What is over three meters long and is fired by sickle bush hardwood imported from Namibia and South Africa? No. it’s not a terrible cracker joke, it’s London’s largest wood-fired grill of course, coming to Farrringdon as Hammer & Tongs opens today.
Bringing the experience of outdoor eating indoors (something the majority of us face when trying to BBQ and it decides to rain) the restaurant will be all about the wood fired grill or braai and flavours of Africa. Entirely cooked over wood and served in sections of skewers, steaks and cuts, potjie and sides, the menu reflects those who have moved through South Africa and the unusual spices and flavours found in Africa such as confetti bush, balderjan, garlic buchu, molho camperio salsa and blatjang. Created by Head Chef Martin St Marie (who was inspired by Anna Bonde-Mosesson whom he worked for at Upper Glass with Jamie Oliver in the late 90s) the menu will feature dishes such as blackened lamb sosaties with plum, red bell pepper, shallot, balderjan, yoghurt and sour fig skewers; lamb chop with soft polenta, hazelnut, parmesan- mascarpone, chives, sage and nutmeg grilled in banana leaf; braai-baked pot bread and malva cake.
Cocktails are left in the very capable hands of Pete Kendall, not only Hammer & Tongs General Manager but also four-time Bartender of the Year. Drinks include the Tequila Fig Cobbler made from El Jimador Reposado Tequila, lemon, orange, pineapple, fig and solerno and the Barker Treacle, a digestif made from aged rum, bitters, apple foam and cinnamon.
With a palette of orange, blue crimson, copper and leather, the interior reflects the warmth of Africa. A huge fire dominates the first-floor dining room whilst the bar downstairs will feature a huge block of ice cut during the night with a bespoke heated copper-pipe cutter.
Their philosophy is that good food and great company is something to be savoured, something we couldn’t agree more with.
Hammer & Tongs: Opens 6th December, 171 Farringdon Road Farringdon, EC1R 3AL