As much as we love the foodie scene in our home town, when we were given the chance to see how it compares to that of the big smoke, we didn’t hesitate. Intrigued and hungry, we headed down to the super cool, quirky, yet slightly upmarket Shoreditch area of London to see what Iron Bloom – a quirky hang out just off Shoreditch High Street, was all about. For those that aren’t aware, Shoreditch is a popular area of London packed to the brim of interesting eateries, with Iron Bloom being no exception.
Adhering to the popular small plates and cocktails vibe that has taken the restaurant scene by storm in recent years, Iron Bloom is a stripped back, bare-bricked, dimly lit venue with unpolished wooden floor, wooden chairs and booths and a small bar area. Despite the minimalist vibes, Iron Bloom does have a few unique elements of decor such as the spiked chandelier that hangs boldly in the front window. Overall, the decor is done brilliantly and really reflects the small but carefully put together list of plates available to the diner, which i’ll get onto next.
We were shown to our table and handed the cocktail list. The list featured classics such as Aperol Spritz and tangy Margaritas but also some of Iron Bloom’s own inventions, no doubt inspired by their brother cocktail bar, Looking Glass Cocktail Club, another trendy London hangout. We decided on the Bloom Sour, the restaurant’s twist on a Pisco sour which included egg white, pineapple and chilli bitters topped with a tart homemade raspberry powder and the Berrigroni, a classic Negroni twisted with Pomegranate and Punt a Mes – super light and fruity, this was the perfect aperitif.
The Iron Bloom menu consists of a small list of nibbles and a slightly larger main course section, with the menu recommending two dishes from each for one person. There is also a great variation of side dishes. Despite not being everyone’s cup of tea, the concept of small plates is one i’ll never get bored of, being able to piece together a meal with your preferences of the menu is a truly enjoyable experience, in my opinion, even better if you’re comfortable enough with your dining partner to share theirs too!
To graze before the main event, we opted for crispy fried pickles which were dipped in Sriracha mayo for a kick, as well as super thin truffle fries covered in a large sprinkling of parmesan and a light, peppery rocket and parmesan salad – NB. A cheese theme runs through the evening.
There’s no denying that everything listed on the menu had been meticulously created in the kitchen, with the list offering a wide variety of dishes whose mere descriptions were enough to make the mouth water. From cuts of lamb with plum jam to mac and cheese and Wagyu beef, it was clear we were in for a delightful foodie journey. However, it is worth pointing out that the menu wasn’t particularly vegetarian friendly, with slightly limited options available for non meat or fish eaters. Despite this, we were offered a tomato and olive veggie burger that wasn’t on the menu, which, surprisingly turned out to be one of our favourite dishes. Shying away from the traditional bean patty, this burger was made from pasta, blended together with tomato and olives into a disc shape, placed in a bun with cheese – in my opinion, the combination paid homage to the overall vibe of Iron Bloom – unusual but genius.
As well as the vegetarian burger, we opted for the Wagyu beef bun with bacon, cheese and crispy onions (NB- not vegetarian) which was a true delight. The beef was cooked rare, the cheese was generous, the bacon and the onions crispy and the black bun soft and fresh. Alongside this we were served the Crack and Cheese (three cheese mac) which was rich and creamy with a crackable parmesan crust and the smoked cod roe. Described on the menu as ‘Smoked cod roe with crab butter served on a crumpet’ there was no question this dish was getting selected. The plate was everything we expected and more – the flavour of smokey cod accompanied with the light, fishy taste of creamy crab butter all piled high on a lightly toasted crumpet. Although served on a small plate, the richness of the dish meant a few delightful mouthfuls were enough – my favourite choice of the evening.
According to owner William, Iron Bloom was created out of the slow death of the London nightclub scene in favour of cocktails and plates of food. With a dimly lit interior and occasional DJ, iron bloom still has the unmistakeable gritty vibes of a Shoreditch hangout, yet throws creative and well-cooked British food into the mix, for a truly special experience. Iron Bloom have also jumped onto the Bottomless Brunch Bandwagon and, judging by their evening offerings, this is a bit more than your average avocado smeared sourdough. You can find out more about Iron Bloom by visiting www.ironbloomshoreditch.co.uk