hot? Cold obviously; warm occasionally…) which mixed rice, noodles, shredded pork belly, lots of herbs (mint predominantly), crackling and chillies. It was good, and very filling. My partner had a char-grilled fillet with a gorgeously flavoured chunk of cabbage (braised) and more cannellini beans (£16). Another winner for a cold night.
A really splendid bottle of Carmenère (Maquis from Chile’s Colchagua Valley – £30) helped all the porkiness on its way. The bill came to £75 – we’ll be back!